I didn't fall into match-fixing trap because of my parents, Mahanama tells Dubai cricketers
A classically correct batsman who named his autobiography 'Retired Hurt' after the unfair treatment he received from the Sri Lankan selectors forced him to retire at the age of 33, Roshan Mahanama went on to become a successful ICC match referee, officiating in the first day and night Test match in history.
And the former Sri Lankan opening batsman spent an hour on Friday morning, baring his soul as he shared his cricketing experience with the students, parents and coaches of Dubai's Tellicherry Cricket Academy through a webinar.
The parents, Mahanama said, plays the most important role in a cricketer's life before revealing that it was because of the values his father had instilled in him that stopped him from falling into the match-fixing trap.
"Without any fear, I can mention the names of three captains, Hansie Cronje, Saleem Malik and Mohammad Azharuddin, who were all penalized (in the match-fixing scandal)," Mahanama said.
"But I didn't fall into the trap. Not that we didn't have opportunities. I grew up in the environment where my parents taught me about honesty and integrity. So my father was my mentor and he was my hero."
The 1996 World Cup winner said parents should never 'exert pressure' on young cricketers.
"My parents allowed me to live my dream. They saw my passion for cricket. Parents should not exert pressure on children. The parents should guide their children and motivate them to achieve their goals. They should always encourage the kids to work hard," said Mahanama who had such success at school level that he was twice named Sri Lankan school cricketer of the year.
"I had the passion. I wanted to be the best even at the age of nine when I started playing cricket," he said.
The former Sri Lanka captain then asked the Tellicherry Cricket Academy students to take a leaf out of Nelson Mandela's book.
"I want to remind you what Nelson Mandela, one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen, once said: 'Don't judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again". So kids, just keep working hard."
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