Some six weeks ago my feet were firmly embedded in Colombo with
no ideas or plans to leave the shores of the island. Completing
a win over arch rivals Royal College, the Thomians opened-up another
horizon - a tour overseas. The following Saturday sealed the issue
when the one dayer was also annexed.
wheels were set in motion by the Warden Dr. David Ponniah. The live-wires
of the Old Thomians Cricket Union followed his lead and the likes
of Arjuna Hettiarachchi, Ken de Alwis, Prabodha Kariyawasam, Dayal
Silva and Dayalan Subramaniam, made a tour of Malaysia and Singapore
a possibility. On Thursday, 21 April fifteen players and three officials
took wing to Kuala Lumpur, for a tour to last fourteen days.
a nation Malaysia has made giant strides in the past two decades.
Their development has been phenomenal and continues its forward
move. It is sad when thoughts go back to the years when our nation
was known as "Ceylon" and then this country, had not much
more to offer to its citizens. That is now history.
on, our first stop was Penang. A four hour journey by coach. The
journey was a pleasure on well carpeted roads, mainly landscaped
with teak trees, planted between four and six years ago. Beyond
that mountainous stretches, plush estates - tens of thousands of
acres of rubber and oil palm trees.
played cricket on the very afternoon of arrival. It was a twenty
five over affair against a mixed team from Penang Sports Club. The
British influence had been passed on to the locals. The cricket
ground resembled the peaceful setting for village cricket while
tennis (19 courts, including grass courts), squash, swimming and
gym were facilities available for members.
boys, weary after a night on the plane, showed no ill effects, to
knock up 231 for 4 wickets. All the batsmen who went out helped
themselves to runs with Sashreeka Pussegolla and Nishan Mezahir
scoring half centuries. Then, the men were dismissed for 127 runs,
with Danushka Colombage, Rayendra Karunaratne and Shevnath Gnaneskandan
sharing the spoils.
twenty five over game followed the next day against Australian Defense
Forces, at the same venue. They were out to spend-the-day, rather
than play cricket! Batting first our opponents managed 97 runs.
Again, the spin bowlers got amongst the wickets. Then Mezahir struck
out a powerful 70 not out and with Ashan Peiris (24) won the game
in seven overs!
days later we were up against Millenium Cricket Club (a mix of original
Indians and Pakistani's). It was a low scoring game which the Thomians
won by two wickets. The game was played on an artificial surface
- a new experience. Young Ruchira de Silva starred claiming five
then moved into a city called Ipoh for a day and have now moved
into the country's capital, Kuala Lumpur. With that we have commenced
the second leg of the tour. The game has been played in this country
since the days of British rule. Unlike India and Sri Lanka the progress
then had been slow and since has moved along at snails pace. They
are caught-up in a maze of problems, primarily - no men keen enough
to play the game. Naturally, there is no money in it.
ICC is spending mega-bucks attempting to globalize the sport. It
is a sport that requires a huge amount of money and a whole lot
of time. Bangladesh, playing at the highest level are proving to
be misfits. So too a trouble-ridden Zimbabwe. Is the ICC on the
Thomians are looking out for a good game of cricket in Malaysia.
Maybe a game against the National Team could be the answer!