Brain Drain. From Ceylon to Sri Lanka, 1962/63 to 2013

CEYLON UNICKT TEAM 62-63 Correcting The Island, this is the Pool of Ceylon Cricketers at a trial match in 1969; but its main point remains: The Ceylon  pool players included seven doctors and some of them were part of the Sara Trophy winning Uni-of-Ceylon team of 1962/63.

Standing L – R: BN Mahmood, , Lareef Idroos, C Balakrishna, T B Kehelgamuwa, Gulam Razeek, Daya Sahabandu, Mevan Pieris, Nihal Gurusinghe, Nihal Soysa, KM Nelson, Sunil Wettimuny, Cyril Ernest, V Sivananthan.
Seated  L – RSylvestor Dias, David Heyn, Neil Chanmugam, Fitzroy Crozier, Dhanasiri Weerasinghe, Buddy Reid, Michael Tissera, HIK Fernando, Abu Fuard, Anuruddha Polonowita, Anura Tennekoon, Ranjit Fernando.
Ground: Sriyantha Rajapakse, Peter Samarasinghe.

Thanks to Mevan Pieris for the listing.

But where are they now?  SEE  “Talent Abundant. The All-Conquering University of Ceylon Cricket Team of 1962/63″

Studying the photograph I have realised that it depicts the pool of players vying for a spot in the Ceylon XV and that the anonymous author wished to stress that the pool included seven medicoes from the team that went on to win the SARA TROPHY that season. Fair enough –but the picture shows Ranjit fernando on extreme right (as we face the photo) and such individuals as Neil Chanmugam and HIK Fernando. HIK was a medico and played for the Uni of Ceylon but may have been playing for a club in 1962/63. Neil Chanmugam –in the photo seated  third from left –was at Uni but I think he left before completing his degree to join the mercantile sector.  Buddy Reid and michael Tissera are seated in the centre as far as I can tell. Michael Roberts


Michael, Yes indeed the photograph is not directly related to the university team. As you correctly say this is a photo of the national pool of cricket.There are many who never saw the inside of a university. Since Anura Tennekoon, Sriyantha Rajapakse, Sunil Wettimuny and I are all in it,it is a photograph taken in the late 1960s. Anura played for SriLanka as a schoolboy, I think in 1966 against Joe Lister’s side. Sunil was younger than us and left Ananda around 1969. I think this photo would have been taken around 1969. I remember bowling at Balakrisna and Buddy Reid in the trial matches played at the CCC and SSC and shattering the stumps of both batsmen. HIK played for Sri Lanka for the last time that year. I think it was the year when Tony Lewis brought a team.

It may be better if you title the photo more appropriately as “Sri Lanka National Cricket Pool in late 1960s, carrying several ex- university cricketers“.\


BUDDY REID at Lady Ridgeway in 1965 … tallest guy centre standing

Lady Ridgeway 1965 with thanks to Dr Susiri Weerasekera


Hi Michael,
Thanks for the picture of the Ceylon Pool players that you had sent under the caption of your article mentioning brain drain of Ceylon Medicos.
The picture that you sent is of the pool of Ceylon cricketers of that time from which the
eleven players were selected to play against MCC captained by Colin Cowdrey. The year was 1969. Michael Tissera captained the Ceylon side and this was the first time that Ceylon beat MCC in a one day game played in Ceylon. As far as I can recall , the team comprised of – Michael Tissera, Buddy Reid, Anura Tennekoon, Dhanasiri Weerasinghe, Ranjit Fernando, Daya Sahabandu, TB Kehelgamuwa, Ghulam Razick, myself, V. Sivanandan, and A. Polonowita or Fitzroy Crozier. I got the wickets of Colin Cowdrey and Basil D’oliviera. Ghulam Razick got the winning hit. It was a great win as I recall. Only Buddy Reid and myself were the 2 medical doctors in the team. Sivanandan was a Veterinarian doc.
The University team won the Sara Trophy championship in 1962/63 season, under the captaincy of Carlyle Perera. This team had numerous medicos – Carlyle, Buddy, URP Goonetilleke, Nihal Gurusinghe, Lareef Idroos, Mohanlal Fernando, Harsha Samarajeewa and myself. The non medicos were Mano Ponniah, NJS De Mel and V. Sivanandan and also Nanda Senanayake. Kittha Wimalaratne and Adiel Anghie played off and on and were both medicos. I hope this would help clear the confusion re medical doctors representing Ceylon. The other doctors who had played on the Ceylon sides of yore included the great HIK Fernando, C. Balakrishnan, N. Gurusinghe, Sarath Wimalaratne, Sarath Seneviratne, Lareef Idroos among others.
Cyril Ernest.

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