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Kumar Sangakkara revisits SLC as President of MCC

Says MCC vs Essex match to be staged in Sri Lanka will be economically beneficial as well

The pride of Sri Lanka, Kumar Sangakkara, who is the only non British national to head the hallowed Merleborne Cricket Club (MCC) in the citadel of cricket in England, held centre stage yesterday at the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) headquarters when he met with its President Shammi Silva and Secretary Mohan de Silva to address the media on the significance of the MCC staging its traditional MCC versus the champion English county match in Sri Lanka.

The former Sri Lankan batting great set the tone for what would be a historic match in it being staged in Sri Lanka when in his crisp, booming voice he said, “It is traditionally MCC’s opening game and alas it is a great pride to bring it to Sri Lanka when England will be playing Sri Lanka. It is not easy to transfer such a game to Sri Lanka. They come here not just because Sri Lanka is a stunning country, but because of the attraction of cricket to anyone who plays here. I must thank Mr. Shammi Silva, the SLC president for going about putting in place all the requirements to make this come through with the accent on the financial aspect. As the President of the MCC it is a huge challenge for me because I’ve been asked to play. It is the opportunity for players to gain exposure playing Essex. I do look forward to it being a great success. About four Sri Lankan players are expected to turn out for MCC.”

He said that staging the match in Galle from March 24 to 27 could be that the MCC wants it held outside England maybe due to reasons such as finance. He went on to stress the importance of playing this traditional match globally and the ‘impact for players playing overseas.’ The broader yardstick of the MCCs activities was far reaching in its largely motivated accentuation on spreading the game of cricket globally. Twenty five scholarships an year are given for players annually. The MCC has a strong connection to Sri Lanka that goes beyond my appointment before I was appointed president.’

Sangakkara further spelled out the economic significance to Sri Lanka from such a venture in terms of boosting tourism and the hotel industry by the attraction of foreign spectators. It was also significant that the MCC did have its roots in Sri Lanka in so much as promoting the Centre of Excellence situated in down South Seenigama.

The MCC offered scholarships to young Sri Lankan players.As to donning the pads for the much looked to MCC-Essex match, Sangakkara said, “It is about two and a half years since I last played here and held a bat.

I can feel my hands are rusty. I’ve been doing a bit of net practice to find touch.” I’m expected to bat at No.7”

He further elaborated that the MCC was attaching much importance to support ingstabilise the game in Pakistan. MCC was accordingly prioritising gathering more and more people there for cricket through a MCC world committee to Pakistan.

He reiterated his heartfelt thanks and appreciation of SLCs efforts in joining hands with the MCC to make the MCC vs Essex match a success.

At the outset, SLC Secretary, Mohan de Silva thanked the legendary cricketer for coming over at short notice. “Today, we are happy that all arrangements have been made to stage the MCC versus Essex curtain raiser from February 24 to the 27. The MCC team will comprise a couple of Sri Lankan players. SLC also intends felicitating Kumar for bringing glory to his motherland as the first Asian president of the MCC.

Meanwhile, the President of SLC, Shammi Silva paid Sangakkara a glowing tribute when he said, “It is a big pride for Sri Lanka that Kumar is the President of the MCC. I don’t think another Sri Lankan will ever head the MCC. Staging such a match will be so important for us and a big boost for Sri Lanka not only in cricket but roundly.

In the past this match was played outside of England only in Abu Dhabi And Dubai.

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