When Worlds Collide, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday newspaper on 10 March 2013

The prevailing big match fervour raises the question: why is the quintessentially English game of cricket our de facto national sport? How did a one-time colonial and elitist pursuit evolve into a national obsession, a rare common denominator in a land that has so few?

Cricket didn’t achieve this status automatically (the game was played on the island from the early part of the 19th century). It wasn’t any politician’s diktat or some committee’s recommendation that took cricket beyond urban and English speaking sections of Lankan society.

It was the power of radio: broadcasts of cricket commentaries in Sinhala (and later, in Tamil).

In his 2003 feature film Ira Madiyama (August Sun), award winning filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage captured this unifying power of cricket. The story’s events take place on that heady day…

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