Sri Lanka has a rich history and a unique culture associated with Cricket. Sri Lankan people love and respect their Cricketers for obvious reasons. Sri Lanka Cricket has passed a few eras since the Test Baptism in 1981, Warnapura’s, Mendis’s, Madugalle’s to Arjuna’s, Aravinda’s to Sanath’s, Marvan’s and Murali’s, Vaas’s to come to Sanga’s and Mahela’s. These legends have put up a legacy in International Cricket, that people often remember them and recall their performances to date even.
My furthest memories of the lot I’ve mentioned earlier are that, I have seen Aravinda and Arjuna playing. I know that after their retirements, people were looking for another Aravinda, another Arjuna. Instead they had Sanath and Marvan and Murali and Vaas. After the retirement of those four, people still were looking for another Sanath, another Murali. Instead they found Sanga, Mahela and later Mathews. This is the Sri Lankan mindset in terms of a spectator, looking for avatars.
They, the Sri Lankan people, didn’t find what they were looking for from the current players of the previous players, the look-alikes or the avatars. Instead what they found each time is a legend of a new caliber. Aravinda never was a Duleep Mendis, Mahela never was an Aravinda, Sanga never was a Sanath and the list goes on and on. The newer set of players developed an identity of their own.
At present, nearing another transition, end of another era, Sri Lankan people are looking for another Sanga, another Mahela and unsurprisingly another Sanath from current set of young players and you for sure, know from whom. It has been a tradition and this is the Sri Lankan mindset in terms of a spectator, looking for avatars.
It is certain that the players were brought up seeing the players of the previous era or two, who ultimately might have become their role models. They like to follow their role models, copy their flamboyant stroke play and might pose the same stature and thus might appear as an avatar when they first come to the scene. That is an inevitable matter.
Thus the expectations might be high. A young player might be expected to touch the heights set up by a legendary player as soon as he enters the competitive contexts of International Cricket. That’s too harsh on the part of him but that’s the reality. That expectation itself might be a negative factor for him and he might not deliver his full potential, bar being an avatar. So, let the time go and let him establish himself and ultimately he will develop a legacy of his own and become a legend, who Sri Lankan people will recall in future. But the Sri Lankan mindset in terms of a spectator will not change for any reason and that is, was and will be the passion that would drive them.