Siddarth Ravindran on the Sri Lanka Tri-series 2010 August 11, 2010

Where the streets have Mendis' name

In Sri Lanka, like pretty much everywhere else in the subcontinent, cricketers are among the country’s biggest stars

Ajantha Mendis finds himself on every street sign in Matale
Ajantha Mendis finds himself on every street sign in Matale © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

In Sri Lanka, like pretty much everywhere else in the subcontinent, cricketers are among the country’s biggest stars. It is no surprise then, that they are much sought-after as brand ambassadors. Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene are ubiquitous in Colombo, beaming at the world from innumerable shop signs and hoardings as they peddle a soft drink. Much of the Sri Lankan team is featured in an advertisement for a leading telecom service provider at several prominent junctions of the city. Ajantha Mendis is usually spotted on large signboards in petrol bunks asking: “What fuels your pride?”

In the historic Hill Country town of Matale, though, the outdoor advertising doesn’t stop at billboards and shop signs. It extends to the street signs as well. Every street in town has a board with a picture of Mendis celebrating on the left portion, the street’s name in three languages on the top right with a motor insurance company’s ad below it. It’s perhaps the town with the most uniform and easy-to-read signs around. Over-commercialisation isn’t all bad, eh?

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • guyya on August 28, 2010, 5:56 GMT

    @Randika Kumar Sanga was born in MATALE!!

  • Randika on August 24, 2010, 15:04 GMT

    Omar: Well you do have a point :) Murali used to be the Janashakthi brand ambassador, but these days its too tough to keep tab on changing alliances by cricketers! Matale, although a major town in close proximity to Kandy haven't produced many cricketers of note yet. Its a nice, quaint town still retaining some old world charm

  • omar on August 12, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    Surprising that! Matale being close to Kandy I would have expected to see Murali's beaming face!!Also,street names are not billboards so may be the municipality is short of cash!!!

  • guyya on August 28, 2010, 5:56 GMT

    @Randika Kumar Sanga was born in MATALE!!

  • Randika on August 24, 2010, 15:04 GMT

    Omar: Well you do have a point :) Murali used to be the Janashakthi brand ambassador, but these days its too tough to keep tab on changing alliances by cricketers! Matale, although a major town in close proximity to Kandy haven't produced many cricketers of note yet. Its a nice, quaint town still retaining some old world charm

  • omar on August 12, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    Surprising that! Matale being close to Kandy I would have expected to see Murali's beaming face!!Also,street names are not billboards so may be the municipality is short of cash!!!

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  • omar on August 12, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    Surprising that! Matale being close to Kandy I would have expected to see Murali's beaming face!!Also,street names are not billboards so may be the municipality is short of cash!!!

  • Randika on August 24, 2010, 15:04 GMT

    Omar: Well you do have a point :) Murali used to be the Janashakthi brand ambassador, but these days its too tough to keep tab on changing alliances by cricketers! Matale, although a major town in close proximity to Kandy haven't produced many cricketers of note yet. Its a nice, quaint town still retaining some old world charm

  • guyya on August 28, 2010, 5:56 GMT

    @Randika Kumar Sanga was born in MATALE!!