May 18, 2011

Sri Lanka cricket

The speech that set Sri Lanka free

Akhila Ranganna

The MCC has announced former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara as the speaker for its annual Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture. David Hopps in the Guardian observes that it must be a delight for Sangakkara to be awarded the chance to revisit the scene of Gamini Dissanayake's triumph on this 30th anniversary of one of the greatest Sri Lankan speeches - when he made a charismatic case for Sri Lanka cricket in June 1981, winning over the fustiest of cricket administrators with an eloquent plea for them to be granted Test status.

As Ireland, and other associate nations, prepare to press their case at the International Cricket Council's annual meeting in Hong Kong next month for the right for a qualifying tournament in the 2015 World Cup, they could do worse than challenge the closed, commercially obsessed minds of the ICC by reminding them that without Dissanayake's impassioned speech the likes of De Silva, Ranatunga, Murali, and those two fine upstanding captains of old, Jayawardene and Sangakkara, might never have had the opportunity to bring so much joy to the cricketing world.

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Akhila Ranganna is assistant editor (Audio) at ESPNcricinfo

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