ANUSHA SAMARANAYAKE – a fighter to the core | Daily News


ANUSHA SAMARANAYAKE – a fighter to the core

He hailed from Horana Kumbukke Walawwa(the TV play Dimuthu Muthu was filmed there) and went to St Johns Nugegoda. His father was a landed proprietor and a famous tennis player late Arthur Alfred SAMARANAYAKE who played for S Thomas’ Mount Lavinia, and was the youngest to be selected to study engineering at The Oxford University. They had a tennis court in their premises. It was a pity that he lost his father when he was seven otherwise Anusha would have ended up playing in Wimbledon.

I met Anusha Samaranayake at the Fingara Sports complex where he was coaching some young cricketers. He stated that whilst he was playing cricket at St Johns Nugegoda, he attended practices at the NCC to develop his cricket further but the presence of Romesh and Ravi Ratnayake together with Uvaisul Karnain hindered his progress.

Anusha pointed out that the turning point of his career took place when he met Sir Garry Sobers who came to Sri Lanka for a brief coaching stint to guide the Sri Lanka under 19 team touring Australia with likes of Aravinda De Silva, Roshan Mahanama etc. The credit in organising that meeting should go to Daham Wimalasena, the chairman of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation at the time, where Anusha was employed. Sir Garry observed Anusha’s latent talent and wanted him in the Sri Lanka pool immediately which resulted in Aunsha obtaining a well-earned place in the NCC bowling line up. He responded well with 3 consecutive five wicket hauls. These performances couples with sheer perseverance ensured him to be selected to the touring party to England in 1984 where Sidath Wettimuny glittered with his 190 at Lords. Anusha unfortunately changed his club from NCC to Moors soon after the England tour which led to his downfall in his career. He was not selected to tour Australia and to the Sri Lankan tour to England, despite him taking as many as 70 wickets in 8 games for Moors.

Those were the days where the club and the school mattered to get into the Sri Lanka team but Anusha said that Arjuna Ranatunga changed that culture, opening doors for cricketers from outstations, Arjuna also gave accommodation to Anusha and a host of others who represented Sri Lanka. Anusha who has been treated harshly by the higher ups at every turn was grateful to “god father” Arjuna Ranatunga who broke from the shackles of the “stiff upper lipped brigade.”

Anusha stressed the fact that fort hem to win the World Cup in 1996 was because Arjuna gave opportunities for players like Upul Chandana, Romesh Kaluwitharana et al to blossom their talents unhindered. He toured England in 1983 with the Sri Lankan team. He was the fastest bowler we had then.

Anusha was the national bowling coach for Sri Lanka from 2000 to 2015, and when Champika Ramanayake left he took over the reins from 2008. During his tenure Sri Lanka was no 2 in Tests and ODI’S and no 1 in T20 and Nuwan Kulasekera was the no 1 T 20 bowler.Arjuna Ranatunga was at the helm of cricket affairs then.


There was a request from Lasith Malinga for him to watch an IPL match all expenses paid by Malinga and Angelo Mathews. There was a false rumour circulating that he went to bring black money. Anusha was flabbergasted and told me that he has never visited a casino in Sri Lanka but he joked saying that he had visited casinos abroad simply due to the fact that he had to go through a casino to enter his hotel room. He was accused of getting in touch with a match fixer stated Anusha, all this was designed to oust him from his position.

When Sri Lanka became the T20 World Champions it was Anusha and his subordinates who worked hard behind the scenes and not the Suddha’s, what they did was to manage the team stressed Anusha. His commitment was such that he didn’t go on tours ( joy rides) simply because he was committed in coaching the juniors. He also was the one to advise the Suddha’s about the bowlers technical aspects mentioned Anusha.

Sri Lanka was riding high at that time and Anusha stated that the credit should go not only to him but to Piyal Wijethunga, Manoj Abeywickrema and to a lesser extent Paul Farbrace and Trevor Bayliss, they were not paid millions.

When Kusal Janith and Prasanna Jayawardene were dropped due to lack of form, it was Anusha who bowled to them hours on end to get them back to the squad and some made stupid remarks, noted Anusha. Kusal Janith was in trouble five months before the T20 world cup, during that time the sports minister and the people up above at the cricket headquarters wanted to get Kusal Janith into the team and as a result tried to screw Anusha.

Anusha lamented that some journalists, character assassinate people by stooping so low in order to sell their newspapers.

Our bowlers were getting a hammering in Australia, Anusha lamented the fact that the pacies we had four years ago in 2015 were much better and they won a Test Series in England, then they had Lakmal, Welegedera, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhammika Prasad.

Eventually Anusha was given a letter of suspension. It was regarding his close acquaintance with an individual who had approached several National Cricket players for the illegal activity of match fixing”. He had no involvement in the purported allegations. Anusha later was cleared by ICC on all counts but the CEO of SLC had kept the letter from ICC safe and sound in his drawer for more than three months stated Anusha and even asked him to resign from the post or they threatened to get him involved in another false domestic allegation which they did. He eventually went to the extent of suing SLC for tarnishing his reputation; the one and only person to challenge SLC.

However, Anusha stated that he later came into a settlement after listening to two great monks that he met; venerable “Baththaramulle Amadassa” and “Handapangoda Niwapaatha”. These two monks showed him the way why and how hatred ceased not by hatred but by love. He then realized it is pointless carrying something from this life to another as these could be the effect of his bad karma in the past. Anusha also remembered the famous saying of venerable Ajahn Brahm “don’t worry about them too much, because the bastards will be looked after by the karma anyway.

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