Island Cricket

Monday, January 14, 2008

Let’s follow the M.C.C. procedure

Let’s follow the M.C.C. procedure

Gerry WAIDYASEKERA

What is this high honour of “President of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka “worth? I pause for a reply.

I am in my early nineties and a living witness of the growth of Ceylon and Sri Lanka cricket since 1928.

When Dr. Churchill Hector Gunasekera, then playing for Middlesex, County Champions of England in 1920, learnt of the impending visit of the MCC to India; approached the MCC authorities to include Ceylon in their itinerary; they advised him to form an Association in Ceylon to be responsible for the tour. He contacted friends in Colombo.

The Ceylon Cricket Association, which later grew into the Board of Control was formed with Dr. John Rockwood of the Tamil Union as President and Major O.B. Forbes as Secretary.

Dr. Gunesekera was the uncrowned King of Ceylon cricket in the 1930s. W.M.A. Wahid, the famous left-arm bowler of Zahira, once told me that when bowling at the Maradana Grounds, Dr. Gunasekara and a few others called over and had a close look at his bowling.

He included him under his captaincy in the first official tour of india. He was a success. We owe a lot for our High position in test cricket to Dr. Gunasekera, his brothers, his son and nephews.

I know well, as I worked with them, the sacrifice and the money invested by Hemaka Amarasuriya and his able Secretary Nisal Senaratna sponsors of the first inter provincial cricket tournament.

I know well that records set up in this Tournament are recognised by Wisden’s as first class match records.

From the start of my connection with Wisden, I longed to include the names of our cricketers with other renowned cricketers. Besides it was Nisal who urged me to form the Kurunegala District Cricket Association to take part in the First Provincial Cricket Tournament.

I see no reason why the intended Cup for the renewed Provincial Cricket Tournament be not named Hemaka Amrasuriya Cup.

Coming to recent times, the only Test Captain, who led us to World Championship Honours eyed this Honour of being President as the next step before retiring from the game. Is it a crime?

Have we forgotten the wonderful reception we gave him at his retirement from the game? Is there anyone more worthy than he.

I feel for him for I gave him due publicity when as a 14 year old boy at Ananda, he scored over 300, took 10 wickets in the match, and was on the field the entire two days. What a wonderful maiden appearance! Since then he has kept up to my expectations.

There are several others of whom I have not written. It is not because of lack of admiration, but lack of space. Ingratitude more stronger than traitor’s arms have vanquished and driven them into dark oblivion. I take pride in being the Last of the Mohicans to pay homage to them.

To avoid repetitions of this nature in the future, I strongly recommend that we follow the MCC procedure in the election of the President. For over two hundred years, the Outgoing President of the MCC nominates his successor, his term being for a year. After which he serves in the Committee for another year.

This is to enable the Committee to profit by his experience. Please give my proposal a trial. Cricketers, like old soldiers, never die but fade away.

Let us also do away with this open ballot. It spells the doom of many a cricketer and is not in the best interests of the game.

Hasn’t our Dhamma preached - Honour Them to Whom Honour is Due.

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