WINDS BEHIND THE WILLOWS - THE JOURNEY SO FAR

02 December 2018

Why Winds Behinds The Willows is a must read for all Cricket Fans

Like in any other sport, the worldwide fan following is the life-blood that passionately nourishes and sustains cricket. Though they happen to be the most important stakeholders of the game, by and large, cricket fans are a neglected lot, as well.

Don’t they deserve to be treated with greater respect and dignity?

About Me

Wannabe IPL/BBL/PSL/CPL player, couldn’t even reach SLPL standards. Ended up as a village cricketer and wrote Winds Behind The Willows.

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“We are the Champions” … pause …, “Again!”

Sri Lanka players celebrate as they pose with the ICC World Twenty20 trophy after winning the final match against India at The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 6 April 6, 2014.

Nine o’clock, the morning of 6 April 2014, still in bed and staring at the ceiling. Emotions ran high.

“A penny for your thoughts,” said Jagath.

“After four ‘finals’ losses in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012, the benefit of the law of averages is long overdue,” I replied.

“They should give a fitting farewell to the twin towers, Mahela and Sanga.” This from Jagath.

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The Player of 1996 Cricket World Cup: Who Deserved It Most – Sanath or Aravinda?

Sanath Jayasuriya and Aravinda de Silva in full cry at the 1996 Wills World Cup.

Sanath Jayasuriya and Aravinda de Silva in full cry at the 1996 Wills World Cup.

Eighteenth March 1996.

The return flight finally took off from Lahore at around 6.00 am. An event that had to wait for twenty-one years happened 35,000 feet in the air. Two ‘wounded soldiers’ on adjoining beds at St Thomas’ Hospital, laid low by an excessively aggressive ‘Mr Thomson’ in the first World Cup in 1975 met in celebration: Duleep Mendis, having presided over the vanquishing of the Australian side as the manager of the Sri Lankan team; Capt. Sunil Wettimuny now flying that victorious team home. Not to be outdone, the same fate decreed that the master-of-ceremonies at the awards ceremony that followed the final, was none other than Ian Chappell. Destiny really did have some tricks up her sleeve!

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Cricket World Cup 2019: The Front-runners

Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga proudly holds aloft the 1996 Wills World Cup

Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga proudly holds aloft the 1996 Wills World Cup, which he received from the then Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, having beaten Australia in the final on 17 March 1996 at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, Pakistan. Master of Ceremonies Ian Chappell is at the extreme left. (Photo by Prasanna Hennayake).

England will host the 12th edition of the Cricket World Cup from 30 May to 14 July, this year. Ten nations would compete in the round-robin format, with the top four teams advancing to knock out stage, semi-finals and final.

At the time of writing, nearly all teams seem to have issues to contend with; that may or may not be overcome prior to the tournament. Hence, prediction of outcomes seven weeks before a high-pressure tournament is a challenge in itself.

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Records by Sri Lankans at Cricket World Cups

Kumar Sangakkara batting against Chris Woakes (England) in Wellington, New Zealand, during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup (© Ranjan Mellawa)

Kumar Sangakkara batting against Chris Woakes (England) in Wellington, New Zealand, during the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup (© Ranjan Mellawa).


Ranjan Mellawa hopes Sri Lanka will be inspired by their past performances in world tournaments and achieve something special at the next World Cup.

 

 

As the Cricket World Cup draws nearer, let’s revisit some record-breaking Sri Lankan individual and team performances in previous tournaments.

Sri Lanka was the first Associate team to defeat a Full Member at the World Cup when they beat India by 47 runs in 1979.

When Sri Lanka confronted New Zealand in 1983, an aggregate 29 maiden overs were bowled by both sides, the most in a single World Cup match. In the quiet that ensued, Sri Lanka bowlers delivered 17 of those and helped their team win the 60-over match by 3 wickets, with 43 balls to spare, in a ‘battle of the maidens’ as it were!

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Save the Blushes, Please

Sri Lanka and Afghanistan teams walking into the ground for the national anthems prior to their match in the 2015 Cricket World Cup on 22 February 2015 at the picturesque University Oval, Dunedin, New Zealand. (© Ranjan Mellawa)


Ranjan Mellawa thinks it’s not all doom and gloom for Sri Lanka, and they can still make a good fist of the next World Cup.

 

 

In an all-time low, Sri Lanka capitulated to Afghanistan by 91 runs in the Asia Cup 2018. Angelo Mathews, already tipped to lead in the forthcoming World Cup, was axed from both captaincy and the one-day squad.

Previously, Sri Lanka had played Afghanistan in the 2015 World Cup. Lethargic fielding by the Sri Lankans helped Afghanistan post 232 runs.

The first ball of the Sri Lanka innings, trapped Thirimanna lbw. Next over, Dilshan edged a back-of-a-length delivery and was caught behind for no score. Sri Lanka were tottering at 2 for 2 after 1.2 overs. It was only the second time in ODIs that both openers were dismissed for first-ball ducks.

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Written in simple and concise language

Winds Behind The Willows: A Sri Lankan's life in love with cricket, by Ranjan Mellawa

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