Sri Lankan Cricketers And The Kissing Of Balls!
by Anura Guruge
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2/ West Indies Women’s Team.
3/ Dhammika Prasad v. Ishant Shrama.
4/ Sri Lanka’s Christian cricket captain.
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Yes, yes, I know given that I grew up over there that Sri Lankans, by nature, are a superstitious bunch — and nobody could be more so than my adoptive mother. She had the whole repertoire. So, I am no stranger to the practices — like putting spit on any discarded hair so that a curse, upon you, cannot be put through that discarded hair. The discreet, head turned away, mouth-covered spitting sounds made to ward off ‘evil words’ were classic.
But, I still can’t get over Sri Lankan cricketers kissing their balls and for that matter bats. Yes, nearly all kiss the national emblem on their helmet upon reaching a 50 or 100, BUT I am talking about the habitual kissing of inanimate cricketing paraphernalia. Some, Lasith Malinga in the fore, would WORSHIP the ball before giving it tongue. He would place the ball on the ground, pay devotion to it and then take it to his mouth. Yikes.
Dhammika Prasad, who must be another Christian like the captain Angelo Matthews, given that he crosses himself before he starts to bowl, also worships the ball — Christian style — and then sticks it in his mouth. GROSS.
I understand that it is common within sporting circles to seek divine intervention and give thanks when something good happens. But worshipping a cricket ball. Yes, I understand that a hard, gleaming virgin cricket ball is a thing of beauty and awe. But to worship it and kiss it? And then there was that opener, who name I can’t remember, who would kiss the handle of his bat, through the grill of his helmet, each time he survived a ball. He never kissed the bat when he got out.
Very strange and it looks even stranger. It does make me cringe and I now try to look the other way. Maybe I should start practicing my adoptive mother’s, head turned away, mouth-covered ‘thuup, thuup, thuup’, spitting motions and sounds, each time Prasad kisses his ball.