CRICKET in Sri Lanka and Pakistan has bowled itself out with a couple of googlies. The Aravinda de Silva and Javed Miandad affairs, although substantively different, have robbed their countries of two true talents, the former for the upcoming games in Sharjah and the latter for good. You would have thought that having a batting average that matched your weight would be a plus for any cricketer, but it has not helped de Silva. Never mind that he has been hitting the ball deep into tea plantations in local matches, the flabby-framed de Silva flunked a fitness test so he is out of the real Tests. England's Ian Botham, he of the ''Beefy'' sobriquet, and similarly rotund bat and ball merchants must be holding their beer bellies with much mirth. Demanding that cricketers reach specific fitness levels is akin to requiring Diego Maradona to be more of a team man or he'll be dropped - it's just not done. Sure, top class cricketers have to be in reasonable shape to cope with the rigours of five-day matches, often played in baking heat, but that requirement should be secondary to the technique, timing and other innings-building qualities that the likes of de Silva possess in abundance. The baddy in this sad Sri Lankan scenario is sports minister Nanda Mathew whose brainwave it was to impose physical checks on the country's international sportsmen. Given that there should be little need for this in most sports - coaches don't build reputations on choosing half-fit players - cricket seemed to be the main target for the good minister's weight-watch hunt. Doubtless he had the country's sporting good at heart - Sri Lanka have slipped a bit from a bright beginning in the Test arena - but his is the type of interference which players, coaches and selectors can do without as evidenced by captain Arjuna Ranatunga's decision to pull out of the team in support of de Silva and the standing down of five committee members. Sri Lanka's performances seem sure to suffer as a result of the debacle as will, one would expect, those of Pakistan now that former captain Javed Miandad has retired from international cricket after being overlooked for the Australasia Cup in Sharjah. The bad guys in this one are not as easily identifiable with a close-to-tears Miandad pointing the finger at Machiavellian forces at work inside the country's cricket establishment. While Miandad is a somewhat prickly character, he has done the business for Pakistan on countless occasions and was seen as sufficiently inspirational to skipper the side 34 times when the omnipotent Imran Khan was unavailable. The writing was on the wall when Wasim Akram took over the captaincy last year and failure to be selected for the New Zealand tour (a decision which caused outrage amongst the players and forced authorities to replace Akram with Salim Malik as captain in an act of appeasement) and the Sharjah sortie pushed Miandad to commit cricketing harikari by falling on his own wicket. Oh, how forty-something England must be wishing that de Silva and Miandad were born within the shadow of Lords.