‘Lions of Sri Lanka’ a must in every home | Sunday Observer

‘Lions of Sri Lanka’ a must in every home

LMD’s Media Services magazine ‘LIONS OF SRI LANKA’ – Cricket – an Island’s Passion, is an absolute ‘Must Read’. It should be in the possession of, not only cricketers and cricket fans, but all lovers of sport locally and internationally - featuring the 30 greatest cricketers of Sri Lanka. It is a magazine put out by Media Services.

The magazine is an absolute masterpiece. It is in black and white and in colour. Firstly to the contents featuring the Foreword, ‘Lions of Sri Lanka, pinnacles eteceter’, World Cup Glory, ’T20 miracle’,’ the Fan Club’, Home Turf and the rest.

The 30 greatest cricketers featured are – CH Gunesekera (Snr), Mervyn Kelaart, Sargo Jayawickrema, DS Jayasundera, FC de Saram, Mahadevan Sathasivam, Ben Navaratne, CI Gunesekera, Stanley Jayasinghe, Gamini Goonasena, HIK Fernando, PI Pieris, Michael Tissera, Daya Sahabandu, Anura Tennekoon, Roy Dias, Duleep Mendis, Sidath Wettimuny, Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda de Silva, Sanath Jayasuriya, Marvan Attapatu, Muttiah Muralidaran, Chaminda Vaas, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayewardena, Kumar Sangakkara, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews.

The illustrious three-member panel that picked the 30 greatest cricketers are Vijaya Malalasekera, CTA Schaffter and Kumar Borelessa. They also reflect on how and why they picked the 30 greatest cricketers – in addition to responding to 10 questions posed to them.

Incidentally Malalasekera was a star and stylish right hand batsman for Royal and later Cambridge University where he earned his ‘Blue’ and then Nondescripts Cricket Club. He also has the honour of scoring a marvelous 100 described by aficionados as one of the best 100s seen in the ‘Battle of the Blues’ against S. Thomas’ in 1964.

Schaffter a former Thomian all rounder – a swing bowler with an action that was poetry in motion and a hard hitting right handed batsman who later represented Tamil Union and Sri Lanka and also played hockey for Sri Lanka. He was a double international. As President of the Tamil Union he did wonders to upgrade the ground and club house.

Kumar Borelessa was a former Thomian right handed opening batsman and wicket keeper and later played Sara Trophy cricket for the Colombo Cricket Club. But he is best remembered and it would be of interest to recall that when he was curator of the Colombo Cricket Club he produced a pitch that enabled Sri Lanka to beat Pakistan led by Imran Khan, the current Prime Minister of Pakistan and Sri Lanka was led by Duleep Mendis.

Contributors to the magazine are Michael Roberts, a Rhodes scholar who takes the reader through ‘Pinnacles, Troughs and Trends batting through the long innings from Ceylon to 1932 to Sri Lanka today’, ‘World Cup Glory’ by Roshan Abeysinghe who is now a competent international TV Commentator, ‘T20 miracle’ by Daniel Alexander, ‘Green, green grass of home’ by the reputed Andrew Fidel Fernando and We are the champions’.

P. SARAVANAMUTTU OVAL

The brilliant writer Fernando showcases the super seven – Sri Lanka’s international venues in great detail. The P. Saravanamuttu Oval which has a rich history behind it with the greatest cricketer the world has seen and will ever see Sir Donald Bradman playing a brief innings on it. It was the home turf of the greatest ever Sri Lankan batsman Mahadevan Sathasivam who played many a memorable innings on it. Sathasivam captained the Lankan team against Sir Donald Bradman’s team.

SINHALESE SPORTS CLUB

A picturesque venue and ground of the SSC it has produced some of the finest cricketers in CH Gunesekera (snr), FC de Saram, C.I. Gunesekera, Sargo Jayawickrema, Daya Sahabandu, Duleep Mends, Sidath Wettimuny. Sri Lanka Cricket Headquarters is adjoining the ground.

R. PREMADASA STADIUM

The first stadium to have lights installed for day night cricket in keeping with the trend in all cricket playing countries was the brainchild of the Late President Ranasinghe Premadasa. It stands out as the most picturesque playing fields once the lights are switched on.

GALLE INTERNATIONAL STADIUM

It faces the 16th century Dutch Fort. Home of the Galle Cricket Club. It was made an international stadium after the country attained Test status and international cricketers of class who played on the old ground were the famous terrible Ws from the West Indies Frank Worrell, Clyde Walcott and Everton Weekes.

RANGIRI DAMBULA STADIUM

This stadium the brainchild of the former Sri Lanka Cricket President Thilanga Sumathipala was primarily built to host international matches when the weather turns bad in Colombo. It is situated in the Dry Zone and is another picturesque venue for day/night cricket.

PALLEKELLE INTERNATIONAL STADIUM

This floodlit stadium was initiated and completed by former Sri Lanka Interim Committee Chairman D. Somachandra de Silva a former captain and leg spinning all rounder and it was one of the stadiums that hosted the 2011 T20 World Cup matches.

MAHINDA RAJAPAKSA STADIU

This stadium too became a reality during the reign of de Silva on the instructions of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Hambantota and was completed in record time to host some of the 2011 T20 World Cup games. It also has lights to conduct day/night games. It was built on jungle land.

While the panel would have had time in picking the 30 greatest lions, that probably would have been the number requested by the publishers, we ask to be excused for asking how Vernon Prins, the former Thomian, Sri Lanka captain and NCC all rounder and stalwart who was tagged the Prince of Captains in the pre Test era and Gerry Gooneratne a former Josephian and Saracens all rounder came to be missed out.

However, it is a magazine of former Sri Lanka greats and a magazine that could hold its own against the best in world cricket. The magazine is available at Odel, Vijitha Yapa Bookshop, Sarasavi, Crescat and Barefoot.

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