There are a lot of talks by various concerned people about some of the Sri Lankan Muslims supporting Pakistani cricket team and some of the Sri Lankan Tamils supporting Indian cricket team against the Sri Lankan team when India and Pakistan visit Sri Lanka. Some go to the extent calling the Tamils and Muslims ‘traitors.’ But is there anything more than this behind this phenomenon?
Muslims are more concerned with religion than race or anything else for that matter. So, naturally, they see the Muslims in Pakistani teams as “brothers” than the members of the Sri Lankan team. With the strong beliefs they have towards their religion, this is expected. Besides, only few Muslims have been able to make it to the national team of Sri Lanka. Had that happened, the things would have been different, I guess.
It is the same with India team. Tamils in Sri Lanka have their roots in India and they think they have been discriminated by the Sinhalese and hence their first love with the Indian team. Few Tamils represented the Sri Lanka team but only Muralitharan could make it ‘felt.’ Had there been more Tamils in the Sri Lanka team, the reaction of the Tamils here would have been different. But the selectors cannot name a team to justify racial concerns. They have to adhere with the players’ talents. Non Sinhala players being selected to the team constantly shows that there is no discrimination against them.
In another note, look at the cheering squads in Australia, England or New Zealand that have migrated from Sri Lanka and obtained citizenships in those countries who support Sri Lanka team when they visit those countries? If we oppose Muslims and Tamils supporting India and Pakistan in Sri Lanka, the British, Australians and New Zealanders should oppose Sri Lankan migrants supporting Sri Lanka in those countries. But they don’t care. Should we take Muslims and Tamils supporting non Sri Lankan teams seriously? It is just a sport. It doesn’t have anything to do with patriotism. The best example is that when the Kandy team plays rugby in Kandy, people from all communities support Kandy forgetting their racial differences as it is ‘their’ team and all communities represent the team.