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 © 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

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