Sri Lanka’s Bradman-like Lafir no more | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka’s Bradman-like Lafir no more

22 May, 2022

Former St Anthony’s College, Kandy, Nomads, Saracens, Kandy United and All Ceylon cricketer and one of the best soccer players, A.C.M. Lafir passed away in Colombo on Thursday at the age of 89.

Lafir held the Sri Lanka schools record for an opening stand of 266 runs, scoring 176 runs by himself as the school team captain along with Ronnie Stephens who made 120 in their 1954 traditional match against Trinity College, Kandy.

He won four awards – best batsman, best bowler, best all-rounder and highest scorer.

Lafir’s school cricket batting average was 108.06, breaking the record of 92.60 set in 1918 by Jack Anderson, scoring five centuries and amassing 1,000 runs in a season. He scored the fastest 100 in 60 minutes against Ananda College Colombo in 1954.

In later years some followers made passing remarks that Lafir was a schoolboy Bradman, a reference to Australia’s Test legend who had an average of 99.94. He led St. Anthony’s in 1954 to become the unbeaten inter-school Champions and won the Sri Lanka schools Best Batsman Award.

He skippered the Kandy Schools XI and led them to victory over the Colombo Schools XI with a captain’s knock of 151 not out.

He made his first-class debut in the annual Gopalan Trophy match against Madras in what is now Chennai in 1955–56. Opening the batting, he scored the only century in the match, 107, in a contest that Ceylon won by an innings. He was the first schoolboy from St. Anthony’s College to play for Ceylon.

In 1960 the Pakistan Eaglets visited Colombo and played a three-day match against the Ceylon Cricket Association (CCA) led by CI Gunasekera which included Lafir and in the following year he played against India and scored 55. He also toured Malaya and Singapore in 1957.

In 1960-61 Lafir was the only player on either side to make a century in the Gopalan Trophy match, which the Ceylon Cricket Association won. In his last first-class match in 1961-62, he top-scored for Ceylon with 84 against the MCC led by Ted Dexter.

Lafir later played for Saracens Sports Club and Nomads Sports Club. He had a Mercantile record score of 236 against Rowlands and was the first batsman to win the Macan Markar Trophy awarded for the highest score of 256 not out, playing for Nomads versus a University team in 1966. He beat the previous best of 236 scored by Makin Salih.