'Kehel' - a 'born' pace bowler
T.B. Kehelgamuwa - excelled as a pace bowler.
CRICKET: T. B. Kehelgamuwa, Dharmaraja, Sri Lanka, Police and Nomads
SC cricketer. He was a fine sportsman that Dharmaraja College produced
and was one of the best pace bowlers Sri Lanka had. He was always a
tough fighter and a cricketer who worried many batsmen. The term - `born
pace bowler' would fit `Kehel'. From his early years, he was a fast
Tikiri Banda Kehelgamuwa was born on 10th December 1942 at Gampola.
Kehel's parents were teachers at Gampola. He was very lucky that he had
his education at Dharmaraja College, where he first excelled as an
outstanding schoolboy cricketer in the early 1960s. Though his first
love was cricket he represented Dharmaraja at Athletics, Hockey and
Soccer and excelled in all three disciplines.
Kehel was coached by D. M. Dharamatillake, Arthur Alwis and Sonny
Yatawara when he was playing for Dharmaraja. He captained the first XI
team 1960-1961 and was selected the Best Bowler in the island in the
`Daily News' Schoolboy Cricketer Contest. His biggest achievement came
while playing for Dharmaraja, he was selected to tour India with the Sri
Lanka schools team in 1961. The team was captained by that fine Ananda
skipper' the late Yatagama Amaradasa. Kehel routed the Indians and
returned the best figures of 8 wickets for 8 runs. In 1961 he had the
proud distinction of representing Sri Lanka in the Gopalan Trophy match
under the captaincy of C. I. Gunasekera and later under Michael Tissera.
He joined the Police in 1963 and he was fortunate that he had the
privilege of playing under stalwarts like T. B. Werapitiya, Tommy
Kelaart, Neil Weerasinghe, Franklyn Burke, Hilton C. Perera, G. S.
Ratnayake, Sivaratnam to name a few in the Government Services Cricket
Championships for several years. He retired in 2002 as a Deputy
Inspector General of Police. Kehelgamuwa came into the club scene and
played for Nomads 1970-1974.
He was in the Nomads side which won the Sara Trophy under the
leadership of D. H. de Silva. De Silva was a very knowledgeable
cricketer who has guided several cricketers to reach the top while he
was employed at the Colombo Municipal Council.
Paceman Kehelgamuwa had the distinction of being a member of the Sri
Lanka team, that beat the MCC for the first time in 1969 in a
limited-over game. The MCC team led by Colin Cowbrey. The MCC side had
fine England spinner Derek Underwood and great opener Geoff Boycott,
Keith Fletcher - the former England Test captain.
He was a member of the Ceylon Government Services Team that toured
India in 1972 to play in the Sheesh Mahal Trophy. The CGS team was
beaten in the final by Rushi Mod's XI. `Kehel' captured 15 wickets in
that tournament with an average of 12.3 runs per wicket.
In 1968, he helped the Government Services cricket team to beat the
favourites Mercantile Services in the National Cricket Championship
final. He took 5 for 49.
The Mercantile side included players like Ranjit Fernando, Neil
Chanmugam and Anura Tennekoon. In that tournament, `Kehel' took the most
number of wickets - 33.
During Sri Lanka's tour of Pakistan in 1972, he was the only player
to be selected from a Division III side (playing for Police SC) to the
He held the position of Manager of the Sri Lanka team. On the New
Zealand tour 1995. Incidentally under his stewardship of managership,
Sri Lanka Test team recorded their first overseas Test victory. On this
tour, Sri Lankan opening bowler Chaminda Vaas was the architect of
victory claiming a match bag of 10 wickets in this Test match. Then in
2002, Kehelgamuwa was the successful Sri Lanka cricket manager on the
He had the unique distinction of being a selector for 10 years and
was the Chairman of the Selection Committee of Board of Control for
Cricket in Sri Lanka in the last two years of his stewardship 1999 and
During 1961-1974 Sara Trophy seasons, Kehelgamuwa scored more than
1,000 runs and captured more than 500 wickets. He is a right-handed bat
and right-arm fast bowler.
He played in 16 first-class matches and in 23 innings, he was
unbeaten on two occasions and scored 266 runs.
His highest score was 31 not out. He captured 55 wickets for 1,043
runs. This career statistics in first class cricket came during
1967/1968 and 1973/1974.
He served the Governor General - the late William Gopallawa, a very
distinguished son of Dharmaraja College, as his personal bodyguard.