Cricket is a gentlemen’s game, truly said. But there are rare stories in which someone who had played this gentlemen’s game has to face the financial problem. Such is the story of Upul Chandana, a Sri Lankan leggie who faced such a dramatic change in his fortune and is now running a sports goods shop in order to feed his family.
What’s the entire story?
According to an Indian Express report, Upul Chandana’s shop, named as Chandana’s cricket shop, is located inside the Nondescripts Cricket Club. But alongside cricket equipment, it also sells table tennis racquets, jogging shoes and tennis balls.
Chandana hadn’t become part of playing XI for a major part of his career until he reinvented himself as a bowling all-rounder that his stock improved. He was mainly limited to ODI cricket in the Sri Lankan team. Though he was a part of the Sri Lankan team which won the 1996 Cricket World Cup held in India.
Reasons behind his present situation:-
The main reason behind Upul’s present situation was an ill advised move to unofficially join the Indian Cricket League. He was not only slapped with a ban but also didn’t get the full amount of the contract.
“It was a stupid decision. The next year, they started the IPL, and they still owe me 60,000 USD,” Chandana told to Indian Express. He further told that there were two reasons he set up the stall. The first, of course, was financial. The second reason was a bit emotional.
“In my childhood in Galle, we played with one ball for months. There was no sports store and we had little money. Even the schools couldn’t afford it. The first time I held a cricket ball, my fingers almost went inside the ball. It was almost two separate pieces. So I decided one day when I grow up I’d open a sports store,” Chandana reported as saying.
Some stats and achievements of his career:-
He played 147 ODIs and 16 Tests, his uncanny leg-breaks purchasing 151 wickets at 31 runs apiece, and all the while scoring breezy half-centuries and affecting sharp catches and run-outs, like his bullet sing from the deep cover that once got rid of Azhar Mahmood.
What’s more, he outshone Brian Lara’s century and Chris Gayle’s 94 while orchestrating a 300-plus chase in Bridgetown with a hard-hitting 92. But he was unlucky to be one of only two players in the 1996 World Cup-winning squad who didn’t get a game. The other was Marvan Atapattu.
His only regret is not playing the IPL. “Not because it pays you so well, but it was the sort of cricket I liked. Non-stop hitting, aggressive bowling and sharp fielding. It would have been perfect for my style of..,” he lamented.
Chandana announced his retirement from cricket in 2007 after finishing the Bangladesh tour. The ban on him was only lifted in September 2008; a little too late for him.
It is quite saddening that one mistake cost Upul his whole career. He had some good stats during his career. His present situation considering the fact that he was part of the world cup winning squad is pitiable.
In India, Sreesanth is one such player, who was part of two world cup winning teams, banned by BCCI for a lifetime due to his involvement in the spot- fixing in IPL. His ban was yesterday lifted by Kerala high court. Hope, he will play for India again.