Errol Fernando in Email Commentary to Amba Yahalaluvo aka Pals, 22 June 2023
Let me give you the cricinfo report on the ‘Robinson incident’, L….. After dismissing Khawaja for 141 Robinson’s send-off was,’ F…off you f…ing prick’. When he was interviewed later Robinson stated that he had absolutely no need to apologise. His justification was, ‘We’ve all seen Ricky Ponting and other Aussies do the same to us’.
Ricky Ponting’s response was, ‘Robinson has just sledged probably the nicest man on the planet’.
The mildest thing I could say about Robinson’s sledge and his interview is that I was ‘Disappointed’. However, what I was far more upset about was that there was not a word from Robinson’s captain, coach, manager or anyone else. Most of all, not a word from the match referee. In other words all this was fine and OK.
That may well be fine, L…., but definitely not with all the 12-year-old kids watching.
However, I do have a solution and I am dead serious. In the Lord’s Test next week I want every bowler to give that exact send-off to every batsman. That means we will all hear it forty times on the stump – mic loud and clear. Then a message from the ICC that this is how the game must be played.
I am perfectly happy to accept that. Even a possible knighthood to Robinson for his refusal to apologise and his imaginative contribution and enhancement of the Great Game .
I am so sorry that [our coach at Trinity in the 1950s] didn’t make it compulsory for all of us to do it at Asgiriya.
A FURTHER NOTE … From Michael the Thuppahiyaa
Errol Fernando moved from Trinity to Peradeniya University in the mid-late 1950s and was part of its cricket team and thus a colleague in arms. The idea of abusive denunciation of opponents in a cricket match simply never entered our heads. Any Sinhala equivalent of “prick,” say pakayaa, was unthinkable — at least on the field and in the circles we moved in.
While writing now as a venrable thuppahiya, let me note that this word and pakayaa were simply not part of my vocabulary ….in part because of my relative unfamiliarity with colloquial Sinhala-speech THEN.
Teaching History at Peradeniya in the Sinhala medium from 1960-to-62 and 1966-76 helped me to improve my capacities in Sinhala; but my familairrity with badinage and abusive denigration remained minimal. It still is; …but the researches leading to the multi-stranded aspects of the book PEOPLE INBETWEEN (Ratmalana, Sarvodaya Publishers, 1989) …. especially its first chapter …. fed into improvements in this field of knowledge.
Note, too, the cartoon from The Island, of 27th January 1985 entitled “Hoisting the Flag for Lansieelam”.
That background seeded my adoption of the pejorative cap “thuppahiyaa” when I launched a website down the track: see the item referred to below and the companion-piece entitled “Sinhala Mindset” which are integral parts of the site.
Within the Thuppahi-Item cited below, you will see 46 Comments from Readers (plus my responses): they are also quite ‘educational.’