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The new Sri Lanka One Day shirt & why our board should market more

Seasons greetings! Well, we are still technically within the remit of the twelve days! I hope everyone is enjoying the festive season and looking forward to the dawning of 2010, which I sincerely hope will be even better for us and our beloved cricketers. While I was uploading some personal Sri Lanka cricket related photographs I thought it may be helpful if I brought to our attention my parent’s experiences when they kindly consented to my request for the most recent Sri Lanka one day cricket shirt.

Before the days of the Reebok sponsorship deal,  which runs till 2012, we could easily find an exact version of the shirt worn on the pitch with official accreditation, in terms of design and printing.

It seems that was not the case in November, the shirt pictured differs most strikingly in that the "SRI LANKA" writing is in white rather than the large yellow capitals, and the anterior most aspect of the collar is plain yellow rather than yellow with a blue band in between.

The shop assistant mentioned that only the professionals have the exact kit you see worn in games.

Fair enough. That my parents trekked here and there especially for this reinforces that this may indeed be the official stand by Reebok, not just the salesperson pressing for the bucks.

The nearest reproductions available however are the teams world cup T20 shirt from their admirable show this June, available from the SLC Headquarters in Maitland Place, Colombo 8 for Rs 5,600. Fashionable indeed, but it pains me to relive that we failed to cross the final hurdle and T20 is just one form of the game behind tests, the ultimate challenge and fifty overs aside! So the decision to opt for the generic one day kit rendered the word choice a misnomer.

However the current one day shirt worn by the team in recent one day series against Pakistan, the ICC Champions Trophy and in India is available on Kapruka.com for $68.39.

So, I would be keen to know if any of our members and readers of my blog have managed to obtain an exact replica of the shirt, writing and all as worn by the first XI from Sri Lankan outlets, most notably in Liberty Plaza, Kollupitiya or Majestic City, Bambalapitiya. I am told it was nowhere to be found in the former and sold by only one stockist in the larger latter!

However I have warmed to the lighter, smoother blues and the bright canary yellow of the new kit. The only shortcoming would be the looser adaptation to the mid-pectoral region, and both Sanath Jayasuriya and Tillakaratne Dilshan have been seen attaching plaster across the V-neck to attempt to recreate the dry-fit, zip technology of the Dialog-GSM sponsored midnight blue which saw us storm to the 2008 Asia Cup title. Oh the memories!

My other sentiments are that Sri Lanka cricket is not marketing our merchandise to the utmost extent. Only shirts are available as a source of fan item-related memorabilia generated income! I strongly believe we are missing a trick by not selling the one day trousers, caps, panama hats, test kit and even training jackets to rake in the cash! My uncle will shortly return from his two week sojourn in the resplendent isle and he wanted to know from me, whether the cricket board produced any DVDs! I told him the sad truth, but what a goldmine we are ignoring here!

The highly professional ECB endorse DVDs such as the Ashes 2005 and English Summer of 2006 to name just two! The BCCI made one about India’s impressive 2003 world cup campaign where they lost to Australia in the final. How many great videos could we make!!! All the records, the courageous 2007 effort, the T20 world cup in 2009, the great career of Sanath Jayasuriya!!! The 1996 world cup victory!! Oh, the list is endless, Muttiah Muralitharan, our maiden test win!!!

As recently as January 2008 our board needed cash handouts from the BCCI so we cannot afford to be complacent even though SLC are by far the country’s richest sport’s body. There are many, myself included who would pay formidable sums, say even £60 for the training jacket to kit up like our heroes so a mentally dextrous entrepreneur in our country, and there and plenty, must capitalise on this. Sri Lanka cricket shop’s website www.srilankacricketshop.com sadly still only stocks the Dilmah kit, though their range is extensive and well priced. However a fan has kindly updated me below informing me that this website is no longer functional, for which we are grateful.

So those are my opinions and experiences in my first non-poetic cricketing blog and I end by wishing all readers and members of Island Cricket a Happy New Year!

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