Letting their guard down on the ramp

By David Stephens

Striding in first was fiery paceman Lasith Malinga whom the crowd greeted with hysterical applause. This is not the first time the bowler has encountered such a frenzied audience, yet the Water’s Edge Hotel presented a different challenge to Malinga and his mates last Monday: to dazzle on the ramp.

This they did with remarkable flair at the ‘Light of Change Charity Fashion Show’, on October 11, which brought together all of Sri Lanka’s national cricketers and some of the country’s top female models, in aid of the ‘Light of Change’ programme. The event was organized by MAS Holdings and Yes FM to garner funds for the initiative, which assists rural youth through a sound corporate education.

The night kicked off with a sobering testimony by two young men who had benefited from the programme, both expressing their gratitude for the English language, computing and career skills they had acquired.

It was then time for the glitz and glamour. Following the parade of models in skimpy swim wear, the Lankan cricket team hit the ramp. It started with a bowler heavy line up, first Malinga and then Dilhara Fernando, both sporting figure hugging T-shirts which elicited more than a few ear piercing “We love you” shrieks, before the elegant Kumar Sangakkara stepped out.

The noise level in the room shot up. It seemed that our eloquent skipper had once again made his mark. All rounder Angelo Mathews sauntered down the ramp with quiet aplomb, followed by swashbuckling opener Tilakaratne Dilshan, arriving with his usual flamboyance, pausing at the edge of the ramp to pose for the flashing cameras.

The national team modelled sports wear by MAS Holdings and office suits and wedding attire provided by Hameedias, and if the first round belonged to Sangakkara then the second and third rounds went to Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan.

Vaas exuded the suave composure that most fans have come to expect, while Murali true to form was his exuberant self. Interspersed with the fashion show were a range of musical performances, which contributed to the night’s already fever pitched excitement. These included the theme song for ‘Light of Change’, two soulful singles from Natasha Rathnayake, and an energetic cluster of country songs from the increasingly popular De Lanerolle Brothers.

As the night drew to a close, prominent fashion designer Michael Wijesuriya presented his new collection which was followed by the latest line of Victoria Secret lingerie.

A pleased and slightly relieved Chaminda Vaas conceded that the show had been a touch nerve wracking considering it had been his first time up on the ramp. “I enjoyed it a lot though and it was for a charitable cause so it was really worth doing,” he said.

Just as nervous about the whole affair was a very dapper Farveez Maharoof, who when quizzed about which was more intimidating, taking the ramp or the field, flashed a wide grin and promptly replied,” Definitely for me taking part in a fashion show is much more intimidating.”

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