Fast bowler Lasith Malinga, dubbed as the World Cup`s sexiest player, has sparked fierce debate in Sri Lanka where his body piercing, tattoos and bleached hair are not deemed "respectable."
The 23-year-old bleached-blonde was named the tournament`s sexiest cricketer by the Barbados Sunday Sun newspaper because of his "eye-catching, blond-streaked curly hairdo, eyebrow ring and tattooed biceps."
But the accolade has not gone down well with everyone in his home country.
"Those in Barbados got their wires crossed," said a reader of the state-run Daily News, Ranjith Chandrasekera.
"He is a good cricketer, but not a decent-looking gentleman."
His presentation tarnished the "respectable outlook of the rest of the team," he said, adding that Malinga should uphold the traditions of a "country boy coming from a good cultural background."
Another reader of the Daily News did not like Malinga`s appearance, but did not object too much.
"I myself was not impressed by Malinga`s hairstyle etc," wrote Romaine L.
"However, he did bring a fresh and fun attitude to the field."
Malinga`s stylist has told how he took two days to create the distinctive bleached-blond corkscrews which attracted headlines during the World Cup.
"Malinga likes to stand out, so he goes for unusual styles unlike the other well-known cricketers," said hairdresser Nishantha Jayasekera, who runs the Le Paris salon in Panadura, outside Colombo.
"Malinga has his own hair ideas and he is not afraid to try out anything new," he said. "It took me two days to get the look."
Many Sri Lankan men have already copied Malinga`s unkempt style, with imitators springing up in the island`s towns and cities.
The bowler made history during the World Cup when he became the first man to take four wickets in four balls in the Super Eights match against South Africa.