Bengaluru, May 2: It's like breach of yet another white bastion. Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara, one of the game's most prolific scorers, will take up the mantle of the president of the famed Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) on October 1 for a year, thus becoming the first non-British to do so in the history of the club spanning 232 years. The MCC is considered a mark of elitism of cricket's inventors and an Asian leading it certainly makes a new history.
The announcement of Sangakkara's nomination came from the incumbent Anthony Wreford at the MCC Annual General Meeting at the Lord's on Wednesday, May 1. The 41-year-old former left-hand batsman also said that it is a "huge honour" for him and he is looking forward to the role of leading the MCC, which he called the "greatest cricket club in the world".
It is not too surprising to see the Sri Lankan reaching the position for he has already been involved deeply with the club. In 2011, he had impressed the world with his powerful MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture. The statesman in Sangakkara came out when he had talked about cricket's role in healing the wounds of his island nation's decades-long civil war and also recalled the experience he and his team had on being attacked by terrorists in Lahore in 2009. Even recently, Sangakkara came out with a powerful appeal in the wake of the terror attacks in Sri Lanka that killed several hundreds.
Sangakkara joined the MCC's World Cricket Committee in 2012 and continues to be an active member of the same. Even during his playing days, Sangakkara had links with the club, either through playing for or against it on various occasions.
It is heartening to see a Sangakkara, a thinking gentleman apart from a former cricketer from these parts of the world to be chosen for such a coveted position as the president of the MCC. The door now gets open for more coloured cricketers who have alternative viewpoints of world affairs to lead one of the most revered cricket clubs and help it to get diversified for its own betterment.
As Wreford rightly said, the nomination of Sangakkara is a step towards broadening the MCC's horizons and international reputation.