India and Sri Lanka: Divided by Borders, United by Boredom


India and Sri Lanka: Divided by Borders, United by Boredom

Illustration: Sushant Ahire / Arré

On Day 2 of the opening Test match between India and Sri Lanka, play was once again halted briefly because of rain. The players walked off the field and in typical Eden Gardens fashion, the groundsmen rushed out to cover the pitch as the players walked back to pavilion. As this was happening, the not-even-close-to-capacity crowd looked about as unenthusiastic as I will this December while attending the umpteenth winter wedding. Because it’s a show we’ve all seen before. Roughly 155 times.

India and Sri Lanka hold the record for most ODIs played between two teams.

So it’s no surprise then that seeing India and Sri Lanka play one another in any format is the second biggest boner-killer among South Asian men after Dolly Bindra in the Bigg Boss House. Not to mention, the adverse effect it has had on long-time India and Sri Lanka players.

It is said that poor Virat Kohli has spent so much of his career around Sri Lankan players, he has inadvertently picked up Sinhala and can sometimes be seen cussing out the opponents in their local language. Though he admits, “They don’t slip off the tongue as effortlessly as a good ol’ B#<^$#od.” Muttiah Muralitharan is rumoured to have once drunkenly confessed to why he married his Chennai native wife in 2005. “I would get to see her more often than a Sri Lankan local anyway! It just made perfect sense,” he is believed to have said. And for a lot of Sri Lankan players, the IPL also acts as an annual tourist attraction. Angelo Mathews had an infamous rivalry with his Delhi Daredevils teammate over who knows the city better. “He might be a Delhi local but I've played more games in Feroz Shah Kotla than Nehra ji has had injuries. Who is the true Delhi da munda now, huh?”

And for a lot of Sri Lankan players, the IPL also acts as an annual tourist attraction.

Sangakkara also confessed that his stressful stint as captain of the often-vanquished Kings XI Punjab franchise has left a lasting impact on him. “By the end of my IPL career, I’d spent so much time in Chandigarh that I’ve developed a crippling phobia of Punjabi songs and butter chicken.”

Mumbai Indians staple, Lasith Malinga, was one of the few who had good things to say about the franchise. “No matter how many times I got my ass handed to me in international matches, I knew it was all worth it when Neeta ji would send me my fat-ass IPL bonus. Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan is not just a tagline. It also defines my lifestyle.”

Even though most of us know that the upcoming 18 games over the next five months will only act as the background score to our cheap wedding gifts shopping spree online, Captain Kohli thinks otherwise. He is hopeful for some memorable matches. “I am optimistic of some crackling cricket, brushing up on my Sinhala and some much-needed time off from my gruelling schedule of shooting Manyavar ads,” he chuckled, after being dismissed for a duck yesterday.