By Nishthar Idroos –
In cricketing parlance the concept of a textbook shot by a batsman is attributed inter-alia to class, perfection, command etc. It’s usually executed with authority, accuracy and authenticity. Not everyone can do it. There are some essential pre-requisites, namely; experience, a good eye among other things. The ball is usually hit with such power and precision that it races to the ropes at lightning speed with the cordon of fieldsman left absolutely dumbstruck. The only gesture they could ever extend would be a look of utter anguish and despair.
Cricketers of the caliber of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena have not only demonstrated such exquisite stroke play but have immortalized them. They will remain in the Sri Lankan cricket loving psyche for years to come. No wonder why Sri Lankans take refuge in following and enjoying their game of cricket. One plausible reason maybe to give vent and release the ever building stress against the unbaiting and disgusting corruption and more recently the absolute mockery of a constitutional crisis.
The opposite of a perfectly timed stroke is the infamous agricultural stroke. A genre not usually advocated by the fluent and proficient except maybe the recklessly ambitious, someone with an abnormal, unfulfilling childhood with fixations and worries of not being able to hold a straight bat. Such individuals may be very tentative in brandishing the willow in conformity with the correct scientific process, as such could potentiality imperil others both physically and visually. In all honesty they should have never entered the game of cricket in the first place.
The agricultural stroke is usually categorized as a kind of an injudicious cricketing stroke not found in coaching manuals. No technique is required whatsoever to play these kinds of shots. It’s usually played with the swing of the bat across the line of the ball. In most cases you either miscue or miss it completely and get adjudged leg before wicket. The stroke per se often causes a chunk of the pitch to be dug up by the bat due to which is called an agricultural shot. The fundamental danger of this kind of stroke is the apparent audacity of the batsman to swing the bat wide across the line of the ball. It’s carefree, immature and totally irresponsible. Such bizarre cricket confounds the keen spectator. Such cricketers have no moral authority to be in any decent team.
Former farmer turned politician and current Executive President of The Republic, Socialist and Democratic of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena is currently in the lime light having swung the willow in typical cavalier fashion. Launched himself, attempting a swashbuckling agricultural swing, ballooned the red cherry up in the air. A reasonably good delivery to which he should have played with respect, instead came charging down so irresponsibly and miscued it. A leading edge took the ball up in the air and to the deep where he was caught quite comfortably.
And that’s wasn’t the end of the story. Blamed his deputy for all his indiscretions who incidentally was batting at the non-strikers end. No mention of his rash, incautious approach, it was all about the deputy and his myriad of faults. What followed was most daring. He took the liberty to appoint his own deputy in gross disregard to all the rules of the game. When spectators took the street and lodged a formal complaint to the selectors up went the finger again to a roaring and tumultuous ovation. The red light on the mega screen was endlessly flickering. The former deputy was re-installed. He unfortunately still has the job and as expected unable to curb or eschew his characteristic penchant to complain, grumble and spew venom. A little bird whispers that he is eagerly waiting for the speediest opportunity to run him out.
If only he had worked hard on his technique quite early on in his career and worked on his demeanor things could have been much different. And now go goes down in history as one of cricket’s ugliest batsman. A cricketer who doesn’t know how to play according the merit of each delivery and importantly projecting himself as unreliable and untrustworthy.
Cricket is a gentleman’s game, it first appeared in the 13th century and the game only gained popularity in the 17th century. The only worthy and redeeming bequeathal of colonialism. It was first played by English aristocrats. They decreed the game would be played in a gentlemanly manner, no sledging, cheating, bodyline bowling, temper tantrums or excessive appealing. If the batsman knew he was out he should “walk” even if the umpire decided otherwise.
Sri Lanka has a long way to go before they learn to play the sport befitting true gentleman. All of the ungentlemanly traits listed above are sufficiently present in most of our 225 legislators. As a matter of urgent priority they must be taken to the Lord’s Cricket Ground not to play the game but run 25 rounds and enjoy its fresh air.