Take a bow, gentlemen! - Editorial

7 April 2014 04:28 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Following his side’s defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in the semi-finals of the ICC World T20, West Indies cricket captain Darren Sammy made a sensational remark that grabbed headlines around the world.

We do not hear such comments often these days of commercialised sports which only aim to pile up money, resulting in a breed of sports stars who know nothing more than how to become billionaires. True sportsmen with respect to fellow human beings have become a rare commodity.


Take a bow gentlemen for the joy you brought us and as Sammy pointed out, for the service you did, not only to Sri Lanka’s cricket but also to world cricket


Sammy’s image as a typical fun-loving Caribbean cricketer hides his intelligence, something which becomes obvious when we go through what he says at press conferences. He always talks substance and is not afraid to speak his mind.

West Indies won the previous ICC World T20 under his captaincy and at that time he was the West Indies captain in all three formats of the game. However, a few days after winning the world title, Sammy was removed from his captaincy in the One-Day format. He still holds the captaincy in T20 and Test formats and a journalist questioned him before the semi-final if he was disappointed after what happened following the last victory. He just smiled and said jokingly that he might lose his Test captaincy too if they won the title this time, but added that it never bothered him as he was happy with what he had rather than being unhappy about what he did not have.

“If we win this, probably I wouldn’t be the Test captain. For me it has never been about whether I am captain or not. I just enjoy playing for the West Indies. Not many people get to wake up in the morning and do something every day that they love. I have a lot of friends who probably don’t wanna wake up on Monday to go to work. But for me it is about enjoying what I do, whether I am captain or not it is about giving my best to the team” was how he summed it up.

A day later, Sammy publicly expressed his admiration of Sri Lanka’s two most senior cricketers Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene both  of whom too have not been afraid to speak their mind whenever they had the opportunity despite the gagging measures used by their employer.

In 2011, Sangakkara labelled Sri Lanka Cricket officials as “partisan cronies” of politicians whose appointment he said, “would lead to corruption and wanton waste of cricket board finances and resources” during the MCC’s famous Spirit of Cricket Colin Cowdrey lecture.

After this speech, powerful politicians attempted to destroy Sangakkara, but failed as he was performing brilliantly and his removal would obviously have led to a massive public outcry. A few months later he led Sri Lanka to World Cup final.

The following year, Jayawardene, in a letter to “Daily Mirror” said “I have lost all confidence in dealing with SLC in the future” during a spat he had with his employer over a leaked document.

There is no doubt that the larger-than-life figures of these two all-time greats of the game created many headaches for the officials. So they have assured that measures are in place to curb the possibility of cricketers becoming so powerful in the future. Ignoring the Cricketers’ Association which is similar to a union that negotiated players' payments and creating a split national captaincy when it is obvious that Angelo Mathews is the best man for the job are two such obvious measures.

The two cricketers carried the game in Sri Lanka to a whole new level of professionalism, sometimes receiving heavy criticism as they went on to become two of the richest cricketers ever produced by the country.

How they lobbied and secured the opportunity for players to take part in cash-rich overseas domestic leagues sometimes leading to the cancellation of Sri Lanka team engagements, as was witnessed during Arjuna Ranatunga’s time as the head of SLC,  are well documented.

However, the controversies are always a clash of opinions with both sides believing they have sufficient facts to justify their side.

So, we do not wish to dabble much in those issues as something in which we all can agree is the greatness achieved by the two stars on the field and the honour and glory they have brought to Sri Lanka. They can never be debated, argued or disputed.

These two cricketers ended their chequered T20 International careers yesterday in that final, but would remain to fight another day in the other formats, something which would still comfort the worried Sri Lankan cricket fans.

We have no doubt that the two intelligent cricketers must have felt it is better to leave on a high when fans are questioning “why” rather than “when”.
Take a bow gentlemen for the joy you brought us and as Sammy pointed out, for the service you did, not only to Sri Lanka’s cricket but also to world cricket.
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  • NAK Tuesday, 08 April 2014 07:33 AM

    it is unfortunate that, Sammy belittled Sri Lanka's win over WI to gods will. We Sri Lankans don't believe in gods will but one own will and determination.
    The D/W Lewis gives no credits to gods will but the performances of each side at the time of disruption more over Sri Lanka was well ahead of WI and would have won easily even if continued to its natural end.


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