Murali ‘bigger’ than Hinduism and Catholicism

Sri Lankan bowler Murali Muralitharan - a Catholic-educated Hindu (Photo: Ajithjaya, Wikipedia CC 3.0

Posted by Stefan Gigacz


The Third Cricket Test between England and Sri Lanka is under way at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, UK.

The first day’s play was interrupted several times by rain which no doubt explains the following comments by the Daily Telegraph’s commentators Mike Norrish and Jonathan Liew.

“Did you know that in Sri Lanka, batsmen are more likely to be Buddhist and bowlers are more likely to be Catholic? It’s true,” says either Norrish or Liew (it’s not clear who made the comments).

“I learned it from the Sri Lankan journalists during the tour game at Chelmsford. Buddhism is the main religion in Sri Lanka, and most of the team’s great batsmen – Jayasuriya, Sangakkara, Jayawardene, Atapattu, Tharanga – have been of that faith. (Dilshan was born a Muslim but converted to Buddhism.)

Another Catholic fast bowler, Chaminda Vaas (Photo: Sampath s, Wikipedia

“But look at a lot of the bowlers – Vaas, Mendis, Fernando, Kulasekara – and they are Catholic,” says the commentator.

However, “Murali was born a Hindu but received a Catholic education, and in any case is now bigger than either,” he adds.

“You could posit several theories as to why that might be. The leading one is that Buddhists tend to be vegetarian, while Catholics eat more meat, which lends itself to the big bulky fast bowler’s physique.

“The trouble with that theory is it doesn’t explain Arjuna Ranatunga, one of the fattest cricketers in Test history – and a Buddhist,” he concludes.

I don’t think that last comment will do much to promote interreligious harmony in Sri Lanka, I’m afraid.

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