Category Archives: Sri Lankan cricket

The Senanayakes at STC, at Cricket and in Politics in Ceylon

Michael Roberts

In seeking details relating to DS Senanayake’s career at S. Thomas’ College after I received a copy of his school-leaving character reference from Warden Stone,[1] I received a fascinating note from Mevan Pieris[2] about young DS Senanayake’s school career and his cricketing ‘achievements’ at the big match against Royal.

“Indeed, a valuable item [referring to Warden Stone’s certificate]. At least a certified photocopy of it should be maintained at the College Library and at the National Archives, especially since he was known as Kele John who could not pass any examinations and was in what was called the Commercial Class of STC. No doubt he was physically strong and tough and would have been an ideal dormitory prefect to keep the guys quiet. ”

 ‘By the sea’ at Mutwal looking at Colombo Harbour — scenic paintng from O’Brien the 1860s

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Britishness in Ceylon and Outmigration

Michael Roberts

As a result of the prolonged processes of Western colonisation in Sri Lanka aka Ceilao, one witnessed processes of acculturation that one can designate as “Westernisation” (including, here, the adoption of Christianity in its differentiated forms). One consequence of this process was the admiration and loyalty towards Britain displayed by some Ceylonese when that imperial country became embroiled in threatening world wars.

Thus, during World War One a handful of Ceylonese rushed to UK to enlist in the British fighting units. A high proportion of this lot may have been Burghers, but there certainly were some Sinhalese among this stream of Empire loyalty.

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Constantine’s Coaching Spell in Ceylon in 1953: Assorted Notes

Michael Roberts

 Following my decision to present the accounts of the Australian cricket team’s whistle-stop match in Ceylon in March 1953 as presented in Crosscurrents,[1] I ventured on a search for more data on Learie Constantine’s stint as a coach in the island. Several friends and acquaintances have responded in fruitful ways. So, what you will see here is a compendium that is the product of several hands: titbits that are as enticing as revealing.

 

In the manner typical to him, my Aloysian schoolmate KK De Silva receives pride of place because he has pointed to an entry in Ferguson’s Directory which pinpoints Learie Constantine’s arrival in Ceylon on the 4thJanuary 1953 to assume his tasks as cricket coach. KK’s data, as well as titbits from many others, indicate that his tasks were not confined to the leading club cricketers, but extended to some schools and included visits to Galle and Kandy. It is these reports that are assembled here. The picture, nevertheless,is incomplete. Continue reading

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Learie Constantine’s Cricket Coaching Stint in Ceylon 1953

Chandra Schaffter

Sir Learie Constantine was truly a legend. He was invited by Sri Lanka Cricket Board to coach in Sri Lanka in early 1953. Before that, the New Zealander C.T. Badcock was coaching and Sri Lanka was inviting foreign coaches with a view to improving the standard of cricket in the country.

 

 

The arrival of Learie Constantine was like a breath of fresh air. He brought to us the West Indian style of cricket and he to a large extent encouraged the natural talents of his wards and allowed them to improve their game in the way they knew best. That was his greatness.

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Australia vs Ceylon at the Colombo Oval in March 1953 … and Constantine

Michael Roberts

In focusing on Learie Constantine’s spell as a coach in the island in 1953 I was prompted initially by his report on the one-day encounter between the Australian cricket team led by Lindsay Hassett and a Ceylon team, a “whistle-stop game” as it was known then because the Aussies played such matches on their way to England by ship on several occasions dating from the early decades of the 20th century.

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Cricket Teams on the Road: Ship. Rail. Air. Road

Deepti Unni, in The Cricket Monthly, 1 November 2021, where the title is “Long way round. Will travel for cricket”

Bio bubbles, pandemics, extended quarantines, months away from family – cricketers have spent more time away from home this last year and a half than at any time in the recent past. It’s almost a throwback to the early years of the game, when Test tours would run six months and longer, including the time spent getting there and back by ship.

Well-wishers wave goodbye to Douglas Jardine and the other members of the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) as they set sail from Tilbury to Australia on the Orient liner Orontes….Photo by Davis/Getty Images

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Tamil Demonstrations and Thommo’s Thunderbolts: Sri Lanka at Kennington Oval at the 1975 World Cup

Michael Roberts

While some of these striking photographs have been presented before in Cricketique or in Thuppahi, they have not been assembled under one roof before. They are significant both for political and cricketing reasons.  

In cricketing terms we had a talented troupe of players back home so that the final choice of fourteen left very competent players out of scene. The preparations were quite remarkable. The larger pool of players was sent to Nuwara Eliya in order to acclimatize themselves while practicing at Radalla.

Standing left-to-right: David Heyn, Roy Dias, Sarath Fernando, Neil Perera (Asst Manager), Raja Wickremasinhe (Fitness Trainer( and KMT Perera (Manager)  Squatting left-to right: Duleep Mendis, Bandula Warnapura, Ajit de Silva, Anura Ranasinghe, Lalith Kaluperuma, Dennis Chanmugam, DS de Silva, Ranjit Fernando, Tony Opatha, Anura Tennekoon, HSM Pieris ….. Missing because traveling to Nuwara Eliya by car:  Michael Tissera and Sunil Wettimuny

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Charith Asalanka marked as Sri Lanka’s Sturdy Number 3 Batsman

Rex Clementine in Dubai

It took Sri Lanka three years to find Asanka Gurusinha’s successor at number three. In the year 2000, Kumar Sangakkara came along and he occupied the slot for 15 years breaking world records at will. For six years, Sri Lanka searched for Sanga’s replacement without much success. Given the way how Charith Asalanka went about things in the T-20 World Cup, there is enough evidence that we have found Sanga’s successor and the man himself confirms that. “I think Charith Asalanka has done extremely well. He looks like the caliber of player who will have a long career, score a lot of runs and win a lot of games for Sri Lanka,” Sangakkara told Sri Lankan journalists during a virtual interaction from Colombo.

Sri Lanka’s Charith Asalanka plays a shot during the second one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and India at the R.Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on July 20, 2021. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)

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Duleep Mendis’s Wide-ranging Career in Cricket

Rex Clementine, in The Island, 3 October 2021, where the title reads “Beware of Dulla”

Amal Silva spoke little English those days. During the Lord’s Test in 1984, when Ian Botham said not so complementary things about Amal’s mother, the opening bat was asking the non-striker and captain Duleep Mendis what’s going on. Both Moratuwa boys, they were playing contrasting knocks. Amal took 255 balls for his hundred while Duleep raced to 94 in 97 balls. The latter was dealing in boundaries particularly targeting Mr. Botham. That the golden boy of English cricket ended up bowling off-spin in that game is a little known fact. That’s Duleep. Never cross his path.

  Duleep aka “Dulla” today

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Walter J. May: A Marvellous Richmondite and Ceylonese

The Richmond Sixty Club & Others

Richmond 60 Club Wishes Walter J. May Happy Birthday, 8th January 2021 

A Sixty Club Publication 

MESSAGE OF THE 6O CLUB PRESIDENT

As the President of the Richmond 60 Club, I am happy to write a few words for the special supplement issued to coincide with the 92nd birthday of Walter J. May on 08th January 2021. 

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