Sri Lanka Tourism has hosted the official launch of ‘An Island’s Eleven’, a book written by British sports journalist Nicholas Brookes following a thorough research of cricket in the island.
The book has won the ‘Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year’ award for 2023 and the ‘Wisden Book of the year’ by the Wisden Cricketers Almanac.
Its launch took place on May 02 at Mt. Lavinia Hotel under the patronage of British high commissioner Sarah Hulton as the chief guest and high commissioner for New Zealand Michael Appleton as the guest of honour.
Former cricketer Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau chairman Chalaka Gajabahu and the book’s author as well as an audience of cricketing legends, commentators, diplomats, travel agents, hoteliers and tourism officials were in attendance.
Nicholas is a cricket enthusiast, writer and analyst who falls into the category of those who were fascinated by the island destination and its cricket alike, such as Tony Greig and Harsha Bhogle.
He explained how he started writing the book by doing thorough research on Sri Lanka’s cricket history at the library at Lord’s, and his first visit to the island in 2017 convinced him it was a project well worth the effort.
All those whom he met in Sri Lanka had a story to tell, and he further learnt the true meaning of Sri Lankan hospitality.
During his stay in Sri Lanka, Nicholas was able to learn a lot about Sri Lankan culture and also taught at S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia for a short period.
His notable remark was that Sri Lanka is cricket and cricket is Sri Lanka, and there is no other nation in the world where cricket is almost the second religion, due to its immense popularity among the locals.
Copies of his books were handed over to the guests.
High commissioner Appleton made a short but informative expression on the book, and Sri Lanka cricket in general.
He stressed that Sri Lanka’s moment of glory was winning the 1996 world cup, which brought down all the cricketing giants including England, Australia and India.
The book is all about a little nation winning over the big countries.
He recalled how Sri Lanka won its first overseas Test match in 1995, what he expressed as reasons for Sri Lanka’s victory were persistence and innovation.
He said that innovation was crucial when being underdogs of cricket, and coming up as a small nation.
He also commended the friendliness of the Sri Lankans which were not seen in many countries.
The national pride which Sri Lankans have for their country was also mentioned, and if anyone needs to go to a country in South Asia where cricket is the national sport, it’s Sri Lanka.
He further reiterated the cricket enthusiasm of Sri Lankans coming to watch the Australia-Sri Lanka series, coming together to cheer for their team even when the country was going through a turbulent time.
Legendary commentators including Ranjith Fernando, Michael Tissera, Premasara Epasinghe and cricketing giants like Brendon Kuruppu, Michael Tissera, Mevan Peiris, Mano Ponniah, Lionel Gunasekara, L,R. Goonethilleke, L.C.R. Wijesinghe and Yajna Tyagarajah, daughter of M. Sathasivam and Apsari Thilakarathne were among the distinguished participants.