The match goes on……. The Middle Stump project organized by the Sports and Entertainment Avenue of the Rotaract Club of University of Kelaniya was successfully launched last week, the19th Of October, 2021. The project was chaired by Rtr. Shaikh Dawood and Rtr. Duleetha Sandaruwan.
A session filled with moments that made you nostalgic and gave you goosebumps, captioned: “A power play with a boundary rider” was thus held with a player who is immortal in the hearts of cricket fans, Mr. Kumara Dharmasena. Despite experiencing the event in a virtual space where some might think the interest is less and less, Middle Stump was successful in holding 300+ enthusiastic cricket lovers for an unfelt amount of time especially with the huge cooperation and clear enthusiasm of the moderator, Rtr. Osura Vindula throughout the session.
The event was packed with iconic photos and videos of Mr. Dharmasena’s cricketing career. As guided by our fellow moderator, we were taken to a flashback of Mr. Dharmasena’s childhood which was the threshold of his entrance to cricket. He had been a player in the prestigious Nalanda College, Colombo for the teams of under 14, under 17, under 19 categories and had even been the Captain for his under 19 team in 1990. We were subsequently driven to the most awaited moment by the audience, the story of his participation and contribution to the 1996 World Cup won by Sri Lanka. It included the stress that the Sri Lankan team had faced after the bomb in ‘96 when countries such as Australia and West Indies even refused to visit Sri Lanka for matches. Among such difficulties with time, Sri Lanka secured the World Cup proudly to herself. The feelings behind the procuring of the World Cup to Sri Lanka were expressed thus by Mr. Dharmasena:
“We did not understand the value of the victory we had brought to Sri Lanka until we got off from the plane and saw the enormous crowd waiting for us at the Bandaranaike Airport. It took almost four hours for us to get back to the Cricket Board. We had to stop at every junction and street to see the crowds waiting with garlands and crackers to welcome us. It almost seemed like a May day rally”
With these warm conversations regarding unforgettable memories of the national cricket team of Sri Lanka, we also got the opportunity to learn and gather knowledge about a very important but not very known topic which is “umpiring”. Currently being an umpire himself Mr. Kumara Dharmasena further narrated a beautiful and exemplary journey he had in achieving his dream of being an umpire and how he managed to enter the Elite Panel of ICC in 2010, bringing a great fame to our country. We also had the golden opportunity to know the exquisite stories behind umpiring and the immense hard work and responsibility behind becoming an umpire. One of the most crucial lessons Mr. Dharmasena reminded us was to trust yourself, to be honest to yourself in order to become a successful person and maintain your self-esteem and pride by always doing an honest and truthful job.
When knowledge about cricket flowed into our hearts, we were also fed with the most beautiful moments under a separate segment titled “Fun Segment” where we got to know the story behind Mr. Kumar Dharmasena’s nickname “Unanduwa”. And the truth behind some of his viral social media posts. Thereafter, there was a Fan Moment where the questions of the cricket fanatics were unveiled to Mr. Kumar Dharmasena.
The final moments of the virtual discussion with the star cricket personality, Mr. Kumar Dharmasena ended with his blessings to the Rotaract Club of University Kelaniya for organizing an event in such a way that it brought about tranquility and a break from the entrapped & monotonous lives that everyone was spending at home due to the current pandemic situation. The Middle Stump session for the day was thus concluded with memories of happiness and the promise of meeting again for another session with yet another legend of the sport on the 27th of September!
~Rtr. Dehemi Marasinghe~