The victory of Sri Lankan cricket team in the Asian Cup tournament is very significant for Sri Lanka for more than one reason.
There is no “superstar” in the present Sri Lankan cricket team, unlike the so-called superstars in Indian and Pakistan cricket teams. Nobody expected that Sri Lankan cricket team would beat India and Pakistan so convincingly and decisively.
While Sri Lankan cricket team do not have some world-ranking players now unlike the earlier days, the remarkable success of the Sri Lankan cricket team is due to the team effort and high level of confidence in their own capability. In the final match, even as Sri Lanka lost five wickets for less than 60 runs, the remaining players did not lose heart and fought with determination while facing the experienced front line bowlers of Pakistan.
During the last several months, Sri Lankans have been undergoing tremendous stress due to economic hardships and political uncertainties. Massive agitations were organised by small section of Sri Lankans, while majority of Sri Lankans did not participate in the agitations and observed the scenario helplessly.
Many Sri Lankans felt that Sri Lanka could have become a laughing stock in the eyes of the world when agitators entered the President’s house and occupied it, with the President of Sri Lanka fleeing from the house and later on fleeing the country. Even the Prime Minister’s house was attacked, with international media publishing such bad news extensively. Certainly, many enlightened Sri Lankans felt that Sri Lanka deserve better.
Today, Sri Lanka has been driven to a situation where the debt commitment could not be honoured and countries like India have to rush essential goods and fuel to Sri Lanka to ensure that the Sri Lankans would atleast have the minimum requirements met.
Further, Sri Lanka is now heavily dependent on The International Monetary Fund to keep the Sri Lankan economy in shape. To add insult to injury, the Human Rights Commission is discussing the human rights violation in Sri Lanka during the ethnic war. Sri Lankans know that it was a war where the terrorists have to be necessarily eliminated and some bloodshed is unavoidable. Sri Lanka was really fighting to protect its territorial integrity and any government in any country would have behaved in the same way in such situation.
Such developments as above have brought down the morale of Sri Lankans considerably.
While Sri Lanka has several inherent strength and can bounce back to reveal its full potential, what is needed now is that the morale of the people should be kept high and they should gain the confidence that they can do whatever that is needed in the present juncture.
In the last few months, there have been no developments in Sri Lanka that could make Sri Lankans proud and Sri Lanka desperately need to hear some success stories. This is what the Sri Lankan cricketers have given to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan cricketers have shown that with grit, determination and unity of purpose, they can achieve great aims, even when no one expects them to do so.
Let this morale-boosting victory be the starting point for revival Sri Lankan economy and public life, forgetting the unsavoury past in the last few months.