Colombo Telegraph

WikiLeaks: Cricket Is Like A Religion In Sri Lanka

Child Buddhist Monks Play Cricket

By Colombo Telegraph

“We are not sure exactly why, but cricket is like a religion here.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

The Colombo Telegraph found the leaked cable from the WikiLeak database. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and written on September 13, 2002 by the Charge D’Affaires  W. Lewis Amselem.

Under the subheading “BIG CRICKET TOURNAMENT” Amselem wrote  “Just want to flag that there is a huge cricket tournament taking place in Colombo that began yesterday and will go on for the next ten days. (Note: We are not sure exactly why, but cricket is like a religion here.) All the world’s best teams are in town (Australia, India, South Africa, etc.). Sri Lanka clobbered Pakistan last night. The fact that such a big tourney is taking place in SL is being taken by many Sri Lankans as another sign that their isolation and self-marginalization because of the war is gradually abating.”

In another cable he wrote; “The fact that a major cricket tournament is taking place in Sri Lanka at all is a pleasant surprise to many here. Sri Lankans had grown used to their cricket-mad country being overlooked as a host for major events because of the conflict and the danger of terrorism.”

See;WikiLeaks: Sri Lanka is a cricket-mad country

Below we give the relevant part of the confidential cable;

C O N F I D E N T I A L COLOMBO 001699

SIPDIS

OFFICIAL INFORMAL

DEPT FOR SA/INS FROM THE CHARGE

E.O. 12958:   DECL:  09/13/12
TAGS: AMGT CE
SUBJECT:  OFFICIAL INFORMAL NUMBER 129 (09-13-02)

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE LEWIS AMSELEM.  REASONS 1.5 B, D.

CONTENTS:  REACTION TO THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH
           TAYLOR/GOOD VISIT
           ATTEMPTED HIJACKING INVESTIGATION
           CBK'S HARSH LETTER
           ICC ARTICLE 98
           BIG CRICKET TOURNAMENT
BIG CRICKET TOURNAMENT
----------------------
6.  (U) Just want to flag that there is a huge cricket
tournament taking place in Colombo that began yesterday
and will go on for the next ten days.  (Note:  We are not
sure exactly why, but cricket is like a religion here.)
All the world's best teams are in town (Australia, India,
South Africa, etc.).  Sri Lanka clobbered Pakistan last
night.  The fact that such a big tourney is taking place
in SL is being taken by many Sri Lankans as another sign
that their isolation and self-marginalization because of
the war is gradually abating.  (POL)

AMSELEM
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