Why we root for Sri Lanka
Meet a few of Sri Lanka’s non-Sri Lankan fans
By Staff Writers | July 20, 2012
I’m Amy Orford from Toronto, Canada. I’m originally from Lakeland, Michigan in the USA. I live five minutes from a cricket ground. After living 28 years of my life knowing nothing about cricket, I started reading up on it. Around that time, I met a person who would go on to be my best friend. He found out I was interested in cricket and threw himself whole-heartedly into my cricket education. He is Sri Lankan, so naturally he introduced me to his team first. Kumar Sangakkara is my favourite player. The very first video my friend sent me of international cricket was of Sanga batting. I instantly fell in love with the game, with batting in particular and with Sanga. I'm a fan of the team for many reasons, including the fact that the Sri Lankans in my neighbourhood have adopted me as one of their own when they found out I love cricket. Unfortunately, I have a very difficult time watching any games. Cricket coverage is rather hard to find on TV in Canada, unless you want to pay an arm and a leg for a speciality channel. But where there's a will, there's a way to follow Sri Lankan cricket.
I’m Shaheera Mohamad from Barbados in the West Indies. As a little girl, thanks to my father, I fell in love with cricket. We would watch most matches (even non-West Indian matches). Of course, I supported the West Indies but there was something magical about Sri Lanka. I love the way they play. I was only five when Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996 – that’s a day I will never forget. Kumar Sangakkara is my favourite Sri Lankan player; what more can you ask for in a player, in a man? No one is perfect but Sangakkara is close. I have been very lucky to meet most of the players and they are such gentlemen, full of respect and in awe of my support as I am not Sri Lankan. I watch every match Sri Lanka plays, no matter what time of day it is and regardless of my exams.
I’m Sujan Rao from Mangalore, India. I first saw Sri Lanka playing during the 1996 World Cup. The manner in which Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana and others tore up opposition bowling attacks amazed me. I was just 10 years old then. The players’ simplicity and humbleness off the field amazed me as well and inspired me. After I first saw Jayasuriya batting, I became a Sri Lankan. He is my hero. Jayasuriya didn't just change the way cricket was being played at the time, he brought in that excitement to the game which was lacking. He single-handedly changed the course of the game. I dream of visiting Sri Lanka one day and meeting Jayasuriya. My friends call me a traitor. In school, I would be verbally abused and taunted for supporting Sri Lanka and not India. It has been tough being an Indian in India and supporting Sri Lanka. I can’t watch an India-Sri Lanka match with family or friends, as quarrels often breakout. My friends rarely call me by name. I’m instead called ‘Sri Lankan’ which I don’t mind. I love my country India. But when it comes to cricket, I’m a Sri Lankan.
I’m Isabelle Douglas from London, England. I became a fan of the Sri Lankan team when I first visited the island six years ago. My step-father is Sri Lankan and he is a massive cricket fan. My favourite player is Sangakkara and he has been for a number of years now. I was lucky enough to attend his MCC Spirit of Cricket lecture last year, which was delivered so eloquently and was extremely emotional. I'm a fan of the Sri Lanka team because they are willing to overcome obstacles and adversity to achieve their goals. Sri Lanka is an exciting team to watch, with their many unorthodox bowlers over the years adding to their versatility. Their fans are also amazing. Watching a cricket match in Sri Lanka is very different to watching one in England.
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