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Enter Field Marshals Sanath and Murali


"Ajantha Mendis, we say without reservation deserves all the credit and the elevation in rank. But what of two other greats who had won honours repeatedly in cricketing arenas around the world: Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralitheran? Sanath has bashed the best and Murali made asses of batting greats around the world from Lords, Leeds, Headingly, Oval, Melbourne, Sydney, Pretoria, Harare, Trinidad, Bombay to Calcutta etc., etc., etc., not once, but repeatedly, year in, year out."
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by Gamini Weerakoon

(July 13, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardain) That tall, dark and handsome guy from Moratuwa, 23-year-old Ajantha Mendis deserves all the encomiums showered on him by the cricketing public as well as the instant promotion to Second Lieutenant by our Commander-in-Chief, President Mahinda Rajapakse.

Cynics may say army promotions are for performances in the battlefield and not the cricketing field. Political cynics may see Mahinda Percy Rajapakse basking in the glory of the victory in Karachi by this army man as he has been enjoying the glory of the victory in the east achieved by the army.


That is pardonable. In whose glory are politicians to bask in other than those of the army and the people? Besides even in the so called good old days the armed services went on the Greek ideal: Mens sana incorpore sano (Sound in body, sound in mind) and gave preference to 'sportsmen' in recruitment and promotions.


State drives only for Ranil

Some say there was preference given to the body than the mind. Never mind, as a philosopher said: No matter, never mind. Mind was not and is not the strong point of the armed services or politicians.

We may be seen as committing treason in the eyes of many for this cricketing sacrilege but we assure you we are not. This guy who made the spirits of millions of Sri Lankans watching TV last Sunday soar with a flick of his middle finger and sent the hopes of nearly a billion Indians cart-wheeling, deserves all the credit. He and his colleagues deserved VIP treatment - a state drive from the airport straight to Temple Trees to be congratulated by the Commander-in-Chief.

The government, we thought should have called in the crowds to line the airport road for a rousing reception to Mendis and his colleagues. But that was not to be. Such receptions by milling crowds are organised by the governing Rajapakse elite only for Ranil Wickremesinghe on his return journeys from foreign sojourns. The poor fellow has to seek alternate routes to reach his home at Fifth Lane.

Honour where honour is due is the belief among Sri Lankans as well as the former colonial masters. You would have read about 'cash for honours' where the former Premier Tony Blair was involved. We don't see any reason why knighthoods or even CBEs or MBEs should not be granted to generous contributors to party funds. In Mother Lanka study the list of Deshabandus and Desha Bandits and the like. By strange coincidence there are so many money bags among the recipients.

Sanath and Murali?

Ajantha Mendis, we say without reservation deserves all the credit and the elevation in rank. But what of two other greats who had won honours repeatedly in cricketing arenas around the world: Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralitheran? Sanath has bashed the best and Murali made asses of batting greats around the world from Lords, Leeds, Headingly, Oval, Melbourne, Sydney, Pretoria, Harare, Trinidad, Bombay to Calcutta etc., etc., etc., not once, but repeatedly, year in, year out.

If Mendis deserves elevation to the rank of Second Lieutenant, these two veterans deserve to be elevated to the rank of Field Marshal.

But how? They are not in the army it will be pointed out.

Bamboo laws

To this objection, we say: Is there any thing, any law, convention or tradition that prevents His Excellency from doing anything he wants? No sir. Not constitutional provisions such as the 13th Amendment, Army Act or any 'Bamboo Law.'

President Rajapakse can create a new brigade, the Desha Pandu Brigade - pandu (cricket) players and appoint Field Marshals Jayasuriya and Muralitheran to command it. Other retired cricketing greats such as Aravinda, Mahanama and the like could also be elevated to the ranks they deserve and be included in the Desha Pandu Brigade while Mahela and Sanga can be included on retirement.

Arjuna to UN

What of Arjuna, Captain Cool, who led them all to the ultimate victory? Arjuna, we fear will not fit into this proposed brigade. He has now gone international and is specialising in disputes. Remember he achieved world fame on Boxing Day when he took on that umpire Darrel Hair? Now we hear that he is taking on Mahinda Percy and according to some reports did not turn up at Temple Trees to the cricketers' reception to munch the four A's - asmi, aluwa, aggala and aanamalu - the four K's - kavun, kokis, kiribath and kolikuttu being out of season.

The fifth A - Arrack would have added jollity to the occasion we are told by insiders but that could not have been because this goes against a basic principle of Mahinda Chinthana - Mathata Thitha (fullstop to drinking). Reports say that some of the notable and quotable have adopted the policy of Thithata Matha (getting the fullstop drunk) but that is by the way and will be subject to our later commentaries.

Captain Cool, we think, should be appointed as a UN Special Rapporteur on international cricketing disputes, there being so many of them. Besides if Radhika can be a UN special rapporteur why not Arjuna? It will bring about some gender balance in Sri Lankan UN representation.

Cricket and peasants

Stars are certainly shinning on Mahinda Rajapakse. Now he has the Asia Cup in the bag and soon the SAARC chairmanship pinned on his chest. But will winning the Asia Cup and being appointed SAARC chairman make the peasants of the North Central Province and workers in the deep gem pits of Sabaragamuwa vote for his party?
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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