Cricket inspired me to be what I am today - Heshan de Silva | Sunday Observer

Cricket inspired me to be what I am today - Heshan de Silva

2 October, 2022

To Heshan de Silva, rugby is not just a game - it’s a passion and a passionate pastime in his life. As the National and International Sales Manager, Alliance Five and Kiffs in Lankem Group, he still cherishes the lessons he learnt as an outstanding cricket captain for his Alma Mater St. Peter’s College Bambalapitiya.

Perhaps, sports would have been the very reason for his gaining employment opportunities in Coats Tootals, Maharaja Group, Flexi Pack (India) – as a country manager and presently at Lankem Group, one of Sri Lanka’s major blue chip companies.

Talking to the ‘Sunday Observer’, Heshan recalled how an illustrious sports career could help build one’s character.

“I believe in teamwork. This is one major lesson that my favourite game cricket has taught me throughout the years,” said Heshan.

“Sports helped me to infuse qualities such as leadership, sharing work, character building, delegating work, determination and having faith in my teammates,” he said.

Like with many others, school was the best era of Hassan’s life. “I owe everything to my school St. Peter’s College. It is not just a school, but an institution where students’ characters are nurtured with dignity and honesty.”

“When I was the captain in 1985, we played with only four men and seven freshers,” recalled Heshan.

“Eventually I had to follow Robert Aldrich’s famous Hollywood film; “The Dirty Dozen” pick and choose theory to select my best players in 1985 for the matches to remain unbeaten and we never lost a single game outright.

My first year in 1981, I scored 350 runs in seven matches and in my second year under Shane Brohier, I scored over 800 runs and in that year against Royal College I scored 80, Nalanda College 48 and at the big match against St. Joseph’s I managed to score 37. Third year I scored over 500 runs and was the vice captain at the 50th Joe-Pete encounter.

“I captained the 51st Joe-Pete encounter and scored nearly 550 runs as a fourth year coloursman and opened the batting for College in all those four years”.

“Not like now, those days we had to earn colours and I did exactly that. But nowadays even if you score 200 runs for the season you get colours. This is a joke”.

“My best moment on a school cricketing field was when under Brohier’s captaincy in 1982 at the Peter Pillai trophy 50 over game encounter against St. Joseph’s College, I scored a quick fire 49 and unfortunately got run out by Rohan Paulpillai and we lost the game to Joes due to my run out.

In 1982 Heshan captained the Colombo Schools along with Roshan Mahanama.

After leaving school in 1985, Heshan continued to play club cricket for CCC and Hebthullaboys. He went to Canada for higher studies and graduation and became the best bowler at the old boys Joe-Pete encounter in Canada in 1995.

“I have two sons and the eldest son Bhanuka played four years opening the batting until 2019 for St. Peter’s while scoring over 600 runs in 2018 and my youngest son Thiloka, a top order batsman played three years in the 2nd XI and in his last two years even though he scored over 400 runs and being the highest scorer he was not given him a single 1st XI match to play and in the end in disgust he gave up cricket”.

Heshan said that politics on the part of the Cricket Committee especially with the hidden intention to groom certain players to the captaincy proved negative.

“Also we made a big blunder by removing our highly successful head coach Malinda Warnapura. In Malinda’s very first year we won the Joe-Pete big match in 2016. Then we made a wrong call and brought in Roger (Wijesuriya),” Heshan said.

“My father (EP de Silva- former chief editor of the Sunday times group), my mother and my two brothers (late Chula and Lalin) and not forgetting my brother-in-law Paul Ariyapala have been my major inspiration for who I am today, hence I am always eternally grateful to all of them”.