Dubai: Sportsmen have long been known for their entrepreneurship and business savvy, so it comes as no surprise to learn that Sri Lankan cricketers Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have entered the sometimes-lucrative restaurant business.
The multi-record setting pair, who are also best friends, have launched with much fanfare a seafood speciality restaurant called Ministry of Crab in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.
For their new venture, Jayawardene and Sangakkara will leave their cricket gear aside and instead focus on dishing out delicious food made with the Island’s famed sweet and succulent crabs.
Describing themselves as “foodies through and through” on their official website, they promise a unique culinary experience to keep their customers coming back for more in a celebration of Sri Lanka’s best and most exquisite seafood.
Jayawardene says: “Ministry of Crab is a maiden innings for me, and I hope this partnership with my long-time batting partner Kumar and our new coach Dharshan (Munidasa) will be a knockout. Hope you all will be bowled over.”
Sangakkara, meanwhile, describes the outlet as a celebration of Sri Lankan heritage.
“For me, this is the realisation of my dream to be part of a culinary experience that I hope will enthral your taste buds and leave you happy and wanting more,” he says on the Ministry’s website.
Ministry of Crab is the first restaurant in Sri Lanka committed to serving export-quality Sri Lankan crabs, as well as the island’s best seafood, locally.
Jayawardene and Sangakkara famously set a world record for the highest partnership in first-class cricket when scoring 624 runs for the third wicket against South Africa at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo in July 2006.
However, they are not the first cricketers to venture into the restaurant business.
Contemporary Indian cricket idol Sachin Tendulkar teamed up with famous hotelier Sanjay Narang of Mars Group to open two hotels in Kolaba and Mulund in Mumbai. His hotels are named “Sachin’s” and “Tendulkar’s” .The hotels are upmarket, stylish, and serve vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. The India legend has also opened a third hotel in Bangalore.
Kolkota-based former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly has also become a successful businessman following the launch of his highly luxurious “Sourav’s – The Food Pavillion”, where a seafood meal could set you back no less than Rs 1500 (Dh 150).
Former World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev is believed to be the first cricketer to have entered into the food industry. He owns successful restaurants in the north of India which specialise in Indian, Chinese, Thai and Pakistani food.
Another cricketer-turned-restaurateur is Ajay Jadeja, who struck pay dirt with an Italian-style restaurant, while fast bowler Zahir Khan is also a successful hotelier with his “ZK’s”, famous for its biryani.
Dashing opening batsman Virender Sehwag has not been left behind with his vegetarian restaurants reportedly doing well.