With Dignity And Class! A Tribute To Marvan Atapattu.

© Top Spin By Suni ~ For LankaWeb Cricket

Former Sri Lanka skipper Marvan Atapattu, one of most stylish and technically correct batsmen Sri Lanka has ever produced who scored six double hundreds in his glittering 88-match Test career with ten more centuries and fifteen half centuries appears to have had a raw deal at the hands of the Sri Lankan selectors who seem to have a degree of notoriety about how they treat senior players in the twilight of their careers! with more than mere indifference, completely casting aside past histories and track records and in the case of Atapattu brilliant, exciting and enviable! that is until he ran into a spate of injuries and the misfortunes which appear to have followed him ever since.

There may be a response of defiance fom those criticized here that Marvan's status and track record was not a priority for Sri lankan cricket with a plethora of brilliant young blood available and that he has been stifled by competition which may be to a degree admissable but it is the simple manner in which he was shoved into a figurative corner that irks those who feel Marvan deserved much better despite his replacement Mahela Jayawardena rising to the occassion and taking over the mantle of glory as one of Sri Lanka's finest skippers after the premature redundancy of Marvan Atapattu who still cannot be ignored in the manner he was and case in point for the posterity of Sri Lankan cricket !!

It is saddening that the glory of someone who contributed so much to Sri Lankan cricket could be overlooked, treated with indifference and deprived of a chance to get back into high gear once he recovered from his injuries.The psychological impositions posed on him by the neglect and at times unwarranted hounding by the selectors are somewhat shameful especially bearing to mind that this was a former Sri Lankan captain who thrilled spectators around the globe when he was at the crease as well as being a brilliant close in fielder who truly needs to be accolladed as one of Sri Lanka's finest and compensated for the misgivings of the bourgeoisie Sri Lankan Selectors some of whom probably never played real representative cricket or knows zilch about the protocols relating to the gentlemen's game bearing to mind the manner in which another great Sri Lanka cricketer the magical Aravinda de Silva who was phased out and forced to quit almost in disgust and never even offered the plaudits and tributes he deserved officially as many remember him walking away from the crease somewhat sadly for the last time in a previous World Cup never to be seen again at the highesty level of competition !

Getting back to Marvan Atapattu, after being ignored at the World Cup and the series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, he was recalled for the recently-concluded series against Bangladesh, but, perhaps justifiably declined the invitation and opted to continue playing for a local league Lashings in England in deference to his signed contract with the Sri Lankan Cricket Board where he was very nearly incarcerated but let go with a warning. He last played for Sri Lanka against India at Visakhapatnam on February 17, 2007.

It can be safely concluded that in the case of Atapattu in particular he has been hounded into submission by Sri Lankan selectors and has now decided to sever his contract with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) quite overlooking that famous adage "They Also Serve Those Who Stand And Wait"~ albeit not Ad Infinitum! pausing brieflty to ponder over the merits of joining the recently formed rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL)which he has prudently by-passed and is reported to have chosen to continue his cricket career in South Africa. A senior South Africa Cricket Board member has indicated that Atapattu contacted the Board and indicating a desire to get involved in provincial cricket in South Africa as a playing coach for one of the more prestigious local leagues there! He last played for Sri Lanka against India at Visakhapatnam on February 17, 2007.

He will be remembered for his soft spoken, gentlemanly demeanor, cheerful disposition and most importantly the grace and style of his batting as well as his brilliance as a fielder and will go down in the annals of Sri Lankan cricket as a truly great player! In tribute to Marvan Atapattu it can surely be said ~ "For When That Great Reporter Comes, To Write Against His Name. He Asks Not If He Won Or Lost But How He Played The Game!"

That he did! With Dignity and Class!

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