He is indeed a legend, not because of his 11,814 runs or his 34 centuries, but because of his passion and commitment to established Sri Lanka as a top cricket playing nation at the global stage for long seventeen years.
Rumesh Budhikaa, an emerging young cricketer in Sri Lanka domestic circle, who could possibly be included in the test side soon, has changed his Facebook profile and put the photo of Mahela Jayawardena, just a day before his retirement from the test cricket, with a tag line – legend never, retires! Those kinds of banners and sentiments are visible everywhere at the SSC. And at GALLE as well.
Sri Lanka defeated the Pakistan by 2-0. They climbed the rankings, and now stand at no. four. Their premier batsman ranked as no. one in test cricket, while their captain achieved career best ranking, at no. three.
But there was no celebration. No joy at all. Instead, the team, the fans, the whole Sri Lanka was in sad mood. Simply, because their one of the most beloved cricketer was going to retire from the purest format of the game.
That’s what Mahela achieved as a cricketer! He will be, indeed, remembered as one of the greats in cricket history, not because of his 11,814 runs or his 34 centuries, but because of his passion and commitment to established Sri Lanka as a top cricket playing nation at the global stage for long seventeen years. Kumar Sangakkara is the greatest batsman, Sri Lanka has ever produced. Muthiah Murlidharan is the greatest bowler, Sri Lanka has ever produced. Sanath Jayasuriya is the greatest allrounder, Sri Lanka has ever produced. And, Arjuna Ranatunga is the greatest captain, Sri Lanka has ever produced. But, without a doubt, Mahela Jayawardena is the greatest ‘complete player’, Sri Lanka has ever produced- a great batsman, a great slip fielder, a great captain and a great brand ambassador of his country.
That’s why; everyone was there to witness a farewell of their true hero. Sri Lanka’s twenty-20 captain Lasith Malinga was there, in stands. Nuwan Kulasekera was there. Thisara Perera was there. Kusal Janith Perera was there. Presidents of his school and club were also there. Country’s president Mahinda Rajapaksha was there as well.
And, all they witnessed one the most memorable farewell in their cricketing history. There was nothing special- just pure emotions and respect, for a man, who served Sri Lanka cricket for almost two decades.
And now onwards, everyone will feel the absence of Mahela. Maby not as a batsman, but as a tactician, as a leader, and above all as a inspiring figure.
And they all know it. Sri Lankan Fan knows it. Angelo Mathews Knows it. Kumar sangakkara knows it. Young players like Thisara Perera, Kusal Janith
Perera knows it- that next time, whenever Sri Lanka will play a five day match again, there will be no Mahela Jayawardena.
That’s what he achieved as a cricketer!
I have been too busy to write anything for last few months, as I have been preparing for my first Film, as a producer and writer. But I was commited today, that I wouldn’t miss the opportunities to see the mahela for the last time in whites. i just want to say – Thanks Maiya….for the great memories you have gave us over the years. You will be remembered….forever!