Asgiriya Stadium: Ground which gave birth to a Sri Lankan legend

Kumar Sangakkara

Kumar Sangakkara visiting the Trinity College in Kandy to attend a function. Image Source: XtraTime

Debasis Sen, Pallekele: Very few International cricket stadiums around the world is owned by a college. Trinity College in Kandy will rank amongst the top. Firstly, the Asgiriya stadium was the venue for Sri Lanka’s second home Test, in 1983 and secondly the ground gave birth to a legend called Kumar Sangakkara. It is also the same stadium which saw another Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan break Shane Warne’s record for the most Test wickets in 2007.

The picturesque location chiseled out of the hillside for almost 100 years no more hosts international fixtures ever since the state of the art stadium at Pallekele was built for the 2011 World Cup.

The most famous Old Trinitian is Kumar Sangakkara, who grew up playing here. He is one of the few sportsmen in the world who can say they have been involved in an international match on their school ground. Easily the greatest ambassador for Sri Lankan cricket, Sanga still visits his college whenever he is in the country.

“At least once a year he makes it a point to visit here if he is in the country. He was here a few months back as a chief guest for the school cricket championships final,” says Milinda Jayawerdena, the secretary of the Old Trinitian School Club.

Not only Sangakkara, Trinity College has seen some big names going on to represent their country. Few prominent names include, Ravi Ratnayeke, who was among the first wave for Sri Lanka when they won Test status in 1982, as did Kaushalya Weeraratne and the current Test cricketers, Niroshan Dickwella and Lahiru Kumara.

Apparently Sangakkara still comes for to Trinity College from time to time.

According to Milinda, “Whenever he comes to Kandy, he still makes a visit to the college and interacts with the school cricketers and rugby players. He also gives them motivational speeches.

Totally different from the majority of modern stadia, Asgiriya is infinitely more charming – if also a little decrepit. Imagine a bustling crowd, the sound of a band playing, and the old place would surely spring to life.

By Debasis Sen

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