He was not from a family from Colombo, he was not from a family which had a rich father who could afford everything his son desires, but, he inherited a gift from his family which made him the personality he is today. The courage and the determination were in abundance. He saw his father lose everything in his countries cursed times. And he experienced the courage of his father to build everything from scratch to become one of the most successful businessmen in the country.
They say sport brings nations together, the human beings together. If so he is the crown jewel of a nation battered from 30 years of futile madness. He brought every single country man together. Everyone cheered him with patriotism in their hearts. Everyone loved him for the down to earth personality he is. And he in turn showed the world the might of a little guy from a small island. A small guy with the most childish of smiles.
His journey though was not a bed of roses; far from it. Every time he stood up, there were so many forces to drag him down, to prime ministers to cricket pundits, they never gave up hitting this small guy with a big heart. But never has he uttered a word in anger. The courage and the determination his father taught him, was on display for nearly two decades where his innocent smile and the willingness to prove himself was second to none in the history of sport. He stood there, while all his critics faded away and his country stood by him and loved him for the personality he is.
Brought up in the midst of so many troubled times, he kept showering joy and happiness upon his mother land with utmost pride. He bamboozled the world’s best with every art in the book (Some not even in the book) and whatever he did, the little boy with the innocent smile never faded, he was a fierce competitor, but such a lovable human being at the same time.
He quit the whites with his last delivery giving him his 800th prey, to bring a fairy tale ending to a career which deserved nothing less than a fairy tale. The bench mark he set for the rest of the pack seems nothing less than impossible. And he said goodbye to his motherland with a memorable final hoorah, and a lap of honour in a stadium packed to the rafters to give the hero a perfect send off. As his captain in the last game, Kumar Sangakkara sums it up, “The good thing about him is, he has no ego and he is a great team man; why these kinds of fairy tale endings keep happening to him is because he is a great human being. He has a great heart. He is an honest, hardworking guy and has no pretence about it. When he is such a nice guy, good things happen to him.”
His continued work after his career as a cricketer to mend the broken hearts and look towards a future with peace and prosperity is second to none. He has done everything for his country (may be even more). But the great man refuses to stop loving the country and his country men who had stood by him when he needed them the most.
Today it is such a fitting spectacle that young cricketers from northern and eastern provinces played a domestic tournament which was named after him to claim the sporting glory which would have been theirs long time ago if not for petty politics and a futile power struggle. His principle of, “forget the hatred and look towards a better future” is a philosophy all the Sri Lankans should adapt to see our children grow with pride as true Sri Lankans.
It is being more than 2 years since our little boy from Kandy has left us in the field of cricket, but his legacy will live on long after our memories and the bones of our bodies are washed away in the sea of time. Because generations to come would scarcely believe that such a human being has walked on this earth.