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Cricket is Still Relevant, Even Amongst Sri Lanka’s Crisis
By: Jacob Yang
Sri Lanka’s Men’s national team for cricket has led many of the country’s citizens to watch the sport for relief from the crisis.
The economic and political situation in the country has never been worse. Gasoline and power shortages have led to widespread poverty and hunger, and many people wait days just to collect fuel for their cars. However, for cricket fans like Aadhil Siddhique, a computer science student from the University of Ruhana, the sport is a way of comfort.
Mr. Siddhique, 24, has made cricket his hobby. When the electricity is still running, he follows his favorite sport on television, and posts updates on the game on his Twitter, @AadhilSiddhique. He also said he went to the men’s national team’s games in Colombo, the capital of the country, and Galle, a coastal city off the southern tip of Sri Lanka.
The team was “brand ambassadors during a time of hardship,” Mr. Siddhique said. “Whenever Sri Lanka wins, we feel motivated that this struggle against corrupt
politicians could also be won.” The country forced its president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to resign 16 days ago.
“Even when something goes really wrong, they will always try to find joy and happiness in sport,” a journalist in India said about the people of Sri Lanka . “And when I say sport, it’s almost always cricket.”
During Sri Lanka’s civil war and the coronavirus pandemic, professional matches have almost always been ongoing. In 2009, when the men’s team was ambushed by a group of gunmen in Pakistan, the games did not delay. Instead, 8 months later, the Sri Lanka hosted the country in cricket.
The Hall-of-Famer Kumar Sangakkara, a high-profile player from Sri Lanka, as well as both Mens’ team captains, have raised awareness for the country on social media. One captain, Dimuth Karunarathna, wrote on Twitter that “We are having a tough time there, this win brings some joy to their [Sri Lanka’s citizens] faces.”
However, even so, the crisis is still affecting the sport. Curfews have restricted team’s travel to play against one another, and Chamika Karunaratne, a member of the men’s national team stated that he had to miss practice because his car did not have enough fuel to run on. Many critics say that cricket matches should be canceled because the stadiums waste too much electricity. However, many fans feel differently. “The enthusiasm to watch and enjoy cricket has never faded away from Sri Lankan cricket fans, even during such a stressful, chaotic situation in the country,” said Sanjeewa Kumara, who lives in Saudi Arabia and runs a club for Sri Lankan Cricket enthusiasts. He added that the people in Sri Lanka who runs the professional Cricket program should “work a bit harder” to make Cricket easier to play and watch because it boosts the people’s morale and helps the economy recover.