Is Kandy falling out of love with club cricket? | Sunday Observer

Is Kandy falling out of love with club cricket?

The origins of cricket lie somewhere in the Dark Ages. Cricket was first played in Kandy in 1863 and at that time there was no school cricket only club cricket. But today school cricket is on top and club cricket at the bottom.

It was mainly played in the Knuckles/Rangala region and the Kandy city had the Kandy Dancing, Boating and Rowing Club. In 1896 it became the Kandy Sports Club. Ceylon’s first unofficial Test was played at the Bogambara Ground in 1889. Today only school cricket is well played, but at club level cricket is in the dark. Sri Lanka Cricket should give a wake up call for the Kandy District Cricket Association. Now they have decided and planned for the Division III tournament and there were over 25 entries but only half of that confirmed.

Kandy must wake up! At one time it was the second largest place for cricket next to Colombo and today right at the bottom in club cricket. Kandy does not have a single club playing in the Premier League.

After Sri Lanka gained Test status, people like the late Dr CDL Fernando, late EW Balasuriya, late MS Uduwella and Harindra Dunuwille, who were past presidents made cricket flourish at Club level. There were several tournaments, limited over, six a-side, double wicket, triangular, and also one should not forget the yeoman services done by the late Z.M. Jauffer and Aubrey Kuruppu when they were the secretaries.

All cricket lovers ask what has happened to the All Island tournament for juniors schoolboys, limited over for clubs, triangular, six a side, double wicket and T20. All these tournaments seem to have been dumped into the Kandy Lake today.

When it comes to cricket, they come out saying there are no grounds, how come the schools are playing their matches in all age groups. Each team has over ten games, some schools go out of Kandy and play. Why did they move from Asgiriya to Pallekelle. That was to keep the school ground free to promote cricket.

The exclusive Europeans Kandy Sports Club invited local Ceylonese to play from 1920.

In 1914 and 1916 overseas teams played at Bogambara and Asgiriya and in 1935 an Indian University team met in the Up-Country.

The revival of Kandy District Cricket took place on 16th August 1946 with Dr. V.H.L. Anthoniesz as Secretary and Colonel Gordon Pyper as the president. Shortly after the Central Province Cricket Association was formed with Dr. V.H.L. Anthoniesz as President. The teams that participated were Kandy Sports Club, University Scheme SC, Kandy YMCA and Kandy Young Men’s Buddhist Association SC.

The first tournament was won by Kandy Sports Club led by Francis Amerasinghe. In 1947 Central Province Cricket Association participated in the Zonal Tournament conducted by the Ceylon Cricket Association.

Central Province Cricket Association hosted the first Commonwealth team in 1950, second Commonwealth team in 1951, MCC in 1952, All India in 1956, Pakistan 1964, Hyderabad Blues 1966, State Bank of India 1967, MCC 1969, Australia 1969, MCC 1973, India 1974 and Pakistan 1976.

The Karachi Schools cricket team led by Khalid Weir visited Ceylon in 1954 and in the match against Trinity College, Prince Aslam Khan a promising left arm bowler who had some fine tour performances, took 5 for 24 at Asgiriya including a hat trick which were of M. Ratwatte, R. Aluwihare and W. Wanduragala who were clean bowled.

Sri Lanka Cricket has an excellent structure in the development and promotion of cricket in the island and it’s best that the officials who monitor these development projects go deep into what this writer has said and investigate and regularize its irregularities when there is already a system in the KDC by promoting it rather than start new activities at grass root levels in the same district.