When Nepal qualified for World T20, Coach Pubudu Dassanayake termed this success a bonus only. I don’t know about the rest but when I watch Pubudu closely I find him extremely stunning. He possesses amazing self-belief, hard work and personality. He speaks only after measuring things. Before leaving for New Zealand he told me “The actual success is coming now.” But that is future which is hard to believe. But in August 2011 when Pubudu arrived in Nepal and claimed “Nepal can play in a World Cup,” who would have believed him back then?
Lets talk about personality. Well there are things I can’t say outside, can’t publish in a newspaper. The only option is to wait or else I would be gambling my prestige. Before the World T20 qualifiers, Pubudu once whispered to me “I promise that Nepal will play in World T20.” When I heard that it spun my head for a while. Like I said before, Pubudu calculates before speaking and now it has become a habit to me. Habit as in when Pubudu says something, it does not spin my head. Instead I believe it easily without giving a second thought! Why would not I believe him? After all, a few years back, not years a few months back we used to say “Perhaps in the era of our sons or grandsons Nepal may play in a World Cup.” We all had dreams to see Nepal play in a World Cup. Pubudu not only claimed he would qualify Nepal for a World Cup, he fulfilled it. It is not only the world cup qualifications; there are many instances which Pubudu has said something and later went on to fulfill. He has also said something now but we have to wait patiently and watch for the future.
Although we have known each other for a while, I don’t speak much with Pubudu. I am unsure whether like Pubudu ; my words are well calculated enough. When he sees me he flexes his cheek muscles. Opposite to those pictures of girls on facebook pouting their lips, he moves his lips inward and smiles. I reply with a smile without showing my teeth and bow my head. When I meet Pubudu after a success in a tournament I only say “Thank You sir! The happiness you have given us is priceless.” Nothing more! There are no words to describe the happiness he has given but once I did ask him “How do you always stay so calm and composed?” Once again giving that envious smile similar to that of Baburam Bhattrai he replied “I don’t have anything to hide. In reality I am exactly what you see me, maybe that’s why!”
Pubudu is a professional; maybe his smile is professional too. Like I said earlier the smile was a formality only. I think Pubudu’s smile is that way and in Nepal there are only few with whom he shares actual smile. Because he is very familiar with the Nepali fake smiles and promises. There are only few with whom he can talk with an open heart. Pubudu knows there are no guarantees from anyone here. It has been pretty long since he has worked here but he still has no one to share feelings with. Neither has his words been carried out nor has anyone fulfilled the promises made to him. He has been standing alone and yet has been still saying “We can!”
What I am trying to say is our cricket has gone ahead to a certain level. However if we remove Pubudu for a while and ponder, we realize this success does not have a strong foundation nor a prolonged future. The heads at CAN has changed since Pubudu arrived in Nepal but sir’s trait is only one when it comes to those heads. When meeting just smile and greet then shake hands. Except that Pubudu has not seen anything from them nor have we cricket fanatics seen anything from those heads. But Pubudu does not care.
Being a follower of Buddhism, perhaps he knows Budhha’s path more than any of us. He does his work, tries his level best to make others to do their respective works but does not complain and satisfies himself. When Indian captain Dhoni visited Nepal he had said “What you have, you should utilize it utmost.” What Nepal has is hardworking players and Pubudu sir has made the utmost use of his players.
After coming to Nepal in few of his interviews he had said “I am not someone who stays idle locked in a hotel room when there are no ongoing tournaments.” He takes it as his duty to develop Nepali Cricket as a whole and his selfless devotion and sleepless nights is what has been driving Nepali Cricket Team to success. His job assigned was to coach the team during tournaments but he has done much more than that.
He was born in Sri Lanka. He saw success with the Sri Lankan Cricket Team. Then he reached Canada and took Canadian Cricket Team to new heights of success. Finally he arrived at a nation which claims to be the birthplace of Buddha. But when I see Pubudu I feel no matter where Buddha was born, he has no home.
Usually Nepali minds are filed with news of politics, fights, deaths and accidents. In the past two years, Nepali minds have got used to a new flavor of news under the leadership of Pubudu. Whether it is chit-chat among unemployed youths at Ratna Park or be it a meet among Nepali migrant workers at a park in Saudi Arabia, Nepali cricket is in everyone’s lips. Be it the scorching heat of an Arabian desert or be it the shivering cold of Europe, every single Nepali scattered across the globe now has a reason to hold one’s head high: Thanks to Nepali Cricket! Nepali Cricket Team has given every single Nepali a reason to smile, a reason to be proud of and a newfound belief that Nepal can stand out in the world. However, the backbone for the newfound pride Pubudu is silent. Perhaps he has belief that this is not all.
Not only before Pubudu arrived in Nepal, till date some well-wishers of Nepali Cricket or let’s say critic of Nepali Cricket had similar concerns. Few weeks back I was in a conversation with Nepali Cricket Journo Ujwal Acharya. During our chat he told me “Check the articles I wrote ten years back on the problems of Nepali Cricket. The problems back then and the problems we are facing today are still the same.” Although the problems have remained the same yet Nepali Cricket has been able to reach unparalleled heights. It is amazing how problems have remained the same but the success and achievements have doubled and quadrupled. How? The answer is “Pubudu Dassanayake.” If one closely compares Nepali Cricket 10 years back and now, the only difference one finds is Pubudu Dassanayake and the recent successes.
I heard Dassanayake means one having ten heads. Ravana had ten heads too but times and conditions are different from back then. Hence, the importance of ten heads is different too. Ravana used his ten heads for himself and his selfish needs and maybe this present day ten header too works for his own self-satisfaction. However, his ten heads are linked with the pride of thousands of other heads. And due to him thousands of other can now walk with their heads held high. Thank you Pubudu! You have given us a reason to be happy, you have made hidden voices capable of shouting out aloud, and you have shown dreams in reality! They say expectation gives birth to disappointment but there are majority who do not give up on dreaming and expecting. What you have given to us has no price. They have started to expect another world cup and there is no end of expectations from you. However, the happiness and joy you have provided us so far is more than enough. No matter what happens next but what has happened so far is all because of you! Thank you for your company. Many many thanks!
( Translated by Sakush KC )