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Monday, July 11, 2011

Can India's cricketers turn into the game's big thinkers?

That Kumar Sangakkara is one of the more eloquent cricketers of this generation is no secret. His TV interviews only rarely contain well-worn cricketer clich├ęs such as "bowling in the right areas" or about "focusing on the process". Besides the cricketing gear his kit bag is often known to have books on subjects such as economics, politics and law. It wasn't a surprise, therefore, when the MCC invited him to deliver this year's Colin Cowdrey lecture at Lord's. And there is much to speak about international cricket today. The implications of commercial considerations dominating the game, the arrogance of Indian administrators, UDRS, match fixing and the falling standards of player behaviour... But Sangakkara chose not to take the easy option. In his speech titled "The Spirit of Sri Lanka's Cricket — A celebration of our uniqueness" he offered a brilliantly candid socio-political analysis of a strife-torn Sri Lanka in which cricket was a mere prop. Putting at risk his very longevity in the game, and even physical security when he goes back to Colombo, he didn't pull punches when describing the loathsome politics of the cricket board or the racial hatred-promoting activism of Janatha Vimukti Perumana, a left wing political outfit.

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