In moving from a pictorial depiction of the parental and local urban background where Kumar Sangakkara has been nurtured, to a photographic ‘sketch’ of his cricketing endeavours, it will be easy for readers to forget the dangerous Sri Lankan circumstances hanging over the cricketing scenario within Sri Lanka in the period when Kumar strode on to the field in Sri Lankan colours – from the mid-1990s. These were the sporadically continuous dangers hanging over the urban and rural byways around Colombo and Kandy as a result of the Eelam Wars and the capacity displayed by the Tamil Tigers in mounting suicide assassinations as well as massive blasts directed at high-profile urban targets.
The assassination of Neelan Tiruchelvam at Kynsey Terrace on the 29th July 1999 by a female Tiger suicide bomber was especially saddening for me because we had worked together on academic issues for years …. https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-death-of-neelan-tiruchelvam-a-grave-loss-to-the-tamil-people/
THAT CONTEXT must NOT be obliterated when we absorb the more pleasant pictorial illustrations assembled here. It was an apprehension-raising circumstance facing all residents, whether poor or rich, Tamil, Sinhala, Moor, Malay or Burgher, living or moving within these urban localities. Because I myself resided in Colombo for spells on research work from time to time, I witnessed and experienced the inconveniences and occasional dangers attending ‘ordinary life’ in this situation. That is, one’s life circumstances were simply not ordinary and ‘everyday’.
That is why I have begun with stark pictorial reminders of these conditions before moving on to more amenable scenes from the cricket field and its immediate moments.
The LTTE had been vanquished by this stage and the cricketers had not faced any murderous threat in Mumbai during the World Cup finals (which they lost); but, two years previously, their coach and the wagon bearing cricket officials had been under serious threat from a Pakistani jihadist assault while nearing Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on 3 March 2009. Thilan Samaraweera and Paranavithana were injured, umpire Ahsan Raza was seriously wounded and the van driver died. This was a moment as serious as astonishing. The Pakistani authorities and journalists have not exposed the elements behind the assault and seem to have drawn a veil over the event. We should forget not. Ahsan Raza has recovered and returned to umpiring. The photographs below join him in reminding the world of the trauma faced by our cricketers and the officials that day. Cricketing work is not confined to adventuresome fun and tension in the field when set in such circumstances.