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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1588

Factor of “Sanath Jayasuriya” in the Political Arena

Nalin Abeysekera - Lecturer, Open University of Sri Lanka

Jayasuriya.jpgSanath Teran Jayasuriya-a Master Blaster can be considered as Youth icon ,celebrity and “a man coming with village and did(still doing) Miracles in the world of cricket”.

Sri Lankans go crazy whenever the “Matara Mauler” walks into the pitch.He used to hold a very distinctive record almost never to be achieved by a single cricket player. He held the fastest fifty (against Pakistan 17 balls) and fastest 150 (against England in 95 balls) in ODI cricket.

The most enchanting moment of Master Blaster Jayasuriya’s career was in 1996 when Sri Lanka team emerged champions of the World Cup tournament in the sub continent, beating Australia by seven wickets in the final played in Lahore on March 17, 1996. Jayasuriya had a rich harvest during the 1996 World Cup to be adjudged the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

This efforts won him the prestigious Wisden Cricketer of the Year award the following year.In Test also He Scored 6973 runs with one triple century, three double centuries, 14 centuries and 31 fifties. His highest score was 340 against India in Premadasa Stadium,Sri Lanka.

People do admiring Sanath not only because of his batting but because he stands as “Sana from matara”. The uniqueness in Jayasuriya’s exemplary career has been his humbleness. Though he is the only player to score more than 13,000 runs and capture more than 300 wickets in one day internationals, he is still the very same Jayasuriya who used to travel to Colombo by bus from Matara with his heavy cricket baggage during the early part of his career.

Why “Sanath Jayasuriya” factor is important in this time? People will say because of his cricket. Yes. But more importantly he indeed can be considered as a cricketer of a “common man” Who came from the village. Why rural sector is importance? Rural sector represented the 75% of the population in Sri Lanka. So the ratio between rural and urban is 75:25! Some argued that this time the village will be the decisive factor to win the election.

As a celebrity Sanath can be considered as most famous figure throughout the world. Especially young cricketers try to imitate the unique batting style of Sanath which can be considered as “Sanath’s special”. Even in india still some people know Sri Lanka because of Jayasuriya!!”.He is the first cricketer to be appointed as a UN Goodwill Ambassador (by UNAIDS, Geneva) for his commitment to prevention of HIV/AIDS among young people in Sri Lanka .If you type Sanath Jayasuriya in Google(one of the popular search engine in the internet) you can find out 273,000 pages as result!

Cricketers supporting to particular political parties is not uncommon in South Asian countries. In Sri Lanka we got players like Arjuna Rantunga, Hashan Thillakarathne etc. Arjuna’s entry into politics was not a miracle .He is from the family (family of Ranatunga) is famous for politics. In India also we can see players like Navjot Singh Sidhu (who was elected to the Lok Sabha as the member from Amritsar in 2004 on a BJP ticket; he later resigned, following his conviction for culpable homicide, however the Supreme Court of India stayed his conviction. He successfully contested the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat, defeating his Congress rival, State Finance Minister Surinder Singla, by 77,626 votes).

Ex-captain Mohammad Azharuddin, is also presently a member of Indian parliament. He represents the Moradabad constituency of Uttar Pradesh and is a member of the Indian National Congress.

World cup wining captain of Pakistan, Imran Khan can be considered as most influential politician who played cricket in the last decades. Khan founded and became the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice), a small and marginal political party, of which he is the only member ever elected to Parliament. He represented Mianwali as a member of the National Assembly from November 2002 to October 2007.

Some people like to draw parallel between Imran and Arjuna because both of them can be considered as world-cup wining captains. But some political analysts were in the view that that both were already failed in politics (anyway this was subject to certain arguments).

Cricket is always like a religion in countries like Sri Lanka. Players like Sanath can be considered as opinion leaders for the fans as well as for the general public. He has an edge over others because of his unique style, approach and humbleness, Still it is too immature to anticipate that Sanath will contest for the election. But “the factor of Sanath Jayasuriya” cannot be neglected in political arena (like in Cricket).

- Asian Tribune -

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