July 5, 2011

Sangakkara's challenge to cricket

His speech at Lord's should serve as a wake-up call to administrators to use the game to serve people, and not for selfish gains
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Kumar Sangakkara has made the most important speech in cricket history. Brushing aside the twin temptations of romance and sentiment, the erudite Sri Lankan has dared to confront the truths about cricket in his country. Along the way he struck many meaty blows on the game's behalf. His discourse was nothing less than a challenge to cricket to set higher standards for itself, to reject jealousy, pettiness and greed, and to become part of the enlightenment.

Both cricket and Sri Lanka deserve better from the governors. Alas, the worst remain in office in so many places, with Ijaz Butt running amok in Pakistan; Givemore Makoni, with terrible inevitability, returning to official ranks in benighted and betrayed Zimbabwe; Gerald Majola still in charge in South Africa; and a mixture of government lackeys and bookmaking families running the show in Sri Lanka. Nor is there any reason to retain faith in Giles Clarke, England's puffed-up principal, or Australia's Jack Clarke, whose limitations have been exposed often enough.

Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's second-best cricketer, has never scored a hundred at Lord's, but his lecture can be put alongside the finest innings played on the ground. Actually it was not so much a speech as a plea for proper governance. Nor was it motivated by the darker forces observed in lesser men. Like the rest of us, Sangakkara is no saint, but his denunciation of the controlling forces at home spoke of frustration not ambition, affection not scorn, contribution not calculation. Its value lies in its very independence

That Sangakkara is a man of substance has long been known. Not long ago he visited a school in the north-east of the country, and spoke movingly about the need for all Lankans, Sinhalese and Tamils, to work together. It was a timely gesture because the government had recently banned the Tamil version of the national anthem. Likewise it prevented outside scrutiny of the allegations of executions, rapes and other abuses in the last months of the civil war. Channel 4's devastating exposé has put that back on the table. Sri Lanka is listed as one of the five most dangerous countries in which to work as a journalist.

As Sangakkara observes, Sri Lanka's cricket troubles began in the 1996, the year the World Cup was won. In the wrong hands success can be as damaging as failure. Hitherto the board had been run by benevolent and capable gentlemen from the old school. None had a finger in the pie, none needed the money, and all accepted stringent codes of conduct. In short, they were men of integrity. Over the years I have not spent much time siding with the "establishment" (itself a glib word) but these were men of honesty and honour, and I took their side in the subsequent struggles. The reason was simple: they were right. Accordingly I presented their case in a column in the Sunday Leader, a fearless newspaper whose fearless editor, also a friend, was assassinated.

Success attracted the charlatans as light attracts moths. A new guard realised there was money to be made in cricket. Thilanga Sumathipala appeared on the scene, looking not unlike Napoleon - an energetic man versed in the arts and crafts of manipulation, and with strong connections with the bookmaking fraternity (a custom that continues in the current administration). Inevitably the unscrupulous and opportunistic sided with him. He had the drive of new money, the ambition of the upstart. It was easy to see the attraction. He was ruthless too, and swiftly manoeuvred himself into power by persuading the majority of the 72 voting clubs to support him. That many of these clubs existed only in name did not deter him or his impatient backers.

Sangakkara has once again served Sri Lankan cricket with distinction. Only those with empires to protect will resent his words. Only those blighted with the curse of nationalism will deny him his voice. He spoke as a patriot, a higher calling altogether

Ever since, Sri Lankan cricket has been in turmoil. Indeed, it's been a shambles. In the last few months alone the board has been burdened with huge legal bills, allegations about malpractice in World Cup ticket allocations, allegations about cronyism in appointments, threats of bankruptcy as World Cup costs spiralled out of control, and posturing from a sports minister apparently intent on provoking the Indians and thereby supposedly scoring points with the masses. That the minister concerned was promptly removed from office was little consolation. His outburst lacked gravitas. Unsurprisingly the Indians, the IPL franchises and senior players ignored him.

If the ICC is serious about tackling corruption and stopping political interference in cricketing matters, it could start by sending a working party to Sri Lanka with the task of setting up sustainable democratic institutions.

Sanath Jayasuriya's selection for the limited-overs matches in England confirmed that politicians are involved in team operations. It had been a move long resisted by the team elders on the grounds that he was past his prime.

Sri Lanka took a bright young team to Australia in October 2010, and beat the hosts 2-1 in the ODIs. On the surface all seemed well. Behind the scenes, though, the team management was worried. Jayasuriya had long since been a liability and they feared he might be imposed upon them, thereby compromising the team and affecting its morale. It did not happen, because the incumbents kept winning and the think tank stood its ground.

But the Jayasuriya issue did not go way. He is a Member of Parliament, representing the governing party, a ruthless outfit intent on controlling all the levers of power, and to that end prepared to lock up the leader of the opposition, a popular soldier responsible for the final crushing of the LTTE. Arjuna Ranatunga, an opposition MP, took part in a protest about his leader's imprisonment, whereupon an arrest warrant was issued. Such are the joys of life in Sri Lanka.

By bringing its strengths and weaknesses to the attention of the wider public, Sangakkara has once again served Sri Lankan cricket with distinction. Only those with empires to protect will resent his words. Only those blighted with the curse of nationalism will deny him his voice. He spoke as a patriot, a higher calling altogether. Significantly he raised his concerns on behalf of his people, pointing out that "the administration needs to adopt the values enshrined by the team over the years: integrity, transparency, commitment and discipline. Unless it is capable of becoming more professional, progressive and transparent then we risk alienating the common man."

Happily, Sangakkara also spoke about cricket's ability to promote enlightenment, an opportunity so often wasted. Indeed, his criticisms were directed towards that end. After all he has seen civil war, strife, greed and selfishness, and wants no more of them. He pointed out that "cricket played a crucial role during the dark days of civil war… but the conduct and performance of the team will have even greater importance as we enter a period of reconciliation and recovery… Cricket can and should remain a guiding force for good within society, providing entertainment and fun, but also an example of how we should approach our lives."

That is the crux of the matter. When cricket falls into the hands of the narrow-minded it withers. To prevent that it's essential that men like Sangakkara speak out, and that governing bodies accept their responsibilities. So much has been accomplished. The Berlin Wall has fallen, apartheid is gone, the Arab uprising is underway, a Muslim has played for Australia, and a Tamil has taken 800 Test wickets for his beloved country. Just that there is a lot more to do. Cricket is connected with the world and ought not to pretend otherwise.

Peter Roebuck is a former captain of Somerset and the author, most recently, of In It to Win It

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AdityaMookerjee on July 8, 2011, 22:39 GMT

    I must convey to Mr Roebuck, that if something like the Berlin Wall had existed in Sri Lanka, then the love for the game of cricket in that nation would have brought in down. All that needs to happen, is for Sri Lanka to loose some series in a bad way. The organisers of Sri Lankan Cricket will come to their senses. India, since the 1980's, when Imran Khan's Pakistan Team defeated the Indian Team badly, has worked hard to see the present context unfold. From the 80's through the 90's the BCCI has done it's level best, to enthuse the Indian cricket fan. India and Pakistan might have been one nation today, but the two nations need to rival each other on the cricket field, and also in other international fora. This seems to be the greater need of the two nations. Unfortunately, cricket could not bring down the Berlin Wall's hypothetical equivalent in India and Pakistan.

  • Tharukz16 on July 8, 2011, 0:57 GMT

    Totally agree with CricketFan2011WC!

  • Kandyman on July 7, 2011, 23:10 GMT

    Al Millington - I believe Mr Roebuck is referring to one Muralidharan? The greatest cricketer Sri Lanka has produced?

  • on July 7, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    For those who wish to speak the truth, the only response would be punishment by using the power these cronies enjoy.The people who have ruined all forms of sport in Sri Lanka, will continue to do so.In this context Sanga will not become a hero but a victim. It is high time that the freedom of speech is regarded as a right of the people but not as violation of contractual obligations on the part of Sanga. The truth cannot be hushed under the carpet to prevent the nudity of those who have committed frauds and responsible for mis-management of affairs within the cricket board.

    The idiosyncrasy clearly displayed by the country's so called sports minister by the stance taken by him on this occassion must be rejected by examining his decisions in the recent past involving the players who refused to make themselves available for the tour of England & leave their IPL contracts.He clearly displayed that he was not capable of making such decisions or did not have the power.

  • on July 7, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    2nd best cricketer? Whos better?

  • on July 7, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    sangakkara has been a great servant for his nation.his words cannot be ignored.the situation all over the world especially India,Sri Lanka,Pakistan doesn't appear to be fine.the transperancy has not been maintained and cricket boards have not been subjected to the best of treatmentsaround the world.

  • Dhoni_fan_from_a_dada_era on July 7, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    Kumar is a hero. It takes guts to speak like that. And his speach was much more beyond cricket. It gave me goosebumps to read it. He's a role model.

  • Roshini on July 7, 2011, 1:22 GMT

    In a country among 21M plus population n widely known as a land for rare gem stones, we Sri Lankans are indeed fortunate beyond words to have unearthed a very very rare human gem in the shape of Kumar Sangakkara. My first moral obligation is to stand up n salute his parents for giving this wonderful rare gem to be in the midst n enjoyed by all Sri Lanka. Secondly his school Trinity college Kandy for bringing out the best in this great soul. In cricket our passion has no boundaries n this most remarkable gutsy speech should be viewed in the best interest of the nation. I have listened to Kumar's speech over n over again n never gets tired in the hope that our much cherished n loved game would some day be saved for all generations n should not be allowed to wither n die at the hands of few power hungry self centered individuals. Let us all celebrate this unique personality called Kumar Sangakkara for so fearlessly bringing the SLC misdemeanors in to the open. To be continued,Roshini Vaas

  • lanka_86 on July 7, 2011, 0:38 GMT

    @fazlanka - Yes CricketFan2011WC is serious. That's the overwhelming feeling in Sri Lanka.

  • Sanath-aiyya on July 6, 2011, 19:43 GMT

    @ Cricketfan2011WC

    Mahinda Rajapakse is a great person? Are u serious? I vehemently condemn the actions on the LTTe and a few haters who bring down the country and its wonderful people. But honestly brother, mahinda is some way from being a great person

  • AdityaMookerjee on July 8, 2011, 22:39 GMT

    I must convey to Mr Roebuck, that if something like the Berlin Wall had existed in Sri Lanka, then the love for the game of cricket in that nation would have brought in down. All that needs to happen, is for Sri Lanka to loose some series in a bad way. The organisers of Sri Lankan Cricket will come to their senses. India, since the 1980's, when Imran Khan's Pakistan Team defeated the Indian Team badly, has worked hard to see the present context unfold. From the 80's through the 90's the BCCI has done it's level best, to enthuse the Indian cricket fan. India and Pakistan might have been one nation today, but the two nations need to rival each other on the cricket field, and also in other international fora. This seems to be the greater need of the two nations. Unfortunately, cricket could not bring down the Berlin Wall's hypothetical equivalent in India and Pakistan.

  • Tharukz16 on July 8, 2011, 0:57 GMT

    Totally agree with CricketFan2011WC!

  • Kandyman on July 7, 2011, 23:10 GMT

    Al Millington - I believe Mr Roebuck is referring to one Muralidharan? The greatest cricketer Sri Lanka has produced?

  • on July 7, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    For those who wish to speak the truth, the only response would be punishment by using the power these cronies enjoy.The people who have ruined all forms of sport in Sri Lanka, will continue to do so.In this context Sanga will not become a hero but a victim. It is high time that the freedom of speech is regarded as a right of the people but not as violation of contractual obligations on the part of Sanga. The truth cannot be hushed under the carpet to prevent the nudity of those who have committed frauds and responsible for mis-management of affairs within the cricket board.

    The idiosyncrasy clearly displayed by the country's so called sports minister by the stance taken by him on this occassion must be rejected by examining his decisions in the recent past involving the players who refused to make themselves available for the tour of England & leave their IPL contracts.He clearly displayed that he was not capable of making such decisions or did not have the power.

  • on July 7, 2011, 14:57 GMT

    2nd best cricketer? Whos better?

  • on July 7, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    sangakkara has been a great servant for his nation.his words cannot be ignored.the situation all over the world especially India,Sri Lanka,Pakistan doesn't appear to be fine.the transperancy has not been maintained and cricket boards have not been subjected to the best of treatmentsaround the world.

  • Dhoni_fan_from_a_dada_era on July 7, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    Kumar is a hero. It takes guts to speak like that. And his speach was much more beyond cricket. It gave me goosebumps to read it. He's a role model.

  • Roshini on July 7, 2011, 1:22 GMT

    In a country among 21M plus population n widely known as a land for rare gem stones, we Sri Lankans are indeed fortunate beyond words to have unearthed a very very rare human gem in the shape of Kumar Sangakkara. My first moral obligation is to stand up n salute his parents for giving this wonderful rare gem to be in the midst n enjoyed by all Sri Lanka. Secondly his school Trinity college Kandy for bringing out the best in this great soul. In cricket our passion has no boundaries n this most remarkable gutsy speech should be viewed in the best interest of the nation. I have listened to Kumar's speech over n over again n never gets tired in the hope that our much cherished n loved game would some day be saved for all generations n should not be allowed to wither n die at the hands of few power hungry self centered individuals. Let us all celebrate this unique personality called Kumar Sangakkara for so fearlessly bringing the SLC misdemeanors in to the open. To be continued,Roshini Vaas

  • lanka_86 on July 7, 2011, 0:38 GMT

    @fazlanka - Yes CricketFan2011WC is serious. That's the overwhelming feeling in Sri Lanka.

  • Sanath-aiyya on July 6, 2011, 19:43 GMT

    @ Cricketfan2011WC

    Mahinda Rajapakse is a great person? Are u serious? I vehemently condemn the actions on the LTTe and a few haters who bring down the country and its wonderful people. But honestly brother, mahinda is some way from being a great person

  • CricketFan2011WC on July 6, 2011, 19:05 GMT

    In my view, this article by Peter Roebuck does not reflect what Sanga had lectured. Peter Roebuck seems to put some blame on the current government and even Sri Lanka's president who is not even directly involved in the work of SLC, which Sanga had never lectured in his talk. His talk was basically pinpointing the problems that the SLC-board has to overcome. Sri Lankan president has much more work to do. In my opinion, although there are bad politicians in our country as well as in others, hon. Rajapakse is a great person and problems by sports minister (which I do not agree with his some decisions) should not be placed on him. I enjoyed the lecture but this article, I did not. I was wondering whether Peter Roebuck had been even listening closely enough to the lecture. In my opinion, Peter Roebuck, you should revisit Sanga's talk. Do not make your opinions or imaginations that you gain by mere listening of lectures. Hope this get posted here. P.S, I agree with you Raymond Hounslow.

  • on July 6, 2011, 19:03 GMT

    @fazlanka: Seriously dude... SriLanka cricketers' claim to fame is eloquence and command over the english language? Why get Indian players and commentators involved in something that is to with your own country, smacks of nothing else but pure inferiority complex and jealousy. SL team is my second fav after the Indian team and I am a huge admirer of Sanga, the cricketer and the gentleman. Alas, the same cannot be said about some SL fans who open their mouth only to vent frustration and advertising their lack of cricketing logic.

  • on July 6, 2011, 18:34 GMT

    Being an Indian .... This fills me with sadness.

    I wish people of stature of Sachin Tendulkar had the guts to come and tell openly what's wrong with the game(in India and beyond) and how to find a solution to it. Obviously he is aware of things that happen in Indian cricket from selection issues,quota system, petty politics in administration, financial mismanagement if any etc. The game should be the priority for players instead of narrow minded political interests.

    Hats off to Sangakarra .... That's a true patriot and a lover of the game.

  • on July 6, 2011, 18:28 GMT

    By any means Sanga is an amazing personality. Players need to learn from him and try to demolish the dirt which they see before them. Often players from other countries see bad things happening around them and try to ignore it..... Hats off the Srilankan Legend..... Simon Katich should be the next to give the best speech at MCC :)

  • on July 6, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    If the SL government or cricket administration decide to persecute Kumar, I'm sure he'd find no problem with finding a place in an English county team and eventually qualifying by residence for the England team!

  • on July 6, 2011, 17:35 GMT

    Leaving aside the comments from various prejudiced and malicious quarters, I have to comm say how much I enjoyed listening to Kumar's eloquent and enlightening speech. As an Englishman I'm not qualified to comment on the truth of his account of SL cricket administration - but it seemed to ring true. I think when he retires he should become a historian or novelist of his country - he has a wonderful eye for the telling detail.

  • Ashique129 on July 6, 2011, 17:18 GMT

    Maybe my comment will be lost - but I'm still gonna leave it. As the SL sports minister probes the matter and possibly ban/punish/severely reprimand Sanga, my question is, why is it that a contract does not allow a player to open his mouth about things he sees and experiences that could be improved for the better? Just like the board and ministry, players have responsibility and accountability. Players are the ones who we see play and see things from the closest possible place. However, tie them into a 'contract' and they are muted completely. Something is not right about this 'contract' thing. There must be a way - a whistle-blowing mechanism for players to raise their concern. This 'way' should also have a 'safety passage' for the whistle-blower so that the messenger is not crucified. Sounds complicated? It really isn't. Most successful organizations with strong ethics set-up have it. It isn't new either. We see diseases mesmerizing every board and none is willing to mend this.

  • daretobwise on July 6, 2011, 17:09 GMT

    sanga was wrong he should hv shut up he must learn from pakistani players how they keep quiet and nvr open their mind in public about administrators

  • Sanath-aiyya on July 6, 2011, 17:06 GMT

    **@ Sewagologist**

    Truth is Sachin was never invited. The audience will not able to grasp what he says through his accent lol. Sunil Gavaskar is just a creation of the Indian Media. A most selfish and boring player of his generation. Sach,dravid and Azhar are the best indian players by far

  • DPMChan on July 6, 2011, 17:00 GMT

    Great Sanga, what a proud parents who gifts you to the nation..

  • priyalal on July 6, 2011, 16:44 GMT

    Mr. Roebuck, do not try to open the wounds and destabilize SL by referring to unverified, doctored broadcast by channel-4.

  • Roshanaara on July 6, 2011, 16:43 GMT

    This article has two serious factual errors. One is about the Tamil version of National Anthem being banned in Sri Lanka. It was never banned. Some petty minded elements tried but it never happened. Such false information creates bad impression about a country. And there was no need to bring in Channel 4 video at all here. It has been proved by video experts as fake, doctored and fabricated Quoting such wrong and controversial information to interpret Mr Sangkkara, defeats the whole purpose of the great speech the man has delivered. I hope the author will make sure to get his facts right next time.

  • priyalal on July 6, 2011, 16:41 GMT

    When the truth revelas it hurts the people responsible. Umpire.

  • Roshanaara on July 6, 2011, 16:28 GMT

    @Ravindhran Gangatharan, there are many such Singhalese like Sangakkara. Sangakkara's speech has received overwhelming support by all Sri Lankans mostly by the majority Singhalese. That itself prooves the stand of ordinary people in Sri Lanka. Only a few petty minded hate filled communal minded people try to create problems and to devide and rule. These people come from all ethnic groups including Tamil. Every person from all ethnic groups has to learn lessons from people like Sangakkara and Muralitharan, who are real Sri Lankans, truly patriotice, grateful to their country and who always put their country before everything. And that's why they are respected by all.

  • shathveegan on July 6, 2011, 16:19 GMT

    as it is alwys sangakkara is a brave and wise cricketer tht we all knew and here straight foward speeches lyk this prooves tht he is also a strong man wth a straight spinr thts a significant figure for a gentlemen cricketer and i hope these changes which he spotted out will soon b in right path and more than evrything me as a tamil hope tht we get a independent cricket board where tamils get equal rights as a democratic country i luv u snaga hats off for u man Riyaz,Suren and Pravstr if he is dared to tell whole critisism and which is over coverd stories r given wth clues bt if he tell da whole thing da next day he shud go home packing his cricketing eequipments dude we cnt all of a suddne go against lyk tht um sure he will giv out da rest of da truth soon

  • Upali.J on July 6, 2011, 15:56 GMT

    Thank you for your courageous assessment of Sangakkara's speech, Peter. I feel you've done a great service to many Sri Lankans who share your sentiments about what's happening in Sri Lanka. You truly live up to the old dictum 'The pen is mightier than the sword'. Keep up the good work! God bless.

  • on July 6, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    The SL Board is just appalled by the fact that someone has brought out something which they thought they were subtle about. Sanga, is a true sportsperson, and he has every right to point out the flaws which could probably ruin their country's cricket, this is a way to improve it and show other boards as well that, corruption behind the backs of others is a cheap act played through sports. Well done Sanga, you did what your heart told you to do.

  • madscientist001 on July 6, 2011, 13:52 GMT

    Well done Sangakkarra. Administration in cricket is the biggest problem in the sport. The West Indies is a good example where insularity rules. Players are being "forced out" by board members so that they can promote their own, they want puppets not people who can think and stand up to them, they are the BORG Collective! As was stated one person manipulated 72 clubs to vote for him, there-in lies the problem in WI cricket, the regional boards are at fault for re-electing officers that should not have been elected in the first place, granted the election came like a thief in the night. Cricket is losing out to other sports at the base levels in many countries in the Caribbean (I cannot say what is going on elsewhere in the world) and the bottom line is very poor administration, square oversized-head pegs in hole they don't even know the shape of.

  • on July 6, 2011, 12:56 GMT

    @forcricket:BCCI is doing all it can to make this game of our past masters a global game..and BCCI gave money to sri lankan board..they were the one who supported minnows to be there at 2015 world cup..and even john wright had confirmed that BCCI are tough task master..and as for money, any development is not complete without facilities..and BCCI,as a part of a corporation running the show definitely needs returns also..it is business at the end of the day and nothing wrong in this

  • on July 6, 2011, 11:58 GMT

    Kumar certainly a wide range of topics, but he knew that his comments on the Sri Lankan board would be picked up, and I realised their impact as he was saying them. It makes him all the more brave and principled for doing so.

  • CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on July 6, 2011, 11:57 GMT

    @fazlanka Dude it wasn't an impromptu speech an oration of already written text,dont u dare try to demean others sunny has already given speech in '03 u never know how back sachin might have been invited and he might well have declined it as he aint a big time speaker but performer and if giving speeches made a great captain then winston churchill would have been a legend captain had he played cricket and u know who best captain inworld today is harsha bhogle is iim-a post graduate which is top 5 in world

  • on July 6, 2011, 11:37 GMT

    Hats off Sanga...well said...this is not just a wake up call for SLBC but also for all the cricket boards and ICC as well. Love ya work

  • on July 6, 2011, 11:35 GMT

    i love u Sangakara. very very Talented and Stylish player.

  • taniap on July 6, 2011, 11:16 GMT

    @Riyas Izzedeen : My thoughts exactly!

  • on July 6, 2011, 10:44 GMT

    In case Sanga is down - India would accept the greatest Keeper Batsman in this age.

  • dwayno99 on July 6, 2011, 10:37 GMT

    Absolutely disgusted a probe has been issued into this speech. For what?? Speaking the truth?! Here's wishing Sanga all the best.

  • Black_Rider on July 6, 2011, 10:12 GMT

    When Sanga was appointed to give the speech lots of fans said that it shoud be given to Dhoni or Sachin.They are great players.I admit it.But now look at Sanga.He gave the greatest speech of the cricketing history.A GREAT SPEECH BY A GREAT CRICKETER.....No ....I think I am wrong.This shoud be corrected. A GREAT SPEECH BY A GREAT SRI LANKAN.......THANKS SANGA.......

  • pravstr on July 6, 2011, 10:07 GMT

    And I agree with Suren and Riyaz's comment Sangakkara's speech did cover so many things as to what many critics and journalists point out!

  • Black_Rider on July 6, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    @Riyas Izzedeen::I agree with you mate.What a speech by Sanga.Tears came to my eyes while listening to it.Being a Sri lankan I am so proud of him.I am so proud of my country.

  • on July 6, 2011, 9:16 GMT

    Having read the whole speech i am dusgusted that even cricket writers have opted for the big headline than being honest. As suual their own 'Spin' has been put on the story. I wish journalists would realise we are intelligent enough to understand as long as they present the FACTS, IMPARTIALLY and COMEPLETEY. there is a lessong for you in that speech as well Mr Roebuck. to everyone here please read/listen the full speech before you pass any comments or judgement it was much more than a whine at the currupt adminstration, it was a history lesson in Sri Lankan cricket and a dream of what cricket has already done and could do outside the confines of the pitch.

  • on July 6, 2011, 9:11 GMT

    we will be watching with interest the out come of sangakkarra speech .Peter"s comments are true to his words .lets hope sanga dosn't end up behind bars for his truthfulness of the situation Sri Lanka cricket are in .we wish you the best Kumar hang in there mate

  • amit_mangal30 on July 6, 2011, 8:37 GMT

    Sangakarra has stood up for a bigger cause and demands respect. But I am afraid he too may be thwarted like Flower and Olonga by his country politicians. And the common man, well he'll just stand by and watch as his hero is taken down in front of his eyes, as he think 'What can I do'. Well, who can then ?

  • on July 6, 2011, 8:36 GMT

    Again a very well written article, but i would like know on what basis are you commenting on the Channel 4 video?

  • mageleven on July 6, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    One should also not forget that Sanga was also the team leader in that infamous tour to pakistan when the team bus was attacked.. Courageous!

  • Garretjacks on July 6, 2011, 7:49 GMT

    sanga i hope you dont retire and I also hope they dont push you off because of the truth you spoke of, if they do the whole of sri lanka will be behind to support you..

  • Udendra on July 6, 2011, 6:10 GMT

    I think he would have made this comment, being ready to retire.

  • on July 6, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    Kumar Sangakkara is an excellent cricketer and a great leader with passion and vision for Sri Lankan cricket. I am proud of Sangakkara's on and off field achievements and contributions.

  • avis_2010 on July 6, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    Am just little amused at the timing of speech and everybody's reaction around it... Cards well played....

  • v4zz on July 6, 2011, 4:46 GMT

    why is that a channel4 video take into this when the videos's authenticity is doubted. the other is that tamil version of national anthem is not banned although a talk was there.ut anyway i enjoyed readig the article.

  • on July 6, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    The Backbone of Sri Lankan Cricket - A.K.A(Kumar Sangakkara)

  • on July 6, 2011, 4:15 GMT

    its really amazing article, well written,i doubt why other boards were not ponited out properly. but Sanga's is really a man of character...my respect towards him has gone much higher. "Sangakkara is no saint, but his denunciation of the controlling forces at home spoke of frustration not ambition, affection not scorn, contribution not calculation. Its value lies in its very independence"....this sentence really speaks what Sanga is....

  • courierpost on July 6, 2011, 4:01 GMT

    Good on you Pete now that's knowledge

  • on July 6, 2011, 3:58 GMT

    Men of honor! The life of all cricket boards exposed in a very interesting way. Hope he doesnt get in the firing line of his board. God be with him.

  • JohnSM on July 6, 2011, 3:53 GMT

    Truly, you are the best sports writer in cricket history :) Sangakkara has once again proved his worth in gold. The man has his heart in the right place. If only cricket was governed by such people!

  • on July 6, 2011, 3:29 GMT

    you are just great sanga

  • on July 6, 2011, 3:04 GMT

    Peter R shows good knowledge of Sri Lankan situation.Our respect for Sanga as a human greatly enhanced with this speech. Sanga and Mahela should give leadership to a movement to clean up cricket in Sri Lanka.

  • HLDASA on July 6, 2011, 0:55 GMT

    I salute u Sanga...U r simply the best...

  • on July 6, 2011, 0:27 GMT

    What Kumar Sangakarra said, and said well, applies to many countries, not just Sri Lanka.

  • on July 5, 2011, 22:23 GMT

    The speech made me proud to be a Sri Lankan, this man is pure class-something that money and politics cannot even dream of!

  • Deepfreezed on July 5, 2011, 22:05 GMT

    Sanga will be gone from the team as soon as he hits small patch of bad form. This is Lanka, you cannot change it overnight. It will change on it's own.

  • on July 5, 2011, 21:47 GMT

    Amazing an article criticizing cricket boards and heads with no mention of BCCI

  • correctcall on July 5, 2011, 21:44 GMT

    Intrigued as to why Pawar and Srinivasan are not included in your rogue's gallery Peter ? What do you think Sangar's view would be?

  • Sanath-aiyya on July 5, 2011, 21:25 GMT

    kumar u have yet again showed ur class,dignitiy and ultimate patriotism by ackowledging the disease that lies within SLC> I am happy and proud to be your fan, Your eloquence and command of the english language is also a delight to treasure. something beyond most indian commentator,players and cricketers

  • Alexk400 on July 5, 2011, 20:09 GMT

    He has all the skill to be Future presdient of Sri Lanka. Sanga is more determined than jayawardene (more polished)

  • on July 5, 2011, 19:38 GMT

    Sangakkara, you are a gentleman playing gentlemen's game. Every cricket fan is so proud of you. Keep the good work going.

  • forcricket on July 5, 2011, 19:35 GMT

    No one bashing bcci here yer. Is something wrong? Feels so much unlike cricinfo.

  • Savvy_1 on July 5, 2011, 19:34 GMT

    A great article in response to Sanga's speech. As much as I love the Sri Lankan team I cannot help feel it is being used as a weapon of propaganda. Clearly the sad state of the cricket in Sri Lanka comes from the very top of the country. Politics and cricket seem to have a dependency, however, this needs to change or we will lose our great players well before their sell by date.

  • on July 5, 2011, 19:28 GMT

    very well said Sanga.. U r a hero not only for cricket for whole country..

  • on July 5, 2011, 19:16 GMT

    Sangakkara,you are truly a legend,one of all time greatest cricketers,high calibre high quality batsman..You have been impressed by many commentators and fans around the world..

  • on July 5, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    Wrf to the 3 ODI , it was a nice gesture of Kumar drop down to # 4 and allow Chandimal to come ahead of him in the ODI.I recall Kumar saying before the world cup it would be unfair to ask Chandimal to bat lower down the order and true to his word , Chandimal is batting at # 3.

  • on July 5, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    You are right, Kumar has just made the most important speech in cricket history and you Mr.Peter Roebuck have written the most important article on Sri Lankan cricket. I wish to thank you Peter on behalf of all my fellow Lankans for your contribution. Kudos to Kumar Sangakkara, It was brave and gutsy to call out the establishment. We should be proud that a small third world country like ours can produce world beaters who are not afraid to call a spade a spade. (I wish an Indian and Pakistani cricketer will also step up and speak the truth about their respective cricket boards like Kumar) Hopefully the carpetbaggers will realise that they are a menace to cricket and leave the administration to honourable men. The civil society in the country MUST show their spine and ensure that there is a mass exodus of these shysters and corporate lackeys from the board.

  • r1m2 on July 5, 2011, 18:50 GMT

    Good article by Mr. Roebuck. I was disgusted by Jayasuriya's selection in the team. But I really wonder (I didn't watch but read on Cricinfo), why there were standing ovation to Jayasuriya's final inning? He should've been booed off the field. He deserves nothing more. He wasted all the good things he's done in his mid career. A total failure early on, and a total failure in the end. If end justifies the means and all's well if it ends well, then Jayasuriya will be black spot in the history of not just Sri Lankan cricket but cricket all together.

  • on July 5, 2011, 18:28 GMT

    Is there anyone out there who can do the same for West Indies cricket which is much more of a disaster than Shri Lanka's cricket?

  • on July 5, 2011, 18:24 GMT

    Kudos to Sanga for the classiest speech heard in the recent times. As Roebuck says, it springs from the spirit of enlightenment than from the pettiness of confronting the cricket administrations around the world. A true champion and the kind of gentlemen that cricket as a sport will benefit, not to mention the millions of SriLankan Tamils around the world who can take heart from one such Singhalese.

  • the_blue_android on July 5, 2011, 17:56 GMT

    It's all because of BCCI not accepting DRS! All BCCI's fault!

  • on July 5, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    Bravo Kumar, and bravo Peter actually.

  • rajpan on July 5, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    So far, on the looks of it, it sounds outstandingly courageous-almost revolutionary! Hope it is doesn't turn out to be the part of same politics that Sanga has so passionately denounced. It will be even more heartbreaking if it turns out to be so.

  • on July 5, 2011, 16:50 GMT

    Wow nice article Peter. Sangakkara has always been a thinker and erudite man, I admire his guts. The selection of Jayasuriya for whatever be the reason was slap in the face of cricket loving public....I am sure that must have concerned the other players in the team. Jayasuriya himself by taking part in the charade has brought down his immense record and standing among fans. He had an immense record and his attempt to impose himself on the team was rub on the face where in sports only your form matters....it was a shameful exit.

    Hats of to Sangakara.....

  • on July 5, 2011, 16:49 GMT

    super Article!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • on July 5, 2011, 16:41 GMT

    This speech reveals how badly Sachin and Co. exploiting the hard earned money from poor men,,

  • on July 5, 2011, 16:17 GMT

    Mr.Peter i enjoyed reading this article. Every board should look itself scrutnize and path itself towards betterment of the game. Cricket being played hardly by 12 nations now all the boards should look at spreading the game and not killing the golden goose. People get corrupt when they see money and that greed is killing the game. This happens not only in cricket but in every game.

  • on July 5, 2011, 16:04 GMT

    I take upon this challenge! Step one: Stop feeling helpless and apathetic in the face of seemingly insurmountable, infuriating circumstances and realities...

  • InsideHedge on July 5, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    Great article, Peter, a treat to read.

  • on July 5, 2011, 15:25 GMT

    Sangakkara you legend. Let us hope these idiots who run cricket in Sri Lanka get a brain and realise that it is not all about money. It comes and goes, but the pride of being an honest cricket playing nation never goes away.

  • on July 5, 2011, 15:24 GMT

    I do agree with Sanga on what he said regarding cricket and its administration in Sri Lanka, I feel that peter here has taken some things out of context and instead of writing abt the cricketing part of it has gone out of the way to bring in politcs n to this article. As you rightly said this is a wake up call to all cricketing countries and I totally agree on that. The Soldier in question is not as popular as you say in the country and you somehow fail to mention the reason for his imprisonment. And Arjuna Ranatunga although immensly respected & loved as a cricketer is not the most popular or successful as a politician. And the writer for some reason was so politically motivated even to bring in the channel 4 incident in to this article. This is exactly what I believe is what ppl like Sanga is trying to stop by trying to take politics off from cricket.

  • Praxis on July 5, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    Wonderfully written article again Mr. Roebuck. The last article about test cricket was one of the best I've ever read on this site. Sangakara is a true sportsman and a gentleman. After listening his whole speech this particular line impressed most, "...it is not the administrators or players that sustain the game - it is the cricket-loving public." -something all the cricket administrators & officials seem to have forgotten recently.

  • on July 5, 2011, 15:15 GMT

    Mr Peter Roebuck i admit that you have put an effort to scribble a article from Sanga's speech.But i doubt your knowledge on the internal issues which you have mentioned above.So the article will be better without the comments made on Sanath's selection and locking up a soldier. Because we Sri Lankans have a complete view on both the issues.

  • Jayco on July 5, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    One day when Sanga chooses to retire from playing, I hope he is fast-tracked into a leadership role in the ICC. I think it's already plainly obvious who the person most capable of leading our game in the future is.

  • sanath007 on July 5, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    Great article except the channel 4 expose, which is doctored. I'm afraid that Sanga will be taken to task by the same corrupt officials and government he talked about. We are with Sanga no matter what

  • kingcobra85 on July 5, 2011, 14:52 GMT

    wow! Kumar you are a role model for not just srilankan fans for every sport fan around the world & Peter your words brings a new meaning to the term "The pen is mightier than the sword" awesome piece ...one of the finest sports-political article read this year..

  • first_slip on July 5, 2011, 14:44 GMT

    Quote: "Likewise it prevented outside scrutiny of the allegations of executions, rapes and other abuses in the last months of the civil war." this is utter rubbish, and not true...disgraceful and sangakkara never mentioned it,if you ask him he will tell you what is correct and what isn't Mr.ROEBUCK...Y you bring thin faulty and unproven quotes and details here?

  • on July 5, 2011, 14:41 GMT

    Yes, Sangakkara made an impassioned speech. The feelings seemed to come from the heart as was evident when he had to pause to reign in his emotions now and then when he was on an important point. Peter Roebuck has made an edifying, subtle but significant distinction between nationalism and patriotism. Every new entrant to international cricket in Sri Lanka (nay, teh world over) must be made to read and digest this inspirational speech. It may not wipe away all match/spot fixing or other eveils but fewer youngsters will be tempted to sell thier country for a few pieces of silver. Business schools can include this in their classes on ethics in business.

    Take a bow, Sangakkara! You spoke like a true leader of men and cricket's long lost gentlemen.

  • on July 5, 2011, 14:29 GMT

    Well said, Peter. And my congratulations to Kumar Sangakkara, as well. He is a fine player, he was an excellent captain and he continues to be a great servant of not just Sri Lankan cricket but of world cricket, as well. It was an excellent and timely speech delivered with eloquence and passion. Peter, you did not mention the problems in West Indies cricket, many of which are long-standing, with the current Gayle imbroglio being only the latest. Much has been said on all sides concerned about the issue but until ALL parties realise that the importance of the game in the West Indies, and to West Indians, of which I am one, is far more important than any one individual or grouping - including the WICB - we will continue to have problems. In that regard I support the call from President Jagdeo of Guyana for strong, well thought and above all, FAIR and JUST, steps to be taken by CARICOM to bring about a reckoning and right the listing ship that is our cricket as it is at the moment.

  • Psychopathetikka on July 5, 2011, 14:27 GMT

    I am glad that Kumar took a stand against the wrongful handling of Sri Lankan cricket by its administrators and the undue influence of politics in it. But equally I am worried that anti-Sri Lankan elements may use this speech wrongfully to promote their own nefarious agendas. I say this to all who read this article: Kumar Sangakkara made this speech as a proud Sri Lankan for Sri Lanka and not against it.

  • Sinhabahu on July 5, 2011, 14:24 GMT

    Another great article, Peter, but if I may clarify two of your points here. Firstly, the govt never actually banned the Tamil version of the national anthem. One or two of our more moronic cabinet ministers mooted the idea but it was quickly rejected as madness. Secondly, the imprisoned ex-General was not the leader of the opposition but the 'common candidate' put forward for the presidential election by the now-defunct opposition alliance.

  • Viz-from-OZ on July 5, 2011, 14:21 GMT

    Looks like Sanga's well on the way to a certain type of politics himself, it'll be a shame to lose him on the field. Assuming the new ICC rules kick in..in the next couple of years, let's hope there's a disconnect from the government and people like Sanga running the administration. The only reservation I have with him is the thinly veiled arrogance which was on display when he didn't get what he wanted in terms of team selection. This was quite apparent with the other aggressive captain that we had in Arajuna. While Arajuna was openly hostile Sanga made sure that some of these guys didn't perform, and systematically dropped them. Both of these players have been immensely successful which has been good for Sri Lanka. On a different note Mahela was the best out of the lot I feel, he brought the old & the new world together, adopted new technology very quickly to the team advantage and managed political influences without letting it affect the play on the field.

  • on July 5, 2011, 14:21 GMT

    WOW! What a great blog by Peter Roebuck!

  • ReeRo on July 5, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    Sangakara has certainly taken on the SL board with gusto and passion. It takes courage to speak up against those in power and those who like to profit by less than honest means. It wouldhave been a whole lot easier to speak of corruption and misbehaviours after retiring from cricket. Instead, Sangakara has once against exhibited how articulate he is, and more importantly he has shown a great sense of timing. I hope his revelation would empower more cricketers and public at large to insist on integrity and honesty from the cricketers, boards, ICC's and the rest. I hope all cricketing boards will hold the interest of the game above and beyond all pettiness, jealousy and regional partisian interest. I hope the ICC would grow a backbone and become the true care takers of the game. Sangakara's revelation should serve SL well and hope it becomes a beacon of hope for all who love cricket lovers like me. Let's clean it up. Let's insist on pure intentions and actions. Well done Sanga

  • vinny9971 on July 5, 2011, 14:10 GMT

    Beautiful...................................

  • InnocentGuy on July 5, 2011, 14:05 GMT

    Brilliant. I'm waiting to get back home today and listen to the speech.

  • chawir on July 5, 2011, 13:53 GMT

    Mr Sangakkara has used his opportunity to address the world's cricket media to explain that the degree of corruption in the Sri Lanka Cricket board impacts the players on the field and is now also alienating the loyal fans. The fans have known for quite a while that the administration has had many vested interests and that issues were simmering on the periphery. Stuart Law insinuated this when he commented that he was amazed that the Sri Lankan players were able to concentrate on their game during a match.

    I hope that the newly appointed interim committee use their opportunity to manoeuvre Sri Lankan cricket into an honest and transparent entity. This will not be the path of least resistance but it needs a fresh start and will take some time.

    I am grateful to Kumar for bringing this to the world's attention but hope that it is not the final chapter of his international career.

    As a fan, my only request is that the players and board play/work to the best of their ability.

  • CricketChat on July 5, 2011, 13:28 GMT

    Enlightening speech by Sangakkara and article by Roebuck. The kind of thought process and changes put forth by Kumar are radical in these parts of the world mired for centuries in corruption, political favoritism and brutal enforcement of law by the mighty and powerful. It will take time, but with the breakdown of knowledge gaps and economic disparities, they will inevitably come. They key is to keep such agenda active in the minds of people.

  • ranga_s on July 5, 2011, 13:18 GMT

    True Champion.....Mr. Sangakkara will be remembered not only for his batting talents but as one of the most intelligent gents ever to play the game of cricket.....If ICC, SLC, BCCI, (boards in general) are lead by people who atleast got quarter of brain Sangakkara got the game would be much much better and will be a game played for people not for money......

  • lanka_86 on July 5, 2011, 13:15 GMT

    Sangakkara's speech as a whole is very very good. But Peter Roebuck is using it as an opportunity to attack the Sri Lankan Government again for its brilliant war victory. And I can't figure out how Peter forgot to mention Hashan Tillekaratne in an article about SL and politics. Must be because he's part of the opposition!

  • on July 5, 2011, 13:11 GMT

    What a speech. It just answered so many questions that loomed in our minds.. im blown away!

  • Lord.emsworth on July 5, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    Mr. Roebuck I was moved by your closing comments ...'The Berlin Wall has fallen, apartheid is gone, the Arab uprising is underway, a Muslim has played for Australia, and a Tamil has taken 800 Test wickets for his beloved country. They go well with Mr.Sangakarra's closing comments in his speech ...'I am a Tamil, Singhalese, Muslim and Burgher.I am a Buddhist, a Hindu, a follower of Islam and Christianity'. Cricket and all sport need this sort of soladarity.

  • Ellis on July 5, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    As always, a well thought out article by Mr. Roebuck. Yes, Sangakkara has given voice to the views and frustrations of millions of Sri Lankans. He has been articulate and courageous in so doing. However, as the article indicates, Sri Lankan cricket administrators are not alone in their inefficiency and corruption. It is a far more widespread concern and believing it is confined to one country is to miss one of Sangakkara's main points. Cricket administrators must move with the times and be alert and wise in their responses. Most Sri Lankan cricket lovers will support Sangakkara's views. In effect, that means most of Sri Lanka. There will be those who defend their vested interests, but, they will be known for who they are. Sangakkara has opened the door to transparency and efficiency. He will have the support of Sri Lankans. The times they are a changing.

  • on July 5, 2011, 13:06 GMT

    i think it's safe to say that after this article, it may not be easy for you to set foot in Sri Lanka...lol..

  • HLANGL on July 5, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    Bringing J'ya's case is pointless here, any attempt to highlight it here as an excuse for their own failures is nothing but ridiculous. Sorry, I've to say. I think most people who follow the game quite closely would agree. Please don't come up with such lame excuses. There's some clearly apparent set of inabilities in this Sri Lankan side. Eventhough they are now supposed to be experienced enough, they still seem to be repeating the same stupid mistakes mainly because they won't accept that it's their fault in the end. Instead of learning from them at least now, they try to hold another party accountable for it, thus trying to hide their own inabilities. It's quite shame to see these excuses coming from such a senior player in the current Sri Lankan side. Please do your work properly as a team, & try to play a more influential game. Then only you may be eligible to start pointing fingers at others who are not doing their job properly. Otherwise both parties are in the same boat.

  • HLANGL on July 5, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    Bringing J'ya's case is pointless here, any attempt to highlight it here as an excuse for their own failures is nothing but ridiculous. Sorry, I've to say. I think most people who follow the game quite closely would agree. Please don't come up with such lame excuses. There's some clearly apparent set of inabilities in this Sri Lankan side. Eventhough they are now supposed to be experienced enough, they still seem to be repeating the same stupid mistakes mainly because they won't accept that it's their fault in the end. Instead of learning from them at least now, they try to hold another party accountable for it, thus trying to hide their own inabilities. It's quite shame to see these excuses coming from such a senior player in the current Sri Lankan side. Please do your work properly as a team, & try to play a more influential game. Then only you may be eligible to start pointing fingers at others who are not doing their job properly. Otherwise both parties are in the same boat.

  • on July 5, 2011, 12:45 GMT

    About the "devastating exposé" of channel 4 that you have mentioned above, I reckon you shouldn't have something without knowing the real fact Peter Roebuck. Because it was proved that the video channel 4 showed was nothing but a fake that was edited to put the blame on SL governemnt. I request you to not to put such statements which can arouse controversies in the country and other part of the world because this article will be read by many people and they will take the false idea what the editors of that fake video were trying to spread about. Please be concerned about what you are writing about Mr. Roebuck.

    As for Kumar, he's the greatest player in SL team right now. And I'm really proud of him and wish him all the best for future too. We need players like him now more than ever. hats off for him

  • HLANGL on July 5, 2011, 12:44 GMT

    A certain section of the issues currently faced by Sri Lanka Cricket may be coming from the administration, true. That being said, another considerable portion of the issues is within this team it self. If the administration cannot do their job properly, the players shouldn't be held accountable for it. That being said, the same argument is applicable vice versa as well. It's the players duty to perform in the middle. They may not win all the time but at least they should learn from the mistakes & try to improve their game if similar situations arise in future. But what happened in the second innings of the first test & whose fault is it ? That may have diluted the dignity of this entire series as far as the Sri Lankans are concerned eventhough they may end up winning the 20-20 & ODI series quite comfortably. How many times such pathetic batting displays have we seen from Sri Lankan sides outside their own backyard ? Can we say they have learnt from their own mistakes in the past ?

  • Pathiyal on July 5, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    thanks mr. roebuck. this article is as impressive as sanga's speech. courage to fight was on display during that long speech of sanga. its so heart warming to see these 'special innings' from the legends. hope its an eye opener to many.

  • on July 5, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    Hope the cricketing bodies all over the world listen to this speech and stop destroying this game further in pursuit of their own selfish monetary interests.

  • Morgoth12 on July 5, 2011, 12:27 GMT

    What's worse is that there is no way out for Sri Lankan cricket. The ruling part wields enormous influence and unfortunately, I don't see anything changing. There is no alternative! Also, while I'm a Jayasurya fan - or rather used to be, him getting a match is absolute injustice to young Sri Lankan players. There is no one who is bigger than the game and bigger than natural principles of fairness in Sports.

  • boris6491 on July 5, 2011, 12:19 GMT

    A superbly written article by Mr. Roebuck. In all probability, the best of his work that I have read. I had the great privilege of having dinner with Kumar Sangakkara and found him an extremely intelligent, well read and well spoken man making this address no surprise. It takes a lot of courage and gall to make an address like this, particularly through the avenue of the prestigious and wide reaching Cowdrey Lecture. Yet, it was not a scathing attack as Mr. Roebuck notes but an honest reflection coming from someone who has just about been through it all. I recall him telling me very similar things which left me thinking not only how passionate the man was about his cricket, but also about his country.

  • on July 5, 2011, 12:19 GMT

    Oh Peter! You are such a fantastic writer who has always managed to stir emotions to the hilt. Probably you were the only person who could have done justice to Sanga's impassioned speech and trust me you have done more than that. Cricket bodies everywhere, like almost every other sports organisation in the World is plagued by a common ailment - Politicians, but unfortunately there are few voices against them. There have been some resentments, but they were few and far too in between and nu surprises that they were trampled forever.

  • on July 5, 2011, 12:16 GMT

    i always knew sanga going to deliver superb lecture and its worth of listening to his speach going for an hour...im touched by every word he has spoken abt sl cricket and sri lanka..well done sanga...so proud of u.....good luck...

  • sg3707 on July 5, 2011, 12:07 GMT

    I still don't understand what sangakkara has actually said....

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • sg3707 on July 5, 2011, 12:07 GMT

    I still don't understand what sangakkara has actually said....

  • on July 5, 2011, 12:16 GMT

    i always knew sanga going to deliver superb lecture and its worth of listening to his speach going for an hour...im touched by every word he has spoken abt sl cricket and sri lanka..well done sanga...so proud of u.....good luck...

  • on July 5, 2011, 12:19 GMT

    Oh Peter! You are such a fantastic writer who has always managed to stir emotions to the hilt. Probably you were the only person who could have done justice to Sanga's impassioned speech and trust me you have done more than that. Cricket bodies everywhere, like almost every other sports organisation in the World is plagued by a common ailment - Politicians, but unfortunately there are few voices against them. There have been some resentments, but they were few and far too in between and nu surprises that they were trampled forever.

  • boris6491 on July 5, 2011, 12:19 GMT

    A superbly written article by Mr. Roebuck. In all probability, the best of his work that I have read. I had the great privilege of having dinner with Kumar Sangakkara and found him an extremely intelligent, well read and well spoken man making this address no surprise. It takes a lot of courage and gall to make an address like this, particularly through the avenue of the prestigious and wide reaching Cowdrey Lecture. Yet, it was not a scathing attack as Mr. Roebuck notes but an honest reflection coming from someone who has just about been through it all. I recall him telling me very similar things which left me thinking not only how passionate the man was about his cricket, but also about his country.

  • Morgoth12 on July 5, 2011, 12:27 GMT

    What's worse is that there is no way out for Sri Lankan cricket. The ruling part wields enormous influence and unfortunately, I don't see anything changing. There is no alternative! Also, while I'm a Jayasurya fan - or rather used to be, him getting a match is absolute injustice to young Sri Lankan players. There is no one who is bigger than the game and bigger than natural principles of fairness in Sports.

  • on July 5, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    Hope the cricketing bodies all over the world listen to this speech and stop destroying this game further in pursuit of their own selfish monetary interests.

  • Pathiyal on July 5, 2011, 12:32 GMT

    thanks mr. roebuck. this article is as impressive as sanga's speech. courage to fight was on display during that long speech of sanga. its so heart warming to see these 'special innings' from the legends. hope its an eye opener to many.

  • HLANGL on July 5, 2011, 12:44 GMT

    A certain section of the issues currently faced by Sri Lanka Cricket may be coming from the administration, true. That being said, another considerable portion of the issues is within this team it self. If the administration cannot do their job properly, the players shouldn't be held accountable for it. That being said, the same argument is applicable vice versa as well. It's the players duty to perform in the middle. They may not win all the time but at least they should learn from the mistakes & try to improve their game if similar situations arise in future. But what happened in the second innings of the first test & whose fault is it ? That may have diluted the dignity of this entire series as far as the Sri Lankans are concerned eventhough they may end up winning the 20-20 & ODI series quite comfortably. How many times such pathetic batting displays have we seen from Sri Lankan sides outside their own backyard ? Can we say they have learnt from their own mistakes in the past ?

  • on July 5, 2011, 12:45 GMT

    About the "devastating exposé" of channel 4 that you have mentioned above, I reckon you shouldn't have something without knowing the real fact Peter Roebuck. Because it was proved that the video channel 4 showed was nothing but a fake that was edited to put the blame on SL governemnt. I request you to not to put such statements which can arouse controversies in the country and other part of the world because this article will be read by many people and they will take the false idea what the editors of that fake video were trying to spread about. Please be concerned about what you are writing about Mr. Roebuck.

    As for Kumar, he's the greatest player in SL team right now. And I'm really proud of him and wish him all the best for future too. We need players like him now more than ever. hats off for him

  • HLANGL on July 5, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    Bringing J'ya's case is pointless here, any attempt to highlight it here as an excuse for their own failures is nothing but ridiculous. Sorry, I've to say. I think most people who follow the game quite closely would agree. Please don't come up with such lame excuses. There's some clearly apparent set of inabilities in this Sri Lankan side. Eventhough they are now supposed to be experienced enough, they still seem to be repeating the same stupid mistakes mainly because they won't accept that it's their fault in the end. Instead of learning from them at least now, they try to hold another party accountable for it, thus trying to hide their own inabilities. It's quite shame to see these excuses coming from such a senior player in the current Sri Lankan side. Please do your work properly as a team, & try to play a more influential game. Then only you may be eligible to start pointing fingers at others who are not doing their job properly. Otherwise both parties are in the same boat.