The happenings: Just before the World T20 final
Teams were practicing, posing with the trophy, giving pressers and enjoying even as the ICC World T20 final loomed large at the Sri Lankan horizon.
Teams were practicing, posing with the trophy, giving pressers and enjoying, even as the ICC World T20 final loomed large at the Sri Lankan horizon. One guy was conspicuous by his absence though and no points for guessing who - Chris Gayle. Despite being away from the glare, all eyes were literally on him. (All AFP Photos)
Simon Taufel, who will officiate in his last international match after a glittering career (may be Aussies had another incentive to not qualify), (jokes apart) opened up in front of the media men. He pointed out his favourite umpiring "event" as the India-Pakistan World Cup semi-final in 2011. Unarguably, the two best umpires around - Taufel and Aleem Dar - will be in charge on field in the Sri Lanka-West Indies encounter.
<b>Can't get enough</b>: It seems that Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardena is still unsure as to which bat will he use cometh the final. He is seen here in a mini-break during an extensive practice session for the Lankans.
<b>All smiles, as always</b>: He is a character and has managed to revive West Indian cricket to some extent at least. Darren Sammy is rather unheralded but sneaks in unnoticed. He might not be the best of players but does handle his troops commendably. It reflects since this is the country's first major final after the 1983 World Cup loss to India.
<b>Hairy stuff</b>: Lasith Malinga may be erratic at times, ordinary at others but is also special for Sri Lanka when it matters. In the 2012 World T20, he has led the Lankan attack from the front and his team will hope that he continues his run in the final too.
<b>The Calypso-Kolkata beat</b>: Sunil Narine has not been exceptional in this tournament as he was in the IPL but has picked up the pieces at just the right time. As they say, he has peaked at the right moment for the West Indies.
<b>The spin twins</b>: It is not just the pace of Malinga but also the spin of Rangana Herath and Ajantha Mendis that has propelled the hosts in times of crisis at the World T20. Jayawardena's backing has given the "twins" the confidence and in turn the will to repay his faith in them.
<b>A Gayle in making?</b>: Chris may have been conspicuous by his absence but a self-confessed Gayle fan, Kieron Pollard, was seen going through the motions before probably the most important game of his career. In fact, it was Chris Gayle whose words gave Pollard the heart to showcase his skills against Australia.
Nuwan Kulasekara seems pretty relaxed during Sri Lanka's practice sessions. He too has been an important cog in the hosts' wheel.
<b>They all vied for this</b>: In the end, the two best teams are into the final and only time knows who will play better on the day to 'snatch' this beauty of a silverware from the other.