Legends of Ananda and Nalanda | Daily News


 

Legends of Ananda and Nalanda

The big match fever is around the corner and as an Anandian it’s quite appropriate for me to pen a few words about an Anandian and a Nalandian who blazed a trail not only in Sri Lanka but England as well. They are none other than Deshabandu Arjuna Ranatunga and Stanley Jayasinghe.

ARJUNA RANATUNGA

Arjuna Ranatunga, the man who brought the 1966 World Cup to Sri Lanka I met him a few years back and my belief of him being a born leader was fully justified. His deep calm voice was reassuring and no wonder he cut across all barriers to win the World Cup for Sri Lanka. Arjuna’s cheek was admirable he loved to hate the Aussies. He made sure that he got under their skin more often than not. His heart was big and his mind calculating all the time on the field. He could soak up all the pressure thrown at him. Thus far we have never come across a captain of his caliber and he certainly broke down all barriers for us to emerge in the Test scenario and we should all be proud of him.

STANLEY JAYASINGHE

(Harold de Andrado in Nalanda souvenir 1965)

Popular swashbuckling cricketer Stanley Jayasinghe the batsman with a broad grin, keen eye and flashing blade, continues to captivate the hearts of cricket crowds wherever he plays. He has been Ceylon’s most natural cricketer. Although living out of Ceylon for the past 9 years his inimitable brand of effervescent sportsmanship has been delighting the crowds on English grounds and he will always remain a player of distinction and class.

To come to his early history Stanley was first heard of as a 13 year old playing for his alma mater Nalanda against their rivals Ananda in a wartime match at the Gampaha Botanical Gardens Cricket ground. As a schoolboy he became the boy prodigy of Ceylon cricket, by winning five Ceylon caps. Stanley was formerly guided by Gerry Gunaratne, Nalanda coach and subsequently by that great West Indian Sir Leary Constantine.

In England, he first played in the Cornwall League as an all-rounder and in 1957 he played for the Colne Cricket Club. In 1959 he scored 1061 runs and took 43 wickets at 18 runs apiece. In 1961 he played for Leicestershire and outplayed Sobers, Hunte, White, Bill Alley and Ron Headley to score 88 in 52 minutes. In 1962, his finest season he scored 1574 runs and in 1963, 1210 runs and in 1964 despite handicaps of illness and injury he scored 1010 runs.

He has really proved an ambassador to the country of his birth in more ways than one, and Ceylon has every reason to be proud of him.

These two schools have not only produced the highest number of international cricket stars for Sri Lanka, they have also gifted us with excellent cricket administrators, elite ICC cricket umpires, respected Match Referees, leading sports media personalities and very importantly talented cricket commentators and cricket writers who were instrumental in spreading cricket awareness to all parts of Sri Lanka.

- T de S

 


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