Saluting the other Kumar

Rex Wijewardena, in The Island, 11 May 2015, with title “Let’s salute the other Kumar”

Sri Lanka’s hopes in the ICC Cricket World Cup crashed at the hands of South Africa on that fateful day in Sydney. The much anticpated quarter-final clash ended in an anti climax with the Sri Lankans gifting a part-time spin bowler a hat-trick. While the Sri Lankans had lost interest in the rest of the tournament once their team crashed out, the elevation of our own Kumar Dharmasena to officiate the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup at MCG was truly a honour.

Kumar became the first man in the history to play in a World Cup final and to umpire a World Cup final.

Kumar has had several highs as an international umpire having started his career in 2008. He won the ICC Umpire of the Year award in 2012 and alongside Aleem Dar officiated an Ashes encounter in 2013 at Trent Bridge.

The atmosphere at the MCG for the finals was electrifying as more than 91,000 fans turned out, a record in Australia. Kumar wasn’t overawed by the occasion and kept his cool in doing an excellent job.

All Sri Lankans are proud of you for bringing honour to your motherland. Like your namesake Kumar Sangakkara, who achieved world fame and glory in the playing fields of international cricket, you have made the country proud by being one of the finest umpires in the world.

Rex Wijewardena lives in Dehiwala

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