Catholic journalist launches cricket book
Self-styled 'voice of the voiceless' pens book of cricket highlights
Sri Lankans Muttiah Muralitharan (L) and Tillakaratne Dilshan appeal for a wicket during their World Cup match against New Zealand on March 18
ucanews.com reporter, Desmond Samith,
March 25, 2011
In the run-up to Sri Lanka's cricket world cup quarter-final match against England on March 26, won by the Sri Lankans, a devout ex-seminarian and sports writer launched a book of the team's highlights in Colombo.
Rex Clementine, a parishioner at Sts. Peter and Paul church at Ragama in the archdiocese of Colombo and sports editor of The Island newspaper, has written 'From Rags to Riches – Memorable World Cup Moments of Sri Lanka’.
Clementine, 34, is an ex-seminarian of the congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI). Some 35 priests and religious brothers were seen among the 150 or so gathering at the launch of the book. Also among them were present and former cricketers as well as cricket administrators.
Clementine is known to be a journalist who writes about social issues in sport and is a harsh critic of the cricket administration which is often accused of financial mismanagement.
“With Rex, there’s never going to be smooth sailing. With him, and I can vouch for that personally, no one will be able to escape investigation, inspection and analysis and at, sometimes, his displeasure,” said Sri Lanka cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara, giving the keynote address at the launch of the book in Colombo on March 21.
“I have also been at times on the receiving end of his praise and also his criticism. That’s something that I always have admired in Rex,” said Sangakkara.
“I believe seeing a more personal side of you today with your faith as your foundation; I see you doing greater things in the future,” Sangakkara added.
Clementine said the lives of the prophets Jeremiah and Amos in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible influenced him as a youth.
“Those prophets preached about social justice. And when I was learning Christianity I held those characters as central figures for my life. As a journalist I think my call is to be a voice to the voiceless.”
The disparity and corruption found in the third world is seen in cricket administration too, Clementine said. "The cricket board in Sri Lanka is one of the richest institutions in the country where transactions involving millions of dollars take place,” he said.
“It’s our role to ensure fair play as journalists.”
A former sports minister once labeled Sri Lanka's cricket board as the third most corrupt institution in the country.
Clementine, in addition to pinpointing wrongdoings by the sports administrators, has also written about deserving cricketers who are always sidelined when it comes to team selections.
Leading up to the World Cup Clementine also featured in a popular TV talk show which focused on the country’s preparation of grounds for matches, and how the administrators were not transparent in their dealings.