What Sangakkara didn’t say in his MCC speechJuly 6, 2011, 12:00 pm
It is rare that anybody has ever brought both acceptance and honour to this land in the outside world –especially in the West— like the way Kumar Sangakkara has done in its post independence era. The former Sri Lanka cricket Captain has done so in just an hour long fascinating speech which illustrated originally and quite movingly what is Sri Lanka’s cricket, in his 2011 MCC Colin Cowdrey Spirit of Cricket lecture at Lord’s, London.
Though the local cricket administration is apparently trying to look at Sangakkara’s ‘finger’ quite foolhardily after he pointed to ‘the moon,’ his speech will surely turn out be regarded as one of the best, if not THE best, so far on a sport that has become, through centuries of evolution, an obsession of an entire nation, "played and followed with almost fanatical passion and love" and "is capable of transcending war and politics (as mentioned in the very speech)." So, reprimanding Sanga will only justify what he has said on local politics and the cricket administration it appoints.
Sangakkara’s eloquence, his language and the messages he conveyed in his speech looked to have thoroughly impressed the Lord’s audience on Monday emanating a spontaneously rousing standing ovation at its conclusion. From a Sri Lankan point-of-view, it’s of paramount importance that Sangakkara has put, before such an erudite yet uncompromising gathering, the ever arrogant revolutionary Arjuna Ranatunga in his due place in Sri Lankan cricket history.
Sangakkara called Arjuna a "much-awaited messiah" who "was to change the entire history of our cricketing heritage converting the game that we loved, into a shared fanatical passion that over 20 million people embraced as their own personal dream." Such an introduction on Arjuna, which would not have received with overt acknowledgement especially from the British cricketing circles, has to be regarded a very bold statement given the context of the speech.
Sangakkara is the next Arjuna Ranatunga in Sri Lankan cricket. On many counts, he is the much awaited messiah of the post-Ranatunga Sri Lankan cricket. But notably Sanga lacked some daring features of his predecessor’s character.
The post Ranatunga period necessitated someone who vehemently opposed all unhealthy commercial endeavours that hastened the downfall of the game’s pristine image.
Someone who could resist pressures of the selfish commercial forces denied appearing in socially detrimental ad world, preferring and fighting for the country’s course when the tide was for the IPL… Sangakkara would have been on a stronger footing when he said "cricketers started to earn real money both in the form of national contracts and endorsement deals. For the first time cricketers were on billboards and television advertising products, advertising anything from sausages to cellular networks," had he been following Arjuna and took a similar stance like him.
That was glaringly the coherent meaning that lacked in Sangakkara’s monumental speech. Appearing in a load of ads and playing in the IPL only allows him to be identified as a player who really cannot survive in an eerie system that surrounds him. Arjuna defied such a system, but Sanga cannot, even having well informed of the evils of it. That’s really what his MCC speech lacked.
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Last Updated May 17 2013 | 08:07 pm