The University of Tasmania is set to capitalise on the arrival of Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara at the Hobart Hurricanes in this season’s KFC Big Bash League.
In a partnership between the Hurricanes and the University, Sangakkara will put his name to a new scholarship which will be offered to Sri Lankan undergraduate and postgraduate students.
“The power of Kumar is huge, especially in Sri Lanka and India,” said Hurricanes general manager Michael Roberts.
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“He has a significant following through social media and the partnership with the University of Tasmania will see him undertake appearances in Sri Lanka and India as well as using him in an Ambassadorial role.
“In Australia we follow teams, but over there they follow players. We saw this first hand last year when the Hurricanes played in Sri Lanka and India as part of the Champions League. Our players at the time in Malik, Bollinger and Hilfenhaus we mobbed wherever they went”
“The Hobart Hurricanes believe we have a role in not only promoting our club but the state of Tasmania. This partnership, by using one of our players, is a key part of our strategy to take Hobart and Tasmania to the world”
“Kumar is one of world cricket’s great’s and it’s fantastic he can be involved with our university while representing the Hurricanes in the BBL. We can’t wait to have him here in December.”
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Sangakkara, who scored more than 28,000 International runs, was a student at the University of Colombo, studying law until he put his studies on hold due to the demands of his cricket career back in 1999.
He went on to become a great of the sport, winning countless international awards including ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2012, Test Cricketer of the Year in 2012, and ODI Cricketer of the Year in 2011 and 2013.
He was also named the Wisden Leading Cricketer in 2011 and 2015 and was the youngest person and the first active international player to deliver the Cowdrey lecture, which was widely praised by the cricketing community.
"This is our 125th year and, as a university of global standing and impact, we have had a strong focus on our international ties," said UTAS Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mike Calford.
"There are many similarities between Sri Lanka and Tasmania: we are islands of similar size with diverse economies including a robust tourist sector," he said.
"Our cultures are very different but there are many things which bind us, such as a love of cricket.
"It is fitting Sri Lanka has given the game Kumar Sangakkara, just as Tasmania has given the game another modern great, Ricky Ponting."