Kumar Sangakkara assumes office as MCC president | Daily News


Red-letter day for Sri Lanka today

Kumar Sangakkara assumes office as MCC president

Kumar Sangakkara
Kumar Sangakkara

Today is a red-letter day for Sri Lanka and especially those connected to sports largely cricket when a son of our own soil Kumar Chokshanada Sangakkara assumes the position as the first non-British president of the historic Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). He will hold this exalted post for one year till September 30, 2020.

MCC’s outgoing president, Anthony Wreford in nominating Sangakkara as the next president, said: “As MCC looks to broaden both our horizons and international reputation, I’m delighted that Kumar has accepted the invitation, which he did in January this year, to be the next President of MCC.

“He is an outstanding individual both on and off the field and will make a huge contribution to the Club.”

Sangakkara’s presidency will oversee England Test matches at Lord's played against West Indies and Pakistan. More notably, perhaps, the first year of The Hundred and the launch of a franchise based at the Home of Cricket will also occur during his term.

Commenting on his appointment Sangakkara said, “It is a huge honour to be named the next President of MCC and it is a role that I am thoroughly looking forward to. For me, MCC is the greatest cricket club in the world, with its global reach and continued progress for cricket on and off the pitch.

“The year 2020 is going to be yet another significant one in cricket, especially at Lord’s, and I am thrilled that I am going to be able to play a part in supporting its future as President of MCC.”

This new appointment only enhances Sangakkara’s commitments with MCC. Sangakkara who celebrated his 42nd birthday on October 27 is renowned the world over for his famous speech delivered at the 2011 Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture where he dared to speak against the Sri Lanka Cricket administration whilst still being a contracted player. In 2012 he was awarded Honorary Life Membership and has sat on MCC’s influential world cricket committee for the past seven years.

As a cricketer where Sangakkara holds most of his country’s batting and wicket-keeping records he has twice made it onto the Lord's Honours Board in 2014 for innings played during Sri Lanka's tour of England. The MCC immortalised Sangakkara further by commissioning paintings of him and fellow Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene, which were unveiled in 2017.

MCC awards Honorary Life Membership to some of the finest cricketers and men and women associated with the game.

So far amongst the list of 14 individuals from Sri Lanka who have been honoured there are two in the non-Test category who have been awarded membership for their services to cricket in an administrative capacity.

After cricketers Duleep Mendis and Sidath Wettimuny who were the first two Sri Lankans to be awarded Life Honorary Membership of MCC in 1997, Nuski Mohamed became the third Sri Lankan to be so honoured in 1998.

Mohamed’s stint at secretary of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board (BCCSL at the time) from 1982-89 during Gamini Dissanayake’s presidency was a challenging task immediately following Sri Lanka’s elevation to Full Membership of the ICC. To his credit, he carried out this task in a commendable manner and proved his capabilities as one of the finest cricket administrators in the region. He had to overcome obstacles of a rebel tour to South Africa in the immediate aftermath of Sri Lanka’s Full Membership which also happened to be the era of heightened terrorist activity in the country. However, his close interaction and relationship with the Internadtional Test Member Boards proved positive and there were no major setbacks to national cricket. He also held office as vice president/secretary of the Asian Cricket Council.

Kushil Gunasekera is the other elected Honorary Life Member of MCC in the Non-Test category in 2012. Gunasekera who represented Ananda College at cricket is the founder of the Foundation of Goodness which operates the MCC Center of Excellence & Sports Academy in Seenigama and works in close co-ordination with MCC. He was a former secretary of the Sri Lanka Cricket interim committee.

Amongst the list of 14 Sri Lankans who are Honorary Life Members of MCC are nine former Sri Lankan captains.

Since Sri Lanka entered the Test scene in 1982 no cricketer from the country has held a position as high in cricket as what Sangakkara’s has achieved. The most notable achievement that may rank close to it is the current post held by Ranjan Madugalle who is the chief ICC match referee.

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