Malinga, the media and the gullible public

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PhotoThe story of Lasith Malinga is a curious one. From wayward bowler, to a hero that made the general public act like a bunch of teenaged girls at a Justin Bieber concert; to IPL mercenary, villain and now the scapegoat to everything from child prostitution to global warming.

When yours truly queried last year why his IPL heroics were not replicated when he was playing for Sri Lanka, the Island Cricket community had mixed views, but now it seems goldilocks has hit the lowest point in the popularity meter after that little tiff with the saviours (ahem, ahem) of Sri Lankan cricket, the beloved media.

Those who followed events of recent times will have seen the discussion program on a well known TV station featuring Sanath Jayasuriya, the presenter, a man who was introduced as a journalist and two hitherto unknown characters. Malinga probably put himself down a bit by responding to their accusations and having a verbal spat with the journalist over the phone. A sought-after international cricketer shouldn’t have stooped to that level. That shows Malinga’s weakness – he doesn’t know how to handle himself. What a moment for the journalist though – a relatively unknown scribe, having a spat with one of the most recognised cricketing icons of our generation.

Media - 1, Malinga - 0.

Malinga was probably still fuming over that when the contract issue flared up. Now we know that there is a rule that players cannot talk to the media, as per their arrangement with the SLC. Kumar Sangakkara explained that to the Media personnel who converged upon him recently. When they converged upon Mumbai’s favorite son, he got pissed off and denied them any information. If he had, the newsmongers would have held on to that bit, made a huge fuss and probably landed him in hot water with the SLC. But of course, that’s not the journalist’s problem is it? All he wants is a hot story. Now the media have a way of getting their own back. They act like snakes at times. As soon as they are snubbed, they turn into vengeful creatures. When they inquired from his Slinginess what business had he at SLC on a bright and cheery morning, Malinga, not very politely, asked them to mind their own business.

That should have been the end of that – but nope. The media stirred the public. Thanks to social media, by lunch time today, numerous posts were on Facebook denouncing Malinga. Hundreds of the Facebook generation, were branding him as a third-class mercenary, a hot-head, a man who forgot his roots, etc.

This just shows the problem with today’s internet-savvy public. They know how to type, but they don’t know how to use the grey matter resting on their shoulders and take a moderate view on things. They are very easy to influence, like a bunch of kids who believe in Santa. This is the same weakness that racist factions are exploiting to stir ethnic hatred through social media. The saddening part is by acting like that, the Sri Lankan public clearly showed the world that they have strong Indian roots.

The media claim they built Malinga’s reputation. There maybe some truth to this claim: they published many flattering articles and sugary interviews, but a player’s image is built mainly on his on-field achievements. People say Shane Warne was hyped by the media. How on earth did he end up with a 700+ Test wickets, if he was just an overhyped player?

If the media are truly interested in the development of the game, there are hundreds of other issues to address, and not hound a celebrity. But they won’t, because at the end of the day all they want is a big story. They sure have one now.

Media - 2, Malinga - 0.


UppercuT's picture
Member since:
19 October 2011
Last activity:
1 year 9 weeks

Good blog! Yes media in any country will find "dirt in a snowstorm"! That's in their job description.(some what filthy, but hey, it's a living right?)

The public HAS to easy up on the 'cool aid' and STOP treating cricketers as GODs one second and treating them as SUPER VILLIANS next second!

The very fans who DEFENDED Malinga when he quit Test cricket are now questioning his 'upbringing', 'dicipline' when he was clearly PROVOKED in to his actions(it's true he overreacted, but those journos knew VERY well what the response s going to be!)

BTW doesn't anyone find it ODD, that those journos were going after Malinga for a 'voice cut' but NOT AFTER Mathews who is the SL CAPTAIN in Tests and ODIs????

Sanjeev Bernard Fernando's picture
Member since:
25 January 2013
Last activity:
5 days 10 hours

Well written and very good points!I do agree with all that you said. I dont think we should be harsh on Malinga. But one thing is clear, if he cant handle pressure of journalists, then he is not captaincy material.

Ravana's picture
Member since:
8 July 2010
Last activity:
6 weeks 6 days

Who ever considered Malinga "captaincy material" ? Another fallacy of the press !

When under pressure it is well know that a person "reverts to type". This is the only way he knows to behave.

As for our "journalists" there isn't one worthy of that title in the whole Country.

sachi's picture

Good points mate! Now in this whole country the worst man is malinga, the unpatriotic, money minded, greedy fellow who has no discipline. He doesn’t know how to talk to people, to media. He surely haven’t had a good upbringing and what not, he hasn’t even played in school cricket he is a parachute guy. These are the accusations u find in FB, Youtube, dinner conversations, offices and everywhere in this country. All of a sudden the only thing wrong in this country is Malinga.

No one talks about the corruption, day light robbery in SLC. No one talks abt how SLC treats our players, no one talks abt politicization in cricket. And no one talks abt ILLEGAl appointment of Nishantha and his robberies inside. These things are never discussed in media like this. No one cares for that. And lets leave cricket, look at the affairs in this country. There are many other things that deserve this outrage. But no one cares for that! And now Malinga is the biggest culprit in this whole island.

Outrage over Malinga’s words is hilarious given that SL is one of the most dangerous places for media. There are many journos killed, assaulted for revealing the corruption, and the big powers in this country. No one cares for that, and now Malinga is the biggest culprit for telling media “mind your business” in this land where we kill journos. What a pathetic state!

I accept Malinga acted stupidly, but I am with Malinga. For a country that is deaf when it comes to murder of journos, corruption of HUGE scale Malinga should tell the whole country with its stupid fans in it to STFU showing the middle finger…

Anonymous's picture

There is no need for any white wash over malinga's bad behavior. He was wrong and need to know how to handle the media if they are so called professional cricketers who are fighting for their employment rights.Everyone knows what happened to Susanthika in the past. General public have a right to know what happened inside those walls. No other cricket board offer 81% of board income to small bunch of players. Only justifiable demand is 25% ICC events earning which could have been used as a motivational tool for the players. Asking for Tickets for their wives and demanding invest on Cricket development are rubbish claims.

Anonymous's picture

Great Article. I didn't know how to say it better mate! Well done. Sri Lankan or what ever media, just gets in and exploits everything.

and yeah, i love that your point about Indian roots fact :D what a saying...haha :DD

Sakthivel's picture
Member since:
28 March 2012
Last activity:
6 weeks 1 day

Its time for Malinga to take one more tough decision.

Mumbai or Colombo ????

With Ambani's at his side he should not be worried.

Sanki8OH8's picture
Member since:
27 March 2010
Last activity:
3 years 45 weeks

Great article... great views!!

Theekshana Somaratna's picture
Member since:
14 April 2012
Last activity:
4 years 25 weeks

Good stuff! the final score actually is
Media 2 Malinga 0 Sri Lankan Cricket -2
All this episode showed was that he was human just like all of us. we shdnt be too quick to judge others. I dont agree with everything Malinga did but what is happening to his reputation now is unfair,ridiculous and sad. The fourth estate needs to look within.

(Last edited by Theekshana Somaratna on March 6, 2013 - 10:39)
Deiyyo Sakki's picture

Finally a sensible and thoughtful and well laid out article on the saga. I watched that interview and the clip and although Malinga shouldve let it slide since that journo is a lowlife understandably he is furious because the alligations are ridiculous and hurtful especially for someone who makes a living on being a public figure. My sympathies are clearly with Malinga for the tough time he had growing up poor, battling through a career threatening injury with no help and an unforgiving, jelous and greedy public

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