Will Shammi Cure SLC - the Ailing Patient | Sunday Observer

Will Shammi Cure SLC - the Ailing Patient

12 June, 2021

Sri Lanka Cricket is an ailing patient, suffering from a host of diseases that include Arthritis where they are unable to move in an agile manner, Parkinson’s where they are shuffling around not knowing which way to go, Amnesia, where they have forgotten that they were voted in to bring about change and Kleptomania, where anything valuable left on the table is pocketed.

And so as the umpire has ruled that the AGM is over and has tossed the ball again to Shammi Silva and his team to take strike, the spectators are surely asking: will it just be a continuation of the same type of cricket at SLC or will they bring an innovative spirit and breathe new life to the ailing patient? “

The expectations are high especially that the power to rule the game of cricket was vested in the new team without contest with their opponents pulling out gracefully and saving their prestige from a trouncing. It is now up to Silva and his team to prove their worth.

From the time the country attained Test status in 1982 and won the Prudential Word Cup beating Australia in the final at Lahore, Pakistan in 1996, money had began to flow to the controlling body power play and abuse of power wrecked havoc to the efficient administration of this prime sport.

Due to the greed of some officials to make a quick buck, the entire name of the controlling body has been ridiculed and brought to shame and even at the time of writing allegations are flooding in against SLC. We hope that these allegations are unfounded and that we can restore the good name that founding fathers of the Cricket Board are honoured.

With Silva’s team given a mandate to rule for another couple of years, in cricketing parlance they must take fresh guard and first prove their critics making allegations wrong and then work to resurrect and improve the game that has fallen into an abyss, if not a garbage pit.

Talk doing the rounds has it that their critics still smarting not being able to grab power are digging and working overtime to find flaws and oust Silva and his legally elected body. So Silva and his team better watch out and not let complacency get the better of them.

A souvenir that is a must

It was admirable the manner in which the old boys of St. Benedict’s College and Wesley College set about organizing a ‘special match’, instead of calling it a ‘big match’.

The two-day encounter was drawn with the weather intervening. In my previous article on this game, I stated that the Rev James Cartman Cup played on April 23 and 24 at Kotahena was taken away by Wesley for winning the game on the first innings.

But a former cricket captain (1982) and all-round sportsman who excelled in many sports for the school Nevin Noyar informs me that the organizing committee had decided that the Rev. James Cartman Cup would be awarded only to the school winning the match outright.

The Bro Luke Gregory (FSC) Shield for the one-day game scheduled for May 8 could not be contested owing to the rainy weather and the prevailing pandemic. The committee is confident that the two games could be played next year, God permitting.

Noyar also presented me with a souvenir that was produced to mark this historic occasion. Reading through it, it must be stated that the team of editors from both schools comprising Jeremy Brohier, Dhanuska Fernando, Felix Dias, Sujith Silva and Darrel Ludowyke have done a wonderful job.

There are some interesting articles written by reputed writers and leading the way was former Wesleyite Richard Dwight who also contributed to the ‘Daily News’ who has done a magnificent piece on the Don Bradman of Sri Lanka cricket the one and only Mahadevan Sathasivam.

Satha a Wesleyite was the best ever batsman produced by the country and even earned plaudits from Sir Donald Bradman himself for his magic strokes with the willow with the square cut being the hallmark.

Then there’s history in a match produced from the Times of Ceylon’ of March 13th 1896 believe it or not St. Benedict’s being bundled out for just 13 runs in their second innings. The scores Wesley 84 and 83. SBC 92 and 13. Sujith Silva has done piece titled ‘A timeless classic – Bens-Wesley.

There are excerpts of an article by an outstanding Wesleyite on S.P. Foenander the ‘Walking Wisden of Ceylon Cricket’ and Nine Brothers who kept wickets for SBC by Marlon Fernandopulle son of Quinton who also kept wickets for SBC and the University.

Premasara Epasinghe has recalled former Benedictine cricket captain Lionel Fernando’s historic feat where he took all 10 wickets against St. Anne’s College and scored a double century all on the same day which earned him space in cricket’s ‘Wisden’.

There is also a list of Wesley College captains from 1893 to 2020 and a list of Benedictine captains from 1904 to 2020. Former Bens captain and Sri Lanka opening batsman Ranjit Fernando and his brother Sunil have also contributed interesting copy.

Ranjit had written an article on Lovellyn Rayen the first captain to lead St. Benedict’s to be unofficial cricket champions in 1957. That team was coached by Edward Kelaart. Ranjit’s brother Sunil led the Bens to be champions in 1964 beating all opposition which was a marvellous achievement with the coach being the famous Bertie Wijesinha.

Then one who cannot be left out when it comes to cheering and inspiring the Bens for nearly a decade was that man for all seasons Kenneth Dabrera who prides himself of being the shortest goalkeeper the Colombo University had at 5 feet 4 inches. He is a legend among cheer leaders and will always be remembered.

When the shout was heard ‘what’s the colour’ and the response - ‘green and white’, it signalled Dabrera had arrived with the flag, something to what Percy Abeysekera was doing for Sri Lanka cricket. That article is titled – ‘when the cheering squads took over at Kotahena’. The writer prefers to remain anonymous calling himself – THOSE WERE THE DAYS MY FRIEND.

There are many interesting articles on former Wesley cricketers and champion teams. There is one on Lucky Goonetilleke a left arm fast bowler who clean bowled England captain Lord Ted Dexter at the Colombo oval. The souvenir is a must for all Bens and Wesleyties and cricket lovers.

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