Only captain to lead Uni to win Sara Trophy | Daily News

Only captain to lead Uni to win Sara Trophy

Caryle Perera, the university captain
Caryle Perera, the university captain

The writer harks back to 56 years ago when the University cricket team led by CARYLE FELICIAN HAIG PERERA , a once in a lifetime captain, led them with great aplomb with DISCIPLINE and PUNCTUALITY being the magic wand or the hallmarks that made the team put to second best leading club teams and hold aloft the plum of Sri Lanka club cricket – the SARA TROPHY-.

Before going on to sing the praises and describe the history of that team and the talent and deeds of each of that hit squad and the schools they played for, the writer is proud to mention that squad that will never emerge again or can even be made.

The champion hit squad

The squad: Carlye Perera (SJC). – B.G Reid (STCML, U.R. P. Goonetilleke (STCML), N.Gurusinghe (STCML) ), M.Fernando (ANANDA), K.Fernando (ST SEBS), V.Sivanandan (ST. JOHN’S JAFFNA), M. L Idroos (STCML), C.Ernest (ST.BENS), H.I.Fernando (ROYAL), M.Ponniah (STCML), H.Samarajeewa (ROYAL), K.Wimalaratne (ROYAL), Mel (ROYAL), M.Guneratne and A. Anghie (SPC). Guneratne and Anghie are not in the picture that will remain forever for posterity. Four of them are not in the land of the living.

Sadly the one that had to answer the call of his creator under tragic circumstances was Kiththa Wimalaratne an all rounder and a Cardiologist who having a swim in the pool of his residence in California cruelly drowned leaving that squad with broken hearts. Also no more in the land of the living from that squad are Upali Goonetilleke, N.J.S. de Mel and Adiel Anghie.

First to the captain CARYLE PERERA. He was an old Josephian who captained his school team in 1958. He had the gait of a general and led the troops like one and he had the inborn natural ability to get the best and nothing but the best from every member by example and every member strained every nerve and sinew to the maximum to make success possible.

Stubborn batsman

PERERA was a sedate right hand stubborn batsman. He wielded a straight bat and although he was not aggressive had it him to score runs by not playing a rash stroke and giving his wicket away, but staying put at the wicket and showing batsmen following him how.

That ability rubbed off on every other member. He made three memorable hundreds in that season. He entered medical college in 1960 where he began his career under the captaincy of H.I.K. Fernando before being elevated the captain of the Uni team.

BUDDY REID was the vice captain. In addition to his prowess with willow and leather also had champion table tennis in his sporting blood. He was an opening batsman and a more than useful leggie. He batted with great skill to make runs.

Very correct

UPALI GUNETILLEKE: A very correct left hand opening batsman who had the right temperament to stick at the wicket, frustrate opposing pace bowlers and help swell the total.

NIHAL GURUSINGHE – Tall and a very elegant one drop batsman who always offered a straight bat in making runs and was stubborn and difficult to dislodge.

MOHANLAL FERNANDO – An excellent all rounder who bowled stinging both way swingers with a lovely right arm action and a hard hitting batsman.

Brilliant all rounder

KINGSLEY FERNANDO – A brilliant all rounder. A hard hitting right hand batsman who was devastating when in form. He too bowled right arm medium with great control over swing both ways.

V. SIVANANDAN – A very safe gloveman who hung onto some impossible catches and was quick with his stumping. A very safe right hand batsman.

LAREEF IDROOS – A classic leg spin/googly bowler who was difficult to read. He had a harvest of wickets not only in inter-school, university but also club cricket. He captured two hat tricks in Sara trophy cricket playing for Moors. He was a dependable right hand batter.

Captain’s dream all rounder

CYRIL ERNEST – A captain’s dream all rounder. Bowls biting off spin, a dashing opening batsman with a good eye and a brilliant fielder in close in fielding position. He held a blinder to get rid of England captain Colin Cowdrey when playing for the country which catch was acknowledged by Cowdrey.

MANO PONNIAH – A stylish right hand opening batsman who could switch to quick scoring or hold his end up and jealously guard his wicket. Safe fielder in the slip cordon.

HARSHA SAMARAJEEWA – A tearway right arm fastie with both way swing and a vicious bouncer to boot. He was an exemplary team man and would give his best in all aspects.

Right hand bat

KITHTHA WIMALARATNE – Right hand bat and safe fielder.

N.J.S.DE MEL – A right hand batsman and good player of both pace and spin and was a wonderful team man.

MERIL GUNERATNE - A left arm medium pacer packed a biting away swinger that batsman found difficult to read.

Wicket keeper

ADIEL ANGIE – Wicket keeper and stubborn right hand batsman.

NANDA SENANAYAKE – An all rounder who was a safe and sound opening batsman and a tantalizing off spinner and safe field in any position. He did not play in many games. He toured Singapore and Malaysia with the squad.

H.I. PERERA – The scorer who was good at figures and also a reserve fielder.

Discipline and punctuality

I mentioned earlier that captain PERERA built the team’s success on DISCIPLINE and PUNCTUALITY not least worried of any one player was indispensable however good or talented. And here is a story that is true and credit to PERERA’S leadership.

PERERA made practice essential. He would show no mercy to any player cutting practice. It is said that one day REID missed practice and attended TT practice without getting clearance from his skipper. Reid did not do it to spite his skipper but did not realize the gravity of his action.

However good the excuse Reid adduced was unacceptable and he was benched for the next game which was an important one. That was PERERA the disciplinarian for you. It had a salutary aspect on every member of the team and Reid never repeated, nor did any other member of the squad.

Great pride

In passing it gives the writer great pride to mention of having played with and against members of that champion University squad in inter-school or club cricket.

That was the era when the cream of schoolboy cricketers who in addition to their prowess in their chosen fields were also brilliant with their books.

This is how they ended their University careers: Carlyle Perera (Psychiatrist), Reid (Surgeon), Gurusinghe, (Physician), Goonetilleke (Pathologist)), Idroos (Nephrologist), Ernest (Cardiologist), Wimalaratne (Cardiologist), M. Fernando (Rheumatalogist), Samarajeewa (Physician),Angie (Pulmonologist), Sivandan ( Vet), K.Fernando (Engineer), Senanayake (Business), Guneratne (DIG), Ponniah (Engineer,Architect), N.J.S. de Mel (Executive CTC).

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