Two more contrasting teams you could not get in a final. Sri Lanka, emerging from a debilitating war that threatened to take the charm out of a beautiful island, led by two very thoughtful people who carry themselves with a fair bit of gravity, and who are conscious of their dignity, and full of bowlers with mysterious but legally acceptable actions. This would be the perfect present to an island that is seeking unity and where cricket is a glue.
The West Indies, from some of the most gorgeous islands, people who are together only on a cricket field, where cricket brings together different accents and rates of exchange; who carry themselves with a song on the lips, with legs eager to get rid of pads and break into a jig. They play with flair and power and being calculating is neither in their nature nor in their cricket.
Of the principal players, Sri Lanka's Jayawardene will play like his bat is a violin, he will work out angles and nudges; his cricket will be measured as it used to be before bats began to grow as if they were on fast food. He will produce a smile.
By contrast Gayle of the West Indies will carry an implement, a bat like a cannon from which cricket balls, like little cannon balls, travel long distances. He will be brutal and will produce a gasp. Jayawardene's cricket smiles a polite, dignified smile. Gayle's cricket laughs till the body convulses.
Among others Malinga and Narine are joined only by a love of bizarre hairstyles. One will bowl a concoction of fast yorkers and mischievous slower balls. He is Sri Lanka's man for all seasons, his success has produced only a line of weird wigs for no one else can bowl like him.
Narine is a rare case, a slow bowler who dominates a team whose place in history was won by the fastest bowlers on the planet. He bamboozles most teams but will come up against one that produces mystery bowlers as if orthodoxy was outlawed. Sri Lanka will play Narine better than anyone else.
Sri Lanka are the more solid, the more diverse, the more skilled and the more reliable. And they will play on a surface made for them. If cricket was predictable, they would win.
But, delightfully, thankfully, it isn't!
Professional Management Group