by Anura Guruge
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I have, if you care to check any of the above posts, raved passionately about what used to be multi-religious, multi-ethnic integration and amiability of the Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) that I grew up in. The diversity in religion and ethnicity, as it must given the percentages involved, have been reflected, consistently, in the national cricket team — and I am not aware of any serious allegations been made about selectorial bias due to religion or ‘color’. So we have the situation that the captain of the beloved national Test cricket team is Christian though the country is 70% Buddhist. Nothing wrong and this is what it is supposed to be. I have no problems. But, as some of the above posts indicate the Buddhist camp is getting somewhat rabid of late.
So, it was amusing for me to read that Angelo, who can sometimes really be angelic, openly thanked God for this week’s hard-fought, and well deserved SL win over Pakistan in the 1st Test Match in Galle. [Yes, I watched the 1 hour highlights, with glee from Thursday night to last night.] I do understand where he is coming from and it is an easy enough statement to make. Plenty of other sportsmen have done so. Just seems incongruous coming from a captain of Sri Lanka where I would think (and I am not at all sure) at least 50% of the team were Buddhists — who do not subscribe to Angelo’s God. This another ‘problem’ with Sri Lanka. You can’t tell a person’s religion, especially when dealing with names Sinhalese names (as opposed to Angelo’s Burger name) whether the person is a Buddhist or a Christian. Ditto with Tamils. They could be Christians or Hindus — though the sweat-stained, brown strings worn around the wrist by some give it away that they are Buddhists.
Kumar Sangakkara, whose 221 runs was the key to Sri Lanka’s success is a Buddhist. So to me it seems strange that Angelo would thank God when Kumar would NOT! See the dilemma of being Sri Lankan?
Now you also have the issue whether God really should be getting involved in winning Angelo a Test Match when there are other slightly greater events taking place in the Middle East.
And then to cap it all … I am not at all sure whether Angelo realizes that the Pakistanis and he believe in and worship the same God! If you do the numbers there had to have been more Pakistanis who subscribed to Angelo’s God than there were Christians or Muslims in the Sri Lankan team. So what gives?
You can now understand why I stay well clear of prayer. It gets very strange, very quickly.