I grew up following your ideals, I am so grateful that you pulled me close. Sanga may have more numbers than you, but ask either of us—you are the best batsman in Sri Lanka’s history. Your influence on Sri Lankan cricket is unparalleled, you have shown us the way.
Being in the sleep cordon with you is also a lesson for me. Usually you would stand at first slip, talk about how the batsman was doing. I remember how you used to describe their weaknesses and which of our bowlers would get them out. Vasi (Chaminda Bhas) bowled inside and that was it, as you said. What a great thing!
Of course, I can’t say for sure if your club mates had such a good time with you. I still remember how much I laughed at the stories Sanga told you when we were together in Nondescript. Whether it was taking off your shoes at first slip so that someone else could run after a ball that went out through the cordon or ripping bread from your pocket—there never seemed to be a dull moment. Speaking of our time, I can tell you out loud, I can’t even come close to you when it comes to partying! I learned quickly though!
Of course, when it came time to perform national duties on the field, there was undoubtedly no one more serious than you. We are actually the first generation to grow up in that fitness culture. Remember, you highlighted to us the importance of the game changing all the time.
You deserve a place in the ICC Hall of Fame. I am really proud, now four of us are here to raise the flag of Sri Lanka. Your place in Sri Lankan cricket folklore is ripe. There are really no words to thank you for the impact you have had on my career on and off the field.
Congratulations, my friend.