Friday, 27 April 2007

Only if it could silence the guns…

(Can they apply balm to the war wounds with a win tomorrow?)

Hours before the final showdown, Ricky Ponting has expectedly initiated the psychological warfare.

“If Barbados has the pace and bounce it had for the last couple of games, it should play into our hands beautifully,” Punter thundered, hinting he would unleash his pace battery on a lively Barbados track to bounce out the Lankans.

Glenn McGrath too joined the skirmish before the war. The Pigeon has scalped Sanath Jayasuriya seven times in his career and he wants him one last time tomorrow.

"In Australia I have always been reasonably successful against him, and I think the bounce has nicked him out quite a few times," Pigeon squeaked. Again, this was expected. McGrath has always been fond of such pre-match banter.

What was not really expected was Sanath Jayasuriya, that Matara Marauder, matching Punter and Pigeon decibel for decibel.

“'It doesn't matter what they bowl to me. I have been around long enough in international cricket to face any sort of bowling-if they bounce me, I can pull and hook as well… It's not as if we haven't played on bouncier pitches," Jayasuriya replied.

But all these rhetoric and saber-rattling seem irrelevant, even vulgar, when Muttiah Muralitharan takes a broad view and says he wants to win the cup to help his strife-torn countrymen forget, even if for a few hours, their troubled times.

"It would be a bigger achievement than all my personal records…It will act as an inspiration for youngsters and we being a team of different nationalities, it could also help tide over the problems our nation faces.

"We are going through a bad situation in our country but this could achieve something different," said Murali, a minority Tamil player. In fact the current squad has a Sinhala Buddhist in Jayasuriya, a Sinhala catholic in Chaminda Vaas, a Muslim in Farveez Maharoof and also a Tamil Catholic in Russel Arnold. Cricket has shown in Sri Lanka what it is capable of and that’s the best part of the game.

For a change, the LTTE Tigers have remote control in their hands not to explode a mine, but just to switch on innocuous TV sets in their hideouts; for once, they would acknowledge Jayasuriya, and not a certain Velupillai Prabhakaran, is the real Master Blaster.

Now if one more World Cup triumph could have silenced all the guns in this teardrop island in the Indian Ocean, I guess even a title-hungry Ponting would not mind losing for once. May the deserving team win tomorrow’s World Cup final.

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