(19th July 2012,Cricturf) : The Sommerset Ventures Chairman Mr.Sandiip Bhammer gave a worth to read speech with some of his own experiences at the SLPL launch in Colombo. Thought this might be a nice one to share among all the readers. Below is the speech in written format and the video is available too.
"Thank you ladies and gentlemen for giving me the opportunity to stand here and speak to you today as Ch airman of SEV. I vividly remember that moment as if it were yesterday... I was still in school, short of being 15 years of age, and was a senior member of my school cricket team playing in the U-15 school-boys finals match. I was asked by the bowler (an off-spinner, wh o was famous in our team, for his flighted deliveries), upon the fall of a wicket, to go before he delivered his next ball and stand (before the next batsman walked in), at that most “dreaded” position...silly mid-on...which I did respectfully as any fielder should when told by the bo wler. Out comes the next batsman, a cherubic lad who had already become famous in cricketing circles for his performances in that same very tournament and for breaking international records as far as school cricket was concerned (something which I and other members of my team were totally oblivious to – since we were all too busy either playing cricket ourselves, or, when not on the field, attending to our studies). If I had known who was walking out to bat and what that batsman’s stature was going to be in world cricket in the coming years, I would have been much more vigilant as what was to happen in the next few minutes ended up defining my view of cricket and how my team mates perceived me from thereon in terms of my contributions to cricket.
As it were, the batsman walking in was none other than the great Sachin Tendulkar and much to my embarrassment, and horror, I ended up dropping him off his very first ball when he was on a “duck”. I share this with you because even though it would have been normal to have looked back at that moment in my life in a negative manner as a story meant to be forgotten, it has become, funnily enough, one of my most precious and pleasurable moments in my life history. To say to people that I played with, and even dropped one of the world’s greatest batsmen when he was on zero, is something that I cherish speaking about...the point of this story is not to harp on what a great cricketer I was (because I clearly wasn’t) but because I want to share with all of you how much I love cricket. I have loved it since I was a boy and will continue to love it until the very end of my life.
It is in this context that I’d like to say that I have been fortunate that, in my working life, I have been able to focus on my lifelong passion for cricket and my other passion, Sri Lanka, which actually, and coincidentally, began with Sri Lanka winning the Cricket World Cup in 1996. I remember clearly as a college going boy in the US, going to the local sport store and buying a blue and yellow t-shirt (Sri Lanka jerseys weren’t easily available then, and particularly not in the US, as Sri Lanka had still not stamped its authority on world cricket) as a Sri Lankan supporter, wearing it with pride and I still vividly remember high fiving everyone who watched that match with me when Arjuna Ranatunga held up that much coveted World Cup trophy and which Aravinda de Silva kissed soon thereafter. Even today, when I think of that moment, its stuff that makes for creation of goose bumps on my arms. To combine both, my love of cricket and that of Sri Lanka into one concept through the Sri Lanka Premier League, is a dream come true for me.
And not just for me, for all the other members of my team as well. I say confidently that they all love cricket and they love Sri Lanka. We have spent the last 2 years working very hard and making numerous sacrifices to getting to what we sincerely believe shall be a “great” twenty20 cricket tournament. Yes, we may have a few hiccups along the way, and yes, not everything shall be perfect, but it will be Sri Lanka’s own internationally watched and much admired domestic tournament. What you see today and will see every year for the next 7 years is a result of that combined effort between SLC and ourselves and one that has been an ongoing on for almost 2 years now. To assist SLC to create and deliver this tournament, as SLC’s marketing partners, and to see everything falling into place is a dream come true. And to see it all happening in Sri Lanka is even more pleasurable. Sri Lanka, very rightly, deserves to be seen in the international limelight - after a 30 year history of war – it’s now Sri Lanka’s turn to bask in glory - It’s a nation with a lot of undiscovered and hidden beauty, and it’s about time that the world took serious notice of this beautiful and proud country, its golden beaches, its green tea estates, its glorious architecture and most of all, it’s wonderful and friendly and warm people. Ladies and gentlemen, Sri Lanka is awesome. Period. And if the SLPL will would allow for the world to stand up and take further notice of this glorious land, I think our job would have been well done. With this, we would like to thank each and every one of you, and in particular, members of Sri Lanka Cricket and members of the press and esteemed cricketers, for being here and for giving us this opportunity to be a part of this wonderful experience".
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