Cricket in Sri Lanka
No country has produced more innovative and exciting cricketers than Sri Lanka in the past twenty years. Although the island has a highly structured cricket program in school and club cricket, the heart of the sport remains impromptu games on the street, parks, gardens and the beach. From these unrestrained beginnings cricketers and characters have emerged to reinvent the century old MCC script of the how the game should be played.
Tillakaratne Dilshan has a shot named after him the 'dilscoop' an audacious flick over his head. Ajantha Mendis has the 'carrom ball' flicked from the middle finger. Lasith Malinga bowls with an action garnered on southern beaches playing with a soft ball, that he has managed to replicate with a hardball and is feared by batsmen the world over. For a country the size of Ireland to produce such a diverse range of players, is astonishing.
Mahela Jayawadena and Kumar Sangakkara are the islands poster boys, and provide a vivid contrast in their classical stroke play with the unorthodoxy and sometime rank madness that surrounds them. All these wonderful cricketers learnt their cricket on grounds and beaches where you can play. The game is the nation's pride and joy, as ubiquitous as sunshine, palm trees, smiles and tea plantations. For a lover of cricket there is no more heart warming country to visit or better place to view and play the game in its most spectacular form.
To wet your appetite here are some snapshots of what has made Sri Lanka the neutrals choice.