Great Sign (ings) for the Tamil Union | Sunday Observer

Great Sign (ings) for the Tamil Union

1 November, 2020

The Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club one of the pioneer clubs in the country and which has a chequered history behind it, is poised to enjoy the glory they enjoyed a couple of seasons back when they won the Sara trophy.

The club can have high hopes because they have signed on two of the best brains and coaches in the country in RUWAN KALPAGE as head coach and RANGANA HERATH as consultant.

Both sported Sri Lanka colours and played the game with great distinction when they took the field. KALPAGE the senior came out of St. Anthony’s College, Kandy as an off spinning all rounder. He was a classy left hand bat, bowling vicious off spin and as a fielder he was a Colin Bland and Jonty Rhodes rolled into one.

He had his career in the Sri Lanka team somewhat stunted because he had to play in the shadow of his school team mate Muttiah Muralidaran who was indispensable in the national team.

But a never say die gallant all rounder he continued to play for his club Nondescripts with dedication and discipline and when his playing days were over, he was signed on as fielding coach of the national team, where he made wonderful fielders of some weaklings and gave the country a new image in fielding.

There is no better sight on the cricket field than to see a confident and safe fielding side and being an example to other cricketers and clubs. KALPAGE also had a stint with the Bangladesh national team as their High Performance Head Coach of the Cricket Academy in 2008 and he worked as the assistant coach and spin bowling coach.

Now that Tamil Union has done well in signing him as head coach, he is sure to make the club one of the feared teams in the tournament and make them another champion outfit that should attract the club’s supporters once again like moths to a flame.

Incidentally it would be of interest to recall for the benefit of the new generation of cricketers that RUWAN’S father Sena played for Nalanda in the early sixties when the writer played for St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena in that era. Sena was a left arm new ball bowler.

The signing of Rangana Herath can be described as the best thing to happen to the club and its cricketers. Herath from the time he was recalled to play for Sri Lanka while playing league cricket in England, grabbed the opportunity with both hands to never let go and not cement but concrete his place in the national side.

Since sporting the Sri Lanka cap, Herath has bowled the country to many a memorable victory in all forms of the game and his record haul of 436 Test wickets speaks for itself. He finished his career as the best left arm spin bowler in Test cricket which is a great pride to the country.

Herath is sure to rub his love, dedication and determination on the TU cricketers and see that they attain the great heights they attained a couple of years ago in winning the Sara trophy, the blue riband of the country’s cricket led by ace fast bowler Suranga Lakmal.

Having said that we move on to a brief history of the TU ground. It was founded by P.Sraravanamuttu who saw to it that it became a venue where international cricketers touring here could play on. Cricketers of the caliber of the great Don Bradman and the three terrible West Indians Weekes, Worrell and Walcott showed their batting artistry at this venue.

It must be stated that at one time the Maharaja Organization piloted by its cricket loving and promoting Chairman and Managing Director R. Rajamahendren who was later to be Vice President of the Cricket Board whose Organization was dominating the local cricket scene showing interest in taking over the ground and maintaining it.

Had that move materialized, there was no doubt that RR and the MO would have made the ground looking another Lord’s like the cricket headquarters in London. But sadly some of the club members were not in agreement and the attempt failed to materialize.

In later years came in the form of a messiah one who played cricket and hockey for the club which earned him double international status in cricket and hockey, business tycoon Chandra Schaffter to give the club a hitherto unattained new look. Schaffter built a media box to international standard, refurbished the tennis courts, built a swimming pool, installed floodlit indoor nets, named two stands in honour of two of their greats Mahadevan Sathasivam and Sathi Coomaraswamy.

On the drawing boards is the Ranjan Chanmugam stand for which Ranjan’s son Jerome is pocketing out a lot of money. With all done to international standard it is a pity the step motherly treatment by Sri Lanka Cricket not to honour the Tamil Union with more international games.

The TU hosted the inaugural Test against England in 1982, but since has never given it, its due recognition with more games. Sad.

[email protected]