Cricket is probably the hottest topic these days in Sri Lanka but for the wrong reasons. The team has been continuously facing defeats and has now lost on directly qualifying to the World Cup tournament in 2019.
It is true that Sri Lanka’s performances have been dismal in the recent past. Many aspects ranging from administrative issues to player fitness have been cited as reasons for the downfall of the country’s much loved game.
But, one should understand that it is a very young team which has seen many players come in and go during the past few months alone.
What was more appalling last week was the behaviour of the fans who threw bottles into the grounds and towards the players.
We saw a similar situation when both these teams played way back in 1996 in India. The match was the semi-finals of the 1996 World Cup and India was losing quick wickets leaving Vinod Kambli stranded in the pitch with the tail enders.
The frustrated spectators started throwing many things including bottles in the field after which the match was called off and Sri Lanka was announced winners.
Sri Lanka went on to make history by beating Australia in the finals and becoming World Champions.
Sri Lanka faced many ups and downs after that. In fact, the team was eliminated in the first round itself at the following World Cup tournament in 1999.
The fans stood by them.
All these years, if Sri Lanka had been proud of one thing, that would be how the fans treated the team regardless of the result. But we lost that too thanks to the unruly behaviour of a segment of the fans.
This is bad for many reasons. One is that the team will now be pressurized to win matches and that pressure might result in the team losing their morale.
The other is that this situation could result in many similar incidents in the future if not addressed.
Sri Lanka needs to get used to the winning habit. The fans therefore have the responsibility to rally around our players until they get back the lost confidence.