Kumar Sangakkara a greak Cricketer, and his Collin Cowdrey Lecture..
Posted on July 11th, 2011

By Charles.S.Perera

 The media lost no time to praise Kumar Sangakkara’s Collin Cowdrey Lecture at Lords hoping the government of Sri Lanka to react against Sangakkara so that they could  make an issue of it to draw  the anger  of the people towards the government and bring another wave of  disapproval of the government by the International Community.   But it ended  in no-event disappointing miserably the  anti government media, and others who were  hoping to profit from the situation.

 Kumara Sangakkara delivered a commendable lecture in exemplary lucidity and a display of  un-affected sincerity.   He was able to keep the listener enraptured without a moment of  distraction  keeping strictly within the topic he  chose,  the Spirit of Sri Lankan Cricket.  He steered well away from politics keeping  close to his subject mentioning  appropriately the people who mattered in Sri Lankan Cricket.  His anecdotes and humour went completely with  the theme of  his speech.

 One who had read the media  and not listened to  Sangakkara’s speech would think  that Kumar Sangakkara had made his lecture an occasion to criticise the  Government  of Sri Lanka.  If any one who  listened to Kumar Sangakkara’s cleverly worded speech thinks it contained any political innuendos, then  one would have to be a listener biased against the government of Sri Lanka desiring  to hear criticism of the Government.

 On the contrary to that expectation, Sangakkara kept himself wisely and cleverly away from politics in keeping every important issue he touched in the course of his lecture within the context of the subject the “spirit of Sri Lankan Cricket”

 He drew the attention of the raptly attentive audience from the beginning of his lecture  with  light humour ,  and recounting the history of Sri Lankan Cricket when it was introduced to Sri Lanka by the British Missionaries,  and then how  from its elitist beginning it became a popular national game played by all.  He did not fail to give credit to his “rotund” senior who brought the game out of Colombo into a popular base outside. 

 He mentioned  the   Honourable  late Mr.Gamini Dissanyake, for his efforts to get the ICC grant Sri Lanka official Test status, for his preparing the  Asgiriya  cricket pitch to a world standard. Thereafter,  Cricket become a popular pastime of a nation, with the one-day matches.

 There were many awaiting to make Kumar Sangakkara’s Cowdre Lecture  a means to “slam” (a popular media word in Sri Lanka) the government.  But they miserably failed as Sangakkara neither praised the Government or lashed out at it but made a lecture on Sri Lankan Cricked which even the late  Cowdrey would have been proud of.

 He recounted his frightful experience of the Lahore attack  in detail with ”  dark humour ” which drew the laughter of the audience.

He touched on the terrible news he had of the tsunami, and how  for  a moment when they did not know what to do the inspiration came from  Muralitharan, «  While we were thinking as to how we could help, Murali was quick to provide the inspiration. Murali is a guy who has been pulled from all sides during his career, but he always stood only alongside his team-mates and countrymen. Without any hesitation »,

In the whole of Sangakkara’s speech he did not use any moment to be boastful of his achievements and seek credit for himself but he gave readily with  great generosity praise to  others, standing modestly  in the shade of their appreciable qualities.   He  spoke of how a great tragedy in Sri Lanka brought the sworn enemies together. “We visited shelter camps run by the Army and the LTTE and even some administered in partnership between them. Two bitter warring factions brought together to help people in a time of need.”

 About the criticism of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board, there is nothing secret about it every one in Sri Lanka is aware of the scandals surrounding it , and if  Sangakkara had left it out, the topic he selected to speak,  the Spirit of Sri Lanka Cricket would have been incomplete . 

 Sangakkara spoke about it without   rancour , just made the audience understand  how any “administration” could affect those who are really concerned, in this case  the   Sri Lankan Cricketers who  play the game they love,  which has become the passion of a Nation.  There are scandals every where about the administration of sports.  In France there are no end of it with the football clubs, so are they in UK and Italy.

 Most important passage of his Cowdrey Lecture was about the terrorism in Sri Lanka.  Speaking to an audience of important personalities in London  the den  of the terrorist “rump” who had been carrying the terrorist flag even at the Lords stadium (7 July,2009) to protest against the Sri Lankan cricket team, Sangakkara’s lecture would have been a shockwave. 

 The UK Channel 4 would have also had  an unexpected shock, as its attempt to  discredit Sri Lanka with their doctored documentary “ƒ”¹…”The Sri Lanka Killing Fields.” may have been a washout among the London viewers after the Sangakkara’s portrayal of terrorism .
But Sangakkara  spoke  neither of the  nefarious scheming of the ruthless terrorists, and the  activities of  the terrorist “rump”  or the anti “”…”Sri Lanka movements to bring dishonour and discredit to Sri Lanka. He  spoke  of terrorism as he saw it, and as it affected  Sri Lankan Cricket and the suffering caused to the people. 

 He spoke of the horrors of the 1983 race riots and how the Sinhala people sheltered their Tamil friends and Tamil neighbours, so that no harm would come to them from rioting goons.

 He did not leave the period of terror  of the JVP and related how a wonderful man like D.H.de Silva was miraculously saved when the gun held to his head by a JVP terrorist jammed.

 He gave a lesson to the Tamil diaspora in explain what it  is for him to be a Sri Lankan.  He put it so well as nobody has done so far, except perhaps the  late Mr. Laksman Kadirgamar.  What he said in his own words is, “”¦.With me are all my people. I am Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim and Burgher. I am a Buddhist, a Hindu, a follower of Islam and Christianity. I am today, and always, proudly Sri Lankan”.

 He cleverly took away the limelight from him to focus it on the Sri Lanka Soldiers, when he so movingly recounted his meeting with a Soldier at a check point.

 “A week after our arrival in Colombo from Pakistan I was driving about town and was stopped at a checkpoint. A soldier politely inquired as to my health after the attack. I said I was fine and added that what they as soldiers experience every day we only experienced for a few minutes”¦”¦.. That soldier looked me in the eye and replied: “It is OK if I die because it is my job and I am ready for it. But you are a hero and if you were to die it would be a great loss for our country.”

 Listening to that as he put it, you could not have  helped feeling tears welling into  your eyes for the heroism of our Soldiers who are  ever prepared to give their lives selflessly,  for the cause of their beloved land.

 Thank you Kumar Sangakkara.

5 Responses to “Kumar Sangakkara a greak Cricketer, and his Collin Cowdrey Lecture..”

  1. Vis8 Says:

    Sangakkara’s praise of the Armed forces in defeating the ltte during his lecture was well-noted and praised by President Rajapakse and Gotabhaya. Thanks to Sanga for highlighting our brave forces.

  2. Marco Says:

    Rather late in the game, nevertheless good bit of “Spin” bowling!

  3. Rohan8 Says:

    Thanks Charles Perera. I second everything you said. It was a great speech. The Sri Lankan govt fully supports him.
    I think the anti-Sri Lanka forces in the world were just hit for six by the eloquent Kumar Sangakkara.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Bravo, Charles!

    You have again written a gem, accurately identifying the content and thrust of Sangakkara’s Cowdrey Lecture at Lords.

    Kumar Sangakkara spoke from his heart, with great patriotism, eloquence and sincerity about his own experiences as a Sri Lankan cricketer, and as a Sri Lankan citizen, bringing out the love we all have for each other as sons and daughters of ONE mother Lanka!

    May the Holy Triple Gem protect him, and guide him all his days.


  5. Kit Athul Says:

    Marco, “Rather late in the game”? What do you mean? Charles does not live in SriLanka, so he has to get the full story from various publications and it takes time. I think what troubled you is the mention of Honourable Gamini Dissanayeke. He was blown to pieces by LTTE and Mr. Pramachandra who took over the leadership after his death. So was late Lalith Athulathmudali who was gunned down by LTTE. These three formed the DUNF political party to counter act Pramadasa who sold military equipment to LTTE. I don’t think what troubles MARCO, is charles’s article, but the ineffectiveness of the “Boycott Sri Lanka Cricket” By TAMIL TERRORISTS fund raises in UK. Every cricket match was played to a full house sold out tickets! So their signing campaing to boycott Sri Lanka cricket went down the drian.

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