'Follow Sachin, Murali and you won’t go wrong'
Be humble and grounded. I have not seen a more modest person than Sachin Tendulkar and Muttiah Muralitharan. Just try and emulate them and there's no way you can go wrong. That's the advice Kumar Sangakkara has for all the youngsters fast-tracked into the glam and glitzy world by the Indian Premier League.
The sudden exposure to big money and fame has left many fearing that it could distract youngsters and lead them astray. The cricketers, however, prefer to see the glass half full rather than half empty, suggesting youngsters stand to gain more than lose from the opportunity presented to them.
The Sri Lankan wicketkeeper batsman believes that there is nothing wrong with the money and glamour that has come along with this opportunity. "Players will have to realise that they have been put into this position to better their skills and look beyond IPL and represent their countries. So the focussed and grounded individuals would surely handle the situation and use it for becoming a better cricketer," said Sangakkara.
Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan skipper, too feel the youngsters would benefit a lot from this exposure. "Why do we see just money and adulation, why don't we see the opportunity and how it could change them as a cricketer and as a person," he shoots back, when asked if all this could distract youngster.
He, however, is too wise to not see the pitfalls, but opts to view it from a different perspective. "Look, it's indeed a challenge for them, and they will certainly make mistakes. But then who doesn't make mistakes; everyone does, I made a lot of them when I was young. But the good players will learn from them and walk ahead. So we just need to be patient with them, it's a cycle that we must accept" he said. "And as long as they will have seniors and others in the team showing them the ropes and boundaries, I think they should be fine," he said.
The views of the youngsters themselves too are not much different from those of the seasoned campaigners. "I don't think I have changed one bit in my approach and attitude towards the game and things in general. If there's been any change, it must have been for the better only as we are learning so much from the big cricketers around us," said Tanmay Srivastav. The youngster feels that the fame and money that came along with IPL has raised the expectations from them, making them even more serious and responsible.
Shaun Marsh, the Australian youngster, who has been awestruck by the popularity and adulation for cricketers, feels people here are madly in love with their cricketers, but one still can't afford to lose focus. "Look the game ensures you stay level headed. The moment you tend to be cocky, you will soon find yourself crashed on the ground," he said.