By now, we’ve all heard about Kumar Sangakkara’s ovation-worthy speech at MCC’s Spirit of Cricket lecture. It’s takes a brave man to stand up and announce to the world that his country is messing up. Especially in the subcontinent where cricket administrators are akin to rulers of their fiefdom.
Thank god Sangakkara is good enough to continue playing and this outburst (albeit controlled and appropriately timed) won’t cost him his place. If it does, we’ll know it wasn’t for cricketing reasons. There is no cricket board (or sports body as the FIFA has recently found out) that is perfectly run. Peter Roebuck is rather gracious in his column where he leaves India out of the list of ‘troubled boards’, so to say.
A few years ago, a power struggle not too dissimilar from Sri Lanka’s was on full public view in India. Embroiled in it were Jagmohan Dalmiya, Sharad Pawar and Sourav Ganguly. The Sri Lankan issue has similar attributes. Except Sangakkara who stood up and proactively shamed his board.
Unfortunately, Sri Lanka’s board answers to their sports minister. A politician. Who as a rule, are thick-skinned. So his first order of action was to demand a report from the board’s president! Fat lot of good that will do! This is one imbroglio that will play itself out over time. Unfortunately for SL Cricket, in full public view. And Sangakkara is now ‘that guy’ who had balls of steel to stand up to his ‘masters’. Kudos.
And here’s hoping more sportspersons have the gall to stand up and fight. And not worry only about their future. Easier said than done, of course!