Columns - 5th column

It’s the whole truth and nothing but the truth

By Rypvanwinkle

My dear Sanga,

It was only three months ago that I wrote to you last and that was just after the World Cup final but I thought I must write to you again after hearing the stirring speech you made at Lord’s this week.
Of course, Sanga, we always knew you were a cut above the rest even though there was little opportunity for you to showcase your talents as an intellectual off the cricket field. After all, what you previously did beyond the boundary ropes was confined to touting cellular networks and malted drinks!

Having listened to you at Lord’s this week I must say you more than made up for all those past sins with a masterful performance that was more social scientist and philosopher rather than cricketer or lawyer-the two professions that you are trained in.

It is not often that speeches made by our countrymen overseas are remembered. I can recall SWRD’s speeches at the Oxford Union, JR’s speech at San Francisco, perhaps Sir John’s speech at Bandung and last but not least, Lakshman K’s speeches, also at the Oxford Union that are still being talked about to this day. So, for a young man, you have done really well Sanga, especially when your speech is being hailed as the ‘most important speech in cricket history’ in some quarters.

And you did so, while at the same time taking immense pride in being Sri Lankan, instead of being like those Sri Lankans who are ashamed to be known as natives of their motherland. That I believe, is the most important aspect of what you said that day.

It is also not that often that a Sri Lankan gets an opportunity to talk to an international audience with the assurance that he will have the eyes and ears of the world. Believe me, you did a bloody good job of it, projecting Sri Lanka’s past problems of war and its present hopes for the future with the dawn of peace. And in so doing Sanga, you effortlessly outshone some of our ‘diplomutts’ who are paid to safeguard their country’s reputation but miserably fail to do so!

Did you realise Sanga, that what you achieved in one hour that day has the potential to offset much of the damage caused by the Channel 4 documentaries in recent weeks? And that is because you resorted to telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth-not half-truths embellished with spurious claims for the sake of convenience.

What impressed me even more though was what you said, not merely the manner in which you said it. You were blunt enough to call a spade a spade, and you had enough brickbats for those who deserved them, just as much as you had bouquets for those who were entitled to them as well.

You spared no one, not even your teammates who interfered with team selections- and we all know who they are, don’t we?-and it takes a man of guts to do that! So, of course, feathers will be ruffled and what we heard was that you would be asked for an ‘explanation’!

Since then, we have heard our ‘honourable’ Minister of Sports say that you have talked out of turn and that as a contracted player, you needed to get ‘permission’ from the local cricket authorities to say what you said. Now, that would be like ‘horaage ammagen pena ahanawa wagey’, wouldn’t it, Sanga?

This minister chap is so brilliant he is suggesting you should get ‘permission’ from Sri Lanka Cricket to call them a den of thieves! Of course, he must be thinking that running Sri Lanka Cricket is as easy as pilfering with the elections at Nawalapitiya! Anyway, I don’t think you should worry too much about him because between the two of you, intellectually, I think we all realise who the giant is and who the pygmy is!
We always knew you were someone with character and integrity and this was confirmed when you resigned just after the World Cup when you could have clung on to the captaincy and tried to stay on as long as you can like those from Matara do!

In fact it is quite a surprise that no one has yet called you a ‘deshadrohiya’ or staged a fast unto death opposite Sri Lanka Cricket asking you to withdraw your remarks! So, Sanga, I am sure that you will be able to deal with whatever consequences that come your way as a result of speaking your mind at Lord’s. Thank you Sanga, old chap, for what you did, because that is the least we can say for you!

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha

PS-Isn’t it true but tragic that many a stalwart from your old school, Trinity, have always been so near and yet so far away from reaching the top, only to be deprived when just one step away from glory. The names that come to mind are Lakshman J, Gamini D, Denzil K and of course, Lakshman K. And now you have joined their ranks, because you too so nearly won the World Cup for us. But at least, with what you did at Lord’s last week, you can be happy that you have done what they taught you at Kandy’s best school of all: ‘Respice Finem’ as they say, or ‘Look to the End’!

  From : Patrick Perera
Yes it was indeed a wonderful speech by a wonderful individual
the only bit he did not touch on was the World Prudential cup match that
we nearly won if not for the deliberate injuries caused to our batsmen Sunil
Wettimuni Duleep Mendis and co who were in hospital and could not take the
field and Australia beat us by a few runs, thats the day when Sri
Lankan cricket hit the
world stage and caught the eyes of cricket lovers and pundits the
world over that here's
some guys who could play this game from a tiny island at that, also he
could have mentioned
some of our past cricketers who hit the county circuit in England in
the good old days like Gamini Gunasena
Stanley Jayasinghe and Clive Inman who comes to mind
It was indeed one heck of a speech on a lighter note he kept sipping
far too much water during that one hour.
Anyway he is very much high quality cheese to chalk compared to some
of the captains in the past and of course the present one
in the Queens language.
dear ripwanwinkle,
  From : Piyal
Absolutely after reading all the comments and essays
these days related to Sangas saga - its not easy to keep
keep away from being "love to hate " kind of a attitude towards the
politicians who cannot stomach the truth
  From : sman
Dear Sandakkara.

About 90% of people in the country cannot realize what is happening ,and happened to Sri Lanka.
Not only uneducated people,but even the well- educated people people can't understand this,or they just pretend that they are  unable to understand ,may be due to hidden benefits. Anyway,I think in Sri Lanka this a historical time for genuine candour  people like you to come out to save the country in all aspect. Wish you all the best.
  From : kukdepra,paris
After a long time ,I feel proud to be a Srilankan ! thank you
sanga!!! you stand straight for the are a hero.!!!
  From : Mafazs Sufiyan
Its  quality and nothing else.

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