Ceylon’s Sporting Magicians at Cricket from the 1950s & 1960s

This photograph of several sporting personalities in Sri Lanka’s past reached me via Lorenz Pereira this week  — prompting me to locate pictorial ‘grabs’ from their cricketing past from the rambling records of Thuppahi and Cricketique.

BUT let me introduce them first.

Since I have met or seen all the personnel (other than Lisk) I have been stirred to comment on their ‘journeys’ from the late 1950s to the 1970s – largely through photographs within the cricketing arena.

 Lorenz Pereira was a legend at Royal College in the 1950s and starred in four sports: cricket, tennis, rugger and athletics. ….. an outstanding cricketer at Royal in the 1950s who entered Cambridge University and turned out for the CH & FC in rugger in the 1960s before migrating to Australia during the White Australia era in, I conjecture, the mid/late 1960s.

Michael Tissera of Sri Lanka during the World Cup warm-up match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at The Saffrons, Eastbourne, 31st May 1975. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

 Michael Tissera captained S. Thomas’ College in the 1950s and thereafter played for the NCC in Ceylon’s excellent cricketing league, where he was quickly anointed as captain. He became the island’s captain in the 1960s and provided the enterprising leadership which enabled the squad to manufacture a famous victory in one of the Tests — that at Ahmedabad – in 1964/65. He was a regular member of the side into the mid-1970s though relinquishing the captaincy to another Thomian (Anura Tennakoon) because of his commitments in the mercantile sector.

 Lareef Idroos was a successful leg-spin & googly bowler for S. Thomas’ College in the late 1950s; entered the Medical Faculty circa 1960 and was a member of the University of Ceylon cricket team under Carlyle Perera which secured the Sara Trophy during a spectacular season 1962/63. After he migrated to USA in the 1970s, he played for USA in the ODI tournaments conducted by the ICC in the late 1970s.

Michael Sproule was a Thomian who entered Oxford in the early 1960s and played for his college, viz, St Edmund’s College (widely known as “’Teddy Hall”), before returning to Colombo to sustain his family’s well-known legal practice.

Mano Ponniah was a Thomian opening batsman who went on to represent Ceylon under Tissera’s leadership in the mid-1960s before entering the University of Ceylon and serving in the cricket side which won the Sara Trophy in 1962/63. He then became a regular opening bat in the Ceylon side under Tissera, participated in Ceylon’s remarkable victory over India at Ahmedabad in a game played over the last few days of December and the first days of January. Moving to Cambridge for a degree, he became their opening bat for three seasons from 1967-69. With his best season being that of 1967 when in 13 matches he scored 800 runs at an average of 36.36” (Wikipedia). Leicestershire wished to recruit him, but Mano turned th offer down.

Mano Ponniah batting for Cambridge vs Surrey in 1968





Michael Tissera bowling for Ceylon in the match vs the West Indies at the Oval … photo by Chandi Chanmugam

 Anura Tennakoon pulls

AN OUTCOME: The Sri Lankan Touring Squad at the ICC Cricket Championships in england in the Summer of 1975









Seated = David Heyn, Anura Tennakoon (Capt), Manager KMT Perera, Michael Tissera, Ranjit Fernando

Standing: Duleep Mendis,  Lalith Kaluperuma,  Sunil Wettimuny, Tony Opatha, Mevan Pieris. DLE De Silva, DS d Silva, Dennis Chanmugam, Aura Ranasinghe, Bandula Warnapura

*************  **************


Sujith Silva:  Ä Spin Doctor on a Mission,” 30 May 2018 https://quadrangle.lk/a-spin-doctor-on-a-mission/

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Tissera

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mano_Ponniah

Mahinda Wijesinghe: “Lorenz Pereira – so Multi-talented, so Royal a Man to follow,” https://cricketique.live/2016/04/24/lorenz-pereira-so-multi-talented-so-royal-a-man-to-follow/

Michael Roberts & Alfred James: Crosscurrents. Sri Lanka & Australia at Cricket, Sydney, Walla Walla Press, 1998

Michael Roberts: Essaying Cricket. Sri Lanka and BeyondColombo, Vijitha Yapa Publishers 2006 … a book dedicated to SP Foenander & SS Perera as well as “one of Sri Lanka’s greatest half-back pairings in rugger,” Malik Samarawickrama & Jagath Fernando.

Leave a comment

Filed under accountability, art & allure bewitching, centre-periphery relations, cricket for amity, cricket selections, ethnicity, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, patriotism, performance, Sri Lankan cricket, sri lankan society, travelogue, unusual people

Leave a Reply