Stories about Sri Lanka

Praying to forget

Hasan sat in his computer class quietly. It was early in the morning and he was still tired from the weekend. He cursed the wrath of Monday under his breath and found it hard to concentrate on what was happening around him. Sri Lanka was dominating Pakistan at stumps and that did not help his mood either. He had his favourite TV show on at one end of his computer screen and on the other he had the scorecard open. The match started in 30 minutes. He wasn’t worried that he would get caught, the teacher was absent, and it ...

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Meeting Sri Lanka’s ex-army chief

After meeting former chief of army staff of Sri Lanka, General Srilal Weerasooriya, I was curious to know what he thinks of the ongoing Afghan war, as well as the US withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. I was also interested in discussing issues related to militancy in Pakistan with General Weerasooriya, who spent months with former president General Pervez Musharraf in the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, Abbottabad in the late ’60s. He told me that Pakistan cannot get rid of militancy until it succeeds in stopping neighbouring countries’ involvement in its territory. General Weerasooriya made it clear that the Pakistani ...

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Talking business

I once interviewed a brilliant young man, who started a business with a total investment of Rs800 and achieved the annual turnover of one million rupees in less than three years. He was in his early 20s and had a degree in business studies. But when I asked whether his business paid taxes and was a formally registered entity, he said he had so far managed to steer clear of all government offices. Their registration procedures are tedious, he told me, and he’d rather build his business than waste time standing in queues outside government offices. So what’s the exact number ...

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Pakistan versus South Africa from a spectator’s perspective

As soon as you land at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, you will not miss the celebratory environment set all around you.  You can see immediately that the nation is celebrating the T20 World Cup. The posters, banners, advertisements, leaflets, and everyone you meet will all convey the same message; the games are on! The famous Ranbir Kapoor advertisement on the T20 runs on national television approximately 1,000 times a day with a tag line being adopted by most cricket fans that goes like this, “Yeh T20 cricket hai, na tameez se kheli jaati hai, na tameez se dekhi jaati hai!” (This the ...

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Did somebody say World T20?

The World T20 2012 is set to commence in Sri Lanka tomorrow. This will be the first time this event is being held in an Asian country. The tournament will open the day after tomorrow, with the hosts taking on Zimbabwe at Hambantota. Despite the number of domestic T20 leagues led by the IPL, the ICC World T20 is at a totally different level altogether. It will feature the highest standard of T20 cricket with the best players of the format competing on a single platform. First let’s take a look at the grouping of the 12 countries participating in this year’s tournament; it ...

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Will the fear ever end, or will I have to pick up a gun too?

The last six months have seen over 50 Shias killed in three bus attacks, while the overall numbers are much higher if incidents of targeted attacks on Shias in war-torn Parachinar and the rest of FATA, Balochistan, and Gilgit-Baltistan are included. For the Shia community in Islamabad, a sizeable share of which is from G-B, dinner table conversation over the Eid weekend focused directly on a worrying ‘what-if’ scenario, namely, the possibility of a militant Shia response to the violence and the fallout from such violence. This is not a recent change. Three years back, an attack on an imambargah ...

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Sri Lankan Premier League: Time for Sri Lanka to shine!

After the huge success of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), it’s time for Sri Lanka to set the stage for the clash of the titans of the cricketing world – and, of course, to make some money too! With the opening ceremony of the Sri Lankan Premier League (SLPL) scheduled for tomorrow, the cricketing world has been taken by frenzy. The bests of the bests will be competing for glory in Colombo and Kandy starting tomorrow.  The 20-day long event, scheduled from August 11 to the 31st, ...

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Kamran Akmal: Is he really worth it?

Kamran Akmal, who has been out of favour since 2011, is all set to make a comeback to the Pakistani team after having being named in the 30 man squad for the September’s World Twenty20. We have often heard people state many reasons for why he should be back which is mainly due to his batting abilities. People in favour of selecting him state that he can provide the required oomph to our batting in shorter formats; that Kamran, on numerous occasions, has saved Pakistan with his batting heroics and that he has been scoring consistently in the domestic circuit since his drop in ...

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Younis Khan, the real King Khan

The last time I wrote about Younis Khan was four months ago, when he had just knocked up a century against England in Dubai. It was a fantastic innings, and right after that I wrote a post titled “Why Younis Khan is king“. In that post, I wrote a comparative analysis, highlighting how Younis Khan fairs better than those batsmen who are popularly referred to as the ‘modern greats’ of the Test arena. What I didn’t happen to touch upon was the area where, in my opinion, Younis Khan really does reign ...

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It’s not all Sami’s fault

Pakistan’s stunning defeat in the final match of the One-Day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka has seen harsh criticism come ’s way and perhaps, rightly so. The fast-bowler managed to do, with some help from our fielders, what our batsmen have been guilty of doing quite regularly of late — snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. As much as the blame for the defeat may lie with Sami, it is important not to lose sight of the bigger picture. In the recent past, more often than not, it has been the performance of our bowlers that has bailed ...

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