Udeshiís organizing ability in the cause of sport, exemplary
The mild mannered unassuming, Rajen Udeshi, who did have the
privilege of serving as Chairman of the Tour Organizing Committee for
the two, not too distant cricket tours into the country - does seem to
belie his placid naive outlook, which is most misleading.
For the reason that at times, he could be as stern as stern could be,
to unravel a knotty problem and so transform it to become viable, to
earn the approval of others, for the cause at hand.
Rajen Udeshi, the teetotaller couldnít have been the kind of man he
is, nor live the kind of life he leads, were it not for his healthy
wholesome upbringing at home - whereby given to sober disciplined ways,
he imbibed more importantly the finer qualities of virtue.
He did benefit immensely by a wider broadbased education at
Kollupitiya S. Thomas Prep, S. Thomasí Mt. Lavinia and at Dulwich,
Alleyns Surrey - to finally emerge in the fullness of time, with a
degree in Business Administration from USA. All this and more did stand
Rajen in good stead to join his father Naro Udeshi at Siedles and, with
his fatherís passing away, Rajen continues as Director, while his
brother, Nimesh Udeshi, is the Managing Director.
There is no air of flamboyancy about Rajen, nor is there a semblance
of arrogance in him. Endowed with a pleasing personality and of a
friendly disposition his watchwords are honesty and integrity, which at
no time could be compromised. He is humble enough to openly say that he
was not an active participant of any sport, but hastens to add that he
was a keen follower of cricket, tennis and basketball.
Rajen however takes comfort in the thought that his father, Naro was
a champion at Table Tennis and, one who did much for the furtherance of
TT, both at the YMCA and at the National level. Being, very interested
in cricket and closely following the progress made by the different Test
cricket playing countries - Rajenís first involvement with Sri Lanka
Cricket proper, commenced in 1999 during the Interim Committee headed by
Rienzie Wijetilleke, where Sidath Wettimuny requested him to join the
Marketing and Sponsorship Committee.
Rajenís services in this capacity, was sought after, as and when the
need arose, by Sidath.
He did as well have a flair for giving cricket commentaries over
radio, especially during the years 2004, 2006 and 2007 and stood
thankful to Roshan Abeysinghe, Saman Waturagama, the SLBC Producer and
to Sanjay Manjerekar for his helpful advice on commentating on cricket.
But by far the one who entrusted him with maximum responsibility, was
none other than, Arjuna Rantunga, who appointed him to be the Chairman
of the Tour Organizing Committee in April 2008 and to so prepare for the
Indian tour here in July/August 2008.
According to Rajen, challenging as the ordeal was, it was
nevertheless enjoyable with having to virtually see to all the
arrangements of the tour.
This did entail the overseeing of the grounds, like the ordering of
tables, chairs, marquees and the ensuring of security whilst providing
transport and catering services and looking into the pricing, printing
and distribution of tickets.
Nor is that all for the committee must see that everything functions
well in, and all other facilities are made available in the rooms of the
players, umpires, match referees and within the area demarcated for the
print as well as electronic media.
An exercise of this magnitude and nature could be an exhausting,
exacting and an exiting ordeal, but if in the end you achieve a measure
of success, then it could be both a memorable as well as a satisfying
The tour in question did end on a successful note, with the committee
managing to control expenses within the allocated budget.
Rajen was deeply thankful to the supportive role played by Arjuna and
was very fortunate to have the services of laywer Dinali Phillips, SSP
Latif to handle security, Chandana Amaradasa to be in charge of the
hospitality trade, Thanga Dias for Advertising and Vikum Siriwardene.
The presence of such expertise in their respective fields, Rajen says
at times made his role as Chairman superfluous.
Needless to say, with just two weeks to go, and that too at short
notice, Rajen was asked by the Competent Authority S. Liyanage to carry
on as Chairman of the Tour Organizing Committee for the Indian Tour,
This is fraught with significance and augurs well for Rajen.
The tour arrangements was made possible due to the hardwork,
enthusiasm and initiative displayed by the employees of the SLC, they,
Rajen felt accomplished something, that will stretch most cricket boards
in the world and, whilst commending the SLC for an excellent job done
said that it made life easy for him.
Rajen Udeshiís view is that, when you embark on any venture or
endeavour with failure on your mind, then you will surely fail - but if
you step out with grim determination and a will to succeed, succeed you
Rajen endowed with administrative and organizing ability of a high
order, certainly does count for much.