Crosscurrents: Sri Lanka and Australia at CricketMay 15, 2015
Michael Roberts & Alfred James
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Notes on Lanka’s Cricket History …… S.S. Perera
- Cricketing History& Some Nationalist Hues in Ceylon and Lanka ….. Michael Roberts
- Ceylon vs Australia as Statistics, 1884-1981 ….. Alfred James
- Bradman and Others at Colombo, 1948 ….. Michael Roberts
- Hassett and Others at Colombo, 1953 …… Michael Roberts
- Australia vs Lanka at the Prudential World Cup, 1975 .…. Michael Roberts
- An Ethnic Encounter at a Cricket Match, 1981 ….. Michael Roberts
- Australia and Sri Lanka ….. Richard Cashman
THE SRI LANKAN TOUR of 1995-96
- Controversies: The SL Cricket Team’s 1995-96 Tour of Australia .… Michael Roberts
- Fundamentalism in Cricket: Crucifying Muralitharan ….. Michael Roberts
BOMBS and the WORLD CUP
- Letters: About Tigers, Bombs and Cricket ….. Michael Roberts
- Avoiding Lanka: Australia and the World Cup ….. Michael Roberts
- The World Cup on Field and Newsprint ….. Michael Roberts
- Ranatunga proves a canny captain ….. Henry Blofeld
- Faltering at the last hurdle ….. Vijay Lokapally
Walla Walla Press and Mobitel, 1998, 168 pages ISBN 0 9587079 4 4 … try Vijitha Yapa Bookshop
In the mid 70’ a seductive Lankan lass asked an English reporter to be kind to Sri Lanka when they eventually made the grade and played at Lords. The Sri Lankan team’s Australian tour in 1995/96 witnessed many unkind moments. Indeed, it matched the notorious bodyline series for its plethora of flashpoints and heated exchanges. In an incisive outline of these episodes Roberts does not hesitate to skirt the unkind in his analysis of Australian responses. His provocative review encompasses the Australian decision to skip the match in Sri Lanka during the World Cup in the months that followed. It also reaches beyond the cricket field in unpacking the characteristics of Australian popular culture through the practices of its cricketers, umpires, sports commentators and the occasional public comment.
The anthology records Australia’s contribution to Sri Lankan cricket at numerous moments, notably in 1981 when the country was accorded full Test playing status. Articles on Sri Lanka’s cricketing history and Alf James’s statistical record of Australian tours of Ceylon and Lanka substantiate the background of interaction. The whistle-stop matches in Colombo are indexed by reports on the matches played by Bradman’s and Hassett’s teams – including accounts by Fingleton, O’Reilly and Learie Constantine. In this small way this book is yet another epitaph to a leading cricketing character, Sir Donald Bradman.
The book concludes its survey with a celebratory outline of the Sri Lankan cricket team’s performance at the World Cup, in part through comments from non-partisan observers such as Peter Roebuck, Mike Selvey, Vijay Lokapally and Henry Blofeld. The latter is affectionately known in some circles as ‘the Blo-fly’ — because he is ‘a character’. This anthology introduces many a ‘character’ in its passages. But it is also a story of character assassination and character building.
Its prose compositions are supported by 36 illustrations interspersed within the text. These include cartoons, but are mostly pictures. Perhaps the most interesting of these are those of the Australian cricketers of yesteryear and their wives in Colombo, though the most striking are selections from the World Cup. From a particular point of view the most significant item in this collection is the reproduction of a single-page leaflet circulated by Tamil militants who demonstrated at the Oval in London during the incident-full Australian match against Sri Lanka in 1975. This is but one mark of the several ways in which issues of ethnicity, race and politics are threads that course through the book.