Sri Lanka draws on Christians for cricket
It's a game that 'makes us pause and think about hard work'
The Sri Lankan cricket team after taking a wicket during an international match last year
Students in Sri Lanka are of course cheering for the home team that has entered a strong batting lineup for the cricket World Cup, now taking place. But for some students from Church-run schools, there is more than just pride in the national team. About half of the team are “old boys” from their schools. Kumar Sangakkara, the captain studied at Trinity College while Muttiah Muralidaran, an artist at bowling fast, is an old boy of St. Anthony’s College. There is also Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera from St. Joseph College and Dilhara Fernando who has De Mazenod College as his alma mater. According to the students many players on the Sri Lankan national team also represent their schools, each of which has a pedigree for breeding future international cricketers. These players have become for present students an icon, a role model, they said. “Cricket is a game that makes us pause and think about hard work. Actually, the national team players are our role models by their commitment, discipline and high moral standards,” said Nadarajah Kesavan, a student from St. Anthony’s College in Kandy. “Our players give off a good aura for kids," said Denam Perera from Colombo’s St Peter’s College. “To win a cricket match, players should observe discipline, punctuality, dedication, faith, brotherhood, morality, flexibility and compatriotism,” said Perera. This is what our former students show us, he said. The Cricket’s World Cup finishes on April 2 after a 49-match spectacle over seven weeks. The tournament is being played in three countries, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. So far Sri Lanka have seven points from five games and a 139-run thumping of Zimbabwe on March 10 ensured they reached the quarter-finals. Sri Lanka piled up 332 runs in a big win over Canada but were unable to chase down Pakistan’s 277, before knocking Kenya over for a measly 142 runs. People from the subcontinent are crazy about cricket and Sri Lanka, the 1996 winners and 2007 runners-up, is no exception. Cricket has given Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India the chance to call themselves world champions as they are consistently among the top five or six countries that play the game. No other sport offers people from those countries that amount of national self-esteem. "I believe winning the World Cup was the best thing that had happened to our country since its birth," media reported Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup-winning captain, as saying. SR13576.1644