Garry Sobers Feted in Sri Lanka in October, 2015

NEWS ITEM ONE: …. Sri Lanka welcomes Sobers ….

One of the world’s legendary cricketers, Sir Garfield (Gary) Sobers, arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday to a warm welcome. Sobers’ visit coincides with the ongoing Sri Lanka-West Indies Test series where a trophy to honour him along with the island’s ex-captain Michael Tissera will be awarded to the winners.

Sri Lanka won the first Test in Galle by an innings and eight runs and Sobers’ appearance may be just what his team would need in the second and deciding match which commences at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo on Thursday.

Sobers became a household name in Sri Lanka after he made Test cricket’s then highest individual score of 365 not out in 1957/58 in Bridgetown, Barbados against Pakistan. He also became the first player to hit six sixes in one over when playing for Nottinghamshire in an English county cricket match when he smashed Glamorgan’s spinner Malcolm Nash for six sixes in one over in 1968. He is also remembered for his epic knock of 254 for the Rest of the World team against Australia, led by Ian Chappell at Melbourne in 1971.

When he toured Sri Lanka in 1967, he scored a brilliant century (115) in a Windies total of 549 for 8 declared in the Unofficial test at the Colombo Oval along with Basil Butcher (152) and Clive Lloyd (138).

Soon after Sri Lanka gained test status in 1981, he was invited to coach the Sri Lanka National team and one of his products, Arjuna Ranatunga went on to represent the country as an 18 year old in the inaugural test against England at the P. Sara Oval in February 1982 in which he scored 54 runs.

Sri Lanka Cricket Chairman Sidat Wettimuny was at hand along with several officials to welcome Sobers yesterday.

See more at:

NEW ITEM TWO:  Rex Clementine: “Sobers laughs, cries, reminisces and talks cricket,” October 22, 2015,

Sir Garfield Sobers and Michael Tissera arrive to attend a media briefing in Colombo ahead of the second Test between West Indies and Sri Lanka. Pic by Dimuth Premaratne. 


by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka Cricket Chairman Sidath Wettimuny introduced Sir Garfield Sobers as world’s greatest all-rounder and the greatest story teller and the former West Indian legend proved why as he kept a packed audience spell bound for over an hour before the Sobers-Tissera trophy was unveiled yesterday.

The suggestion of naming the Sri Lanka–West Indies Test series after Sir Garry and former Sri Lanka captain Michael Tissera was put forward by former Tamil Union President, Dinal Philips, and SLC was quick to grab the idea.

Sir Garry who arrived in Colombo on Monday addressed the media yesterday and discussed a range of topics from his playing days, night cricket and Twenty 20.

Responding to a query by The Island on the Big Three, Sir Garry quipped, ‘What is Big Three? and looked as if he knew only the Three Ws. But minutes later cleverly drove home the point when he said that countries like South Africa needed to have a larger say in governance of cricket.

Sir Garry also spoke of his coaching stint with Sri Lanka and added that when he left in 1983, he was convinced that the country will become a major force in world cricket in ten years. He added that it wasn’t a surprise for him that Sri Lanka won the ICC Cricket World Cup in 1996.

Wettimuny, who played under the former West Indian captain, said, “With Sir Garry around, we felt like that we were behind a king. When I was in Australia, Gamini Dissanayake came over and said that he was going to England to apply for Test status. I was really excited.” Sir Garry said. “Sri Lanka had some quality players and Michael Tissera was one of them. I remember Sir Frank Worrell used to talk a lot about him.”

“When I came to coach in 1982, I was told about a young kid. Then I went to the ground and saw him bat and I was truly amazed about this boy’s talent. He is Arjuna Ranatunga,” Sir Garry added. “You had a very good coaching structure when I took charge. W.A.N. Silva had done a wonderful job as a coach. My job as coach of Sri Lanka was simple. It was to brain wash people that they can face fast bowlers without much trouble. Well, I knew they had the technique, perhaps they lacked self-belief.

A journalist asked Sir Garry whether he had heard about Mahadevan Sathasivam. “Well, I used to drink with him,” replied Sobers.

He was in tears when discussing the current status of West Indies cricket. “Twenty-20 has taken its toll. It has affected West Indian cricket more than any other nation. Countries like England have managed to control the amount of players playing the IPL. We haven’t been able to do that.”

“Twenty-20 is destroying world cricket. When we played, the only incentive we had was visiting countries like Australia, England and Pakistan. We knew if we did well, we had a chance to visit Australia. There was no money at that point. Today, the players know that the IPL is just around the corner.

Michael Tissera, who has held various positions at Sri Lanka Cricket over the last 40 years, was introduced by Wettimuny as a player whom he wanted to follow as a youngster. Tissera speaking at the event said that had there been more players like Sir Garry today there was no need for Match Referees or Third Umpires.


Statue of Sobers outside the Kensington Crikcet grounds in Bridgetown, Barbados



1 Comment

Filed under accountability, art & allure bewitching, charitable outreach, cricket for amity, cultural transmission, heritage, landscape wondrous, life stories, patriotism, performance, pilgrimages, Sri Lankan cricket, sri lankan society, unusual people

One response to “Garry Sobers Feted in Sri Lanka in October, 2015

  1. Daya Wickramatunga.

    We were very fortunate to have had Garry Sobers, one of the World’s best cricketers to coach our cricketers, when Sri Lanka gained ICC status. We need to thank Hon.Gamini Dissanayake for helping Sri Lanka to gain the ICC status. It is a pity that Gamini Dissanayake had to die early. We lack politicians of his calibre today.

Leave a Reply