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Upali Obeyesekere interview with LMD Magazine

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Upali Obeyesekere interview with LMD Magazine

Posted on 30 November 2020 by admin

OUR NATIONAL IDENTITY

LMD MAGAZINE

 Upali Obeyesekere seeks to build bridges between communities

Q: As far as perceptions go, do you think Sri Lanka can regain its composure in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Absolutely – Sri Lanka’s universal healthcare system has proven itself. The nation has done remarkably well to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and these safety protocols must continue to protect human life.
Q: How do you perceive Sri Lanka today?
A: Favourably. Sri Lanka has come a long way since independence.
The nation’s highways and road network have witnessed major expansion, and this augurs well for tourism. Moreover, the economic dynamics have transitioned from that of a predominantly rural based economy towards being more urbanised, focussing on manufacturing and services.
Colombo’s skyline is appealing. The five-star hotels are world-class. Banking is quick and easy.
Q: And how do compatriots in your country of domicile view Sri Lanka?
A: Canadians view Sri Lanka as a multilingual, multiethnic, and multicultural country striving to maintain its diversity, and yearning to forge a national identity transcending its differences. They also view an island nation mired in conflict due to 26 years of ethnic strife and the Easter Sunday carnage.
On a more positive note, Sri Lanka is known as an awesome tourist destination and winners of the 1996 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Q: Likewise, how do other Sri Lankans living in Canada view Sri Lanka?
A: The majority view Sri Lanka positively. They love to visit and enjoy the natural beauty of the island nation, while reuniting with friends and family.

Q: What were your impressions of Sri Lanka on your last visit – and how much has it changed from the past?
A: Our last visit was in 2017 and we enjoyed every moment of our 21 day stay.

The infrastructure development and improvements to the road network are remarkable. Hotel accommodation, food, shopping, and local travel exceeded our expectations. The Southern Expressway was demonstrative of international standards. Automated banking facilities were seamless – safe and secure. My wife and I brought back many positives.
Q: From afar, how do you perceive news about Sri Lanka and what mediums do you rely on to stay connected especially during times of crisis for example, the Easter Sunday attacks in April 2019 and the coronavirus outbreak this year?
A: News about Sri Lanka is perceived with a ‘pinch of salt.’
I am super active on social media platforms and engage in interactions with credible sources – both personal and business associates. For general news, I turn to Government of Sri Lanka websites, broadcast media and mainstream print media.
Q: How do you view the brain drain – and why is there still no reversal of it, in your opinion?
A: Brain drain is one of the earliest phenomena associated with globalisation. People have been seeking greener pastures since post-independence.
I view this loss of human capital to have a significant socioeconomic effect at the local level. Sri Lanka will not witness a reversal of this situation until there is reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the areas afflicted by the 26 year ‘ethnic conflict.’
Reverse brain drain also depends on the quality of life – a highly subjective measure of happiness.
Q: So, what should Sri Lanka focus on most in the coming decade?
A: I believe Sri Lanka’s focus should be on ensuring national security, good governance and financial accountability; tourism – the potential to be a top foreign exchange earner; the manufacturing, agriculture, services and infrastructure sectors; the Port City (Colombo International Financial City or CIFC) development project and increasing foreign direct investment (FDI).
The nation should also build a bridge to restore economic stability in the short run, and lay the groundwork for robust, sustainable, and inclusive growth in the medium term.
Q: And finally, what are your hopes for the country in the next decade or so?
A: I hope for nationwide peace and unity among all. It is my hope to see an end to the polarization between Sri Lanka’s ethnic communities.
Taking the immortal words of former US president John F. Kennedy in context, I hope for an ‘I am Sri Lankan’ identity and for all Sri Lankans to say unequivocally: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

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Honour Roll: Peterites in Canada who earned their stripes

Posted on 30 April 2020 by admin

SPC-LOGO SITESince 1922, St. Peter's College, Colombo has provided primary and high school education to thousands of students. After passing through the hallowed hallways of this great school, some have taken the bold step to seek greener pastures in other countries. This exodus started in the fifties when many went to the U.K. for studies and then decided to stay on as permanent residents. After the infamous "Sinhala Only" bill introduced by SWRD Bandaranaike's SLFP government, many Peterites left the shores of Ceylon and migrated to Australia. Later, others immigrated to Canada, USA and New Zealand. Many live semi-permanently in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well. St. Peter's College has gone from strength to strength over the years. The school proudly count many eminent alumni who have excelled in their respective professions, serving the country and overseas proudly.

This post will focus only on the Peterites who made Canada, their adopted home. The author of this article declares that he may not have captured the information 100%, but is confident he has covered at least 90%.

Canada is home to about 200-300 Peterites today. While most live in the Greater Toronto Area, others are scattered around Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, and a few other Canadian cities. Some represented Sri Lanka and have earned national honours. They were household names in and out of school.

Representing your country in sports is a dream for many. In this regard, we take pride in recognizing this core group of stars of yesteryear who represented Sri Lanka nationally and in one case – Canada in Sports and Entertainment. Names of Ranjit Wijeyesekere (Ahtletics), Nihal Fonseka (Tenor), Jeyer Rodriguez (Rugby), Hazmee Hameed (Rugby) and Mario Motha (Basketball) stand out. Of particular note is the performance of former Peterite cricketer Srimantha Wijeyeratne, a resident of Mississauga, who was picked to represent Canada in Cricket in 2015, and thereby gained national honours. As at writing this post, Srimantha is still a member of the Canadian Cricket Team. We wish him well.

Many other Peterites in Canada have excelled in their chosen professions and/or fields of business or entrepreneurship in Canada.

Message to Peterites in Canada – Be cognizant of the fact that you belong to a select group of Sri Lankans who were privileged to receive their education at St. Peter's College in Colombo. In matters of your Alma Mater, we request you to act with dignity and uphold the strong values you grew up with in the class rooms of our great school. Refrain from any acts (verbal or written) that may deface, disgrace or dishonour your alma mater and your fellow-Peterites who live amongst you. We are the face of St. Peter's College in Canada and it is imperative to live up to it. Respect for the individual is very important. 

Always, keep the Peterite flag flying! Thank you. 

PETERITE HONOURS

RECIPIENTS OF PETERITE HONOURS FROM CANADA

Year HONOREE CATEGORY

1984

NONE FROM CANADA

Inaugural Year

1988

JEYER RODRIGUEZ

Rugby – Sri Lanka Player

1997

RANJIT WIJEYESEKERE

Athletics – National Champion 

1997

NIHAL FONSEKA

Music – Famous Tenor

1997

MARIO MOTHA Basketball – Sri Lanka Player

2002

MAXWELL RANASINGHE

Entrepreneurship

2002

HAZMEE HAMEED

Rugby – Sri Lanka Player

2006

DARREL PERERA (DEC)

Trade & Commerce

2006

DYLAN MODDER

Entrepreneurship

2016

SRIMANTHA WIJEYERATNE        

Canadian cricketer

2016

UPALI OBEYESEKERE

Trade & Commerce

 

 

 

 

HEAD PREFECTS
Clarence Mendis – 1958
Stephen Alagaratnam
Mario Motha – 1989
Tissa Perera
SENIOR PREFECTS
Ricardo Joseph
Nelum Attanayake (1988-1990)
Roshan Hennennayake
PREFECTS
Bertrand Mendis
Marius Fernando
James Alagaratnam

 

BASKETBALL
Daya Chandraratne (Capt.)
Ranjit Wijeyesekere
Stephen Alagaratnam (Capt.)
Mario Motha (Capt. & Colours)
James Alagaratnam (Colours)
Sunanda Jayasekara (Colours)
FIELD HOCKEY
Crofton Joseph (Colours)
Nelum Attanayake (Colours) 1988

 

TENNIS (PUBLIC SCHOOLS)
Neville de Silva (Decd)
Lalith Wiratunga (Decd)
Upali Obeyesekere

 

TABLE TENNIS
Bertrand Mendis (Colours)
Stephen Alagaratnam (Capt)

 

CRICKET  
Neville de Silva (Dec)  Roy Dissanayake (Decd)
Mark Pereira (Dec)  Christie Marthalingam
David Muthumani (Dec) Dane Joseph
Rumesh Sebastiaan Crofton Joseph
Sunanda Jayasekara Srimantha Wijeratne
Ricardo Joseph  
CADETING  
Nelum Attanayake

Best Cadet; Cadet Sergeant & Regimental Sergeant Major (Acting-1990)

Upali Obeyesekere Cadet Camp – Diyatalawa

ATHLETICS

In the fifties, St. Peter's College were blessed with a superb Athletics team that won the Colombo South Group Meet and Tarbat as well (subject to correction). 

Ranjit Wijeyesekere leads the pack among Peterite athletes domiciled in Canada. Ranjit won national honours in the 440 & 220 yards representing Ace Athletic Club. He blazed through the Peterite track in the 220 yards, and his pet event – the 440 yards. Ranjit was the crowd favourite that time and went on to represent Ace Athletic Club, Air Ceylon and KLM after leaving school. He had the honour of been the first Ceylonese to clock under 50 seconds in the quarter mile. Ranjith immigrated to Canada in the sixties and worked for the Federal Government before retiring a few years back. Ranjit alternates his time between hunting in the summer at his farm and his home in Brampton.

Hazmee Hameed is a public Schools athlete who did well in the sprints in the sixties. His extraordinary speed helped him as a wing-three-quarter in rugby which he excelled.

Errol de Silva is another Peterite who did well in the Colombo South Meet and the Public Schools Championships. He threw the javelin and discuss. Errol worked for a Canadian Bank and lives in Scarboroug in retirement.

Nihal Fonseka excelled in the Pole Vault event. Besides his reputation as perhaps the best tenor produced by Mother Lanka, Nihal was a good athlete and boxer in school. Nihal worked for Canada Post for many decades and is now retired and lives in Mississauga.

Bhanu Wijeyesekere is another athlete of repute at college who also represented the CT & FC on leaving school. Bhanu lives in Markham and is married to All-Ceylon Netball player and Athlete Pauline Clogstun.

Larry Landersz was also a noteworthy athlete excelling in the sprints.

RUGBY

Canada has many Peterites who donned the Blue, White and Gold jerseys since college started rugby in 1932. Four of them had the rare honour of captaining the college rugby team – Jeyer Rodriguez (1962), Stephen Alagaratnam (1963), Hazmee Hameed (1966) and Viraj Fernando (1984). Many others played rugby for college 1st XV in the years gone by. It is important to capture this information for posterity. The list is not complete but compiled out of personal knowledge. Highlighted in 'RED' are those who captained St. Peter's College in Rugby. We know that James Alagaratnam, Hazmee Hameed and Dr. R. Paramsothy are coloursmen in rugby. We will be updating this information once we get confirmation from the others.

Ranjit Wijeyesekere Jeyer Rodriguez Stephen Alagaratnam Siva Narendran (Decd)
Durand Beekmeyer Hazmee Hameed Larry Landersz  
Mervyn Mendis Dr. R. Paramsothy Chris Serpanchy  
Crofton Joseph Viraj Fernando James Alagaratnam  
Tissa Perera C.L. (Lalith) de Silva Sunanda Jayasekara  

The 'Honour Roll' of Peterites in Canada will be updated regularly on an ongoing basis. Our thanks to Bertrand Mendis, Tissa Perera, Nelum Attanayake, Ricardo Joseph and James Alagaratnam for their input in compiling this list. This is history that we are recording for posterity.

  • Initial posting on August 9, 2017
  • 1st Update – 9/22/2017
  • 2nd Update – 9/30/2017
  • 3rd Update – 4/30/2020

Compiled by Upali Obeyesekere – Founding President, JPAA Canada.



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Archibald Perera: The small giant of Peterite rugby

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Archibald Perera: The small giant of Peterite rugby

Posted on 08 December 2019 by admin

Old boys and players of St. Peter’s College regroup for a tribute on December 29:

22 December, 2019 – Sunday Observer

Archibald Perera

Archibald Perera

Old boys and ex-rugby players of St. Peter’s College will team up at the college ground on December 29 in tribute to Archibald Perera the legendary scrum half and coach of the school who also represented Sri Lanka.

Sharm de Alwis and Archibald’s son Sunil Perera pay a glorious tribute to the mentor in the following article.

They called him the “Small Giant” of Peterite Rugby. In those days when bigger giants bestrode the rugby scene, Archibald Perera took them on, head on and squarely. No wonder then that one of the bigger giants, Queen’s Counsel Noel Gratiaen, the CR & FC captain, decided that if you can’t beat ’em, recruit ’em!

Such was the genesis of Archie being inducted into the winning CR side of the late 1930s. Archie was truly the mythical Hermes of Ceylon rugby, as it was then known. One of the finest fly halves in the country and being one of the first Ceylonese to play in what was an exclusive preserve of the British.

As the opposing Forwards and Threes approached him, Archie would transform himself and sell that dummy. Here was Archie looking one way, feinting and leaning one way and instantly accelerating another way, pretending to pass rightwards but doing so leftwards.

When he captained St. Peter’s, the school won all their rugby matches and beat even the clubs they played against. At his side were such stars as Stanley Livera, Percy Perera, Fred Keller, Roy Reimers and Ray de Zilwa. That was when Noel Gratiaen spotted him and stole him to CR.

But it was as a coach of St. Peter’s that Archie became the legend and institution that he remains to this day. The fabled Ago Paiva was one of Archie’s prize players. So were Didacus de Almeida, Jeyer Rodriguesz, Darrel Wimalaratne, the Patternott brothers, Jeffery de Jong, Rohan Wiratunga, Frank Hubert, Hadji Omar and Angelo Wickramaratne to name a few.

What players learnt from him was not only the basic techniques but refinements and craft that can only come from proven experience.

It was in 1972 that St. Peter’s, coached by Archie, was so dominant in the skyline of school rugby that teams feared the encounters. They emerged school champions under Jeffery de Jong and in 1973 under the late Rohan Wiratunga St Peter’s were joint champs and such were their accomplishments that a special celebration was arranged at the school.

A life-sized cartoon sketched by the famous Times of Ceylon cartoonist James Bulner was commissioned. It depicted a small guy, thin legs and carrying a massive rugby ball with the caption. “To Sir with Love!” He was a Hero, Friend, Teacher and Coach.

When Archie, who had crossed countless goal lines, was called upon by his Creator to cross the Great Divide, he did so only after a rugby coaching session where in the evening of that day he succumbed to an attack of asthma.

As his wife, Audrey Perera (nee de Silva) a netballer from St. Paul’s Milagiriya would tell us, such was Archie’s passion for the game and sad as his passing was, he would not have asked for a more fitting ending.

Tribute from son Sunil Perera

The little man much dreaded who could spot and go through the slightest opening with his eyes closed. This is what the Press of that time called him. Archie had the habit of doing the unexpected and making it appear the most natural thing in the world. He was one of the finest stand-offs ever produced I am told, as I did not have the opportunity to see him play.

Archie captained the Ceylon Barbarians in 1950 at the All India Rugby Tournament held in Madras. He held the Ceylon record in the Half Mile and One Mile from 1936 to 39. He was a classics scholar and his pet subjects were Greek mythology and astronomy, in fact the horoscopes of our family members were all drawn up by him.

He was a Captain in the army and stationed in Malaya as it was then known in charge of a POW camp during the Second World War. Archie started coaching college from 1952 till his untimely death in 1982. He produced champion teams and champion rugby players too numerous to mention.

In 1960 Archie joined the staff of St Peter’s, his forte being Mathematics and English. The rest is history and I am sure there are many present here today who could relate many a story. Time does not permit me to relate some great stories of his teaching career. To me yes, he was my father and mentor, but to all of us he was a great coach and teacher who not only taught us rugby but prepared us for the outside world.

I for one succeeded in life because of his influence and guidance. I am sure most of us present today will agree that Archie did play a part in their lives and success. Archie and I are the only father and son to captain College at rugby. (1936 & 1969). My mother’s brothers Kenneth de Silva captained in 1940 and Harold de Silva in 1949. My cousins Brian, Maurice, Rex and Len de Silva all represented College. Brian, Maurice and Rex represented College at cricket.

In conclusion on behalf of the family I wish to thank St Peter’s in naming the Stand after my father as a lasting monument, in recognition of his dedication and service to the school and the organizers of this commemoration event of the Archibald Perera Pavilion Stand at St Peter’s College ground on December 29.

The ceremony was specially initiated by Frank Hubert who is visiting from the UK and with the blessings of Fr. Rector Rohitha Rodrigo. Special thanks to Stewart Schneider-Loos, Nigel Forbes, Rohan Paulas and Dilan Abeygoonewardena for coordinating the event and other aspects within a short period of time.

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Dulip Jayamaha among twenty-five new President's Counsel

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Dulip Jayamaha among twenty-five new President’s Counsel

Posted on 23 December 2018 by admin

 

Upali Obeyesekere with Dulip Jayamaha at Galle Face Hotel, Colombo

Twenty-five Attorneys-at- Law will swear in as President’s Counsel (PC) on January 18 at a ceremonial sitting of the Supreme Court. The swearing-in as President’s Counsel is also known as taking Silk. Attorneys-at-Law who have practised as counsels in courts either in the official or unofficial bar are eligible to be appointed as PCs. Once appointed one doesn’t lose the title even if they are appointed to the Judiciary.

Ponnambalam Ramanathan, Thomas de Sampayo and Frederick Dornhorst were the first to be appointed as King’s Counsel in 1903. It has been the practice since then to appoint lawyers who have served the country for long periods with professionalism and eminence.
The names of Attorneys to be appointed as President’s Counsel
are: 1. Chinthamanie Moonemalle Ballale 2. Satendra Maithri Guneratne 3. Mohamed Sheriffdeen Mohamed Hussain 4. Pilimathalawa Wijesundara Mudiyanselage Suriyashantha Bandara Iddawela 5. Dulip Flavien Raphael Jayamaha 6. Madurapperumage Chandrasiri Jayaratne 7. Liyana Mudiyanselage Vijitha Nandana Jayawickrema 8. Singhanathage Tharapathi Jayanaga 9. Upali Sarrath Kongahage 10. Sunil Kithsirimevan Lankathilleka 11. Arunachalam Muttu Krishnan 12. Bamunuge Joseph Bernard Shanthi Perera 13. Subramaniam Paramarajah 14. Edmund Sirimevan Rajapakse 15. Mohan Rudolph Abeyratna Ratwatte 16. Shantha Chulabaya Rajapakse 17. Akmeemana Palliya Guruge Sarathchandra 18. Abdul Wahid Abdul Sathar 19. Palli Mulla Kapugamage Nelson de Silva 20. Velayuthapilli Thavarajah 21. Sarath Devasena Wijesinghe 22. Luckshan Mahinda Wijesundara 23. Priyal Thusitha Wijayweera 24. Saumya Amarasekera 25. Geethaka Goonawardene.
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FLASHBACK: IGP Chandra Fernando felicitated at his alma mater

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FLASHBACK: IGP Chandra Fernando felicitated at his alma mater

Posted on 23 December 2018 by admin

IGP felicitated at his alma mater

by Sarath Malalasekera – Courtesy of Daily News – Wednesdat, October 27, 2004.

 

Sri Lanka’s police Inspector-General, Chandra Fernando

St. Peters College, Colombo is considered an outstanding education institute, that has during her long history produced many brilliant scholars, outstanding sportsmen and several disciplined professionals in several fields, said Inspector General of Police Chandra Fernando, a distinguished old boy of St. Peters College, at a felicitation ceremony accorded to him by the Old Boys' Union of St. Peters College yesterday morning at the College auditorium.

'As the present IGP, I could today tell you that some of the best, disciplined Policemen produced by St. Peters College, such as former Senior DIG Merril Gunaratne, former DIGs L. M. Jayawardena and Camillus Abeygunawardena, I have worked with, were educated at this college. They have in their own inimitable way shown brilliance whenever they had to shoulder responsibility for the good of the society.

They were also an incentive and an example to others in the Police Force,' said IGP Chandra Fernando.

IGP Fernando emphasised that the Police Force has a flood of Peterites far too many to mention, such as Camillus Abeygunawardena, and expert on Motor Traffic and Sivendran. Those Peterites have always shown that they are disciplined men and have been a great asset to the Police Department.

Today, my mind goes back to fifty-two years, when I was admitted to the second standard of this hallowed institution. Rev. Father Basil Weeratunga was the Rector and Mr. Jayawardena was the headmaster of the Primary School.

The lofty pillars of the College at the entrance stood before me, each perhaps standing for good learning, sportsmanship, discipline, honesty in life and service to others, but perhaps as a small boy they all meant nothing to me. By this time my brother was studying in the third standard. This was one of the reasons I too entered the school.

On that great day, it was my dear mother, holding my hands and I wearing a newly tailored a pair of shorts with shirt had me admitted to school, least realising that fifty two years later, her younger son , would be honoured by the same school, the IGP added.

My dear mother is today no more, to witness what you are doing. During my college days, I was certainly not a bright student. I held no College Prefectship, nor did I walk-away with a single prize, but all knew that I was a great plodder who never, gave up. I was ready for youthful fun that most schoolboys indulge in, but that was part of our life as youth, harming no one in society and not behaving in an uncouth manner. In college I was interested in playing hockey and basketball and was the troop leader to the College Scout Troop, IGP Fernando said.

"One common denominator is that we were all moulded when in youth by this great institution. We can be proud of that. The college has been associated with many great men, professionals such as Dr. Darrel Weinman, Dr. Tony Don Michael, Dr. P. R. Anthonis, Dr. Luxman Weerasena, Dr. P. N. Thenabandu, Prof. Sirisena (now in New Zealand), Prof. Willie Mendis, Justice H. W. Senanayake, Lt. General Denis Perera, President's Counsel H. L. de Silva. Mano Chanmugam, late Gamini Athukorale, Dulip Jayamaha, Ajith Cabral, Rear Admiral Alfred Perera are few of them. Dr. H. I. K. Fernando who earned for himself a great name as a medical man and as a Sri Lankan cricketer and Clive Inman cannot be forgotten today, for his double century at the Joe-Pete encounter in 1954.

They were also the brilliant administrators and many Civil Servants and late Gaya Cumaranatunga is one of them," the IGP said.

IGP Fernando also mentioned the names of Ranjith, Andrew and Godfrey Gunathillake who stone at Athletics, Vinodan John, Roy Dias and in more recent times Russell Arnold.

The first Peterite IGP Chandra Fernando remembered his class teachers and said that some of them are not among us, but it is very important and it is his duty to remember them at a day like this.

College Rector Rev. Father Felician Perera, Harin Gunawardena, president of the OBA Union also spoke at the ceremony. Moanu Chanmugam delivered the vote of thanks.

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Former Peterite cricketer Bernard Wijetunga heads Skal International

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Former Peterite cricketer Bernard Wijetunga heads Skal International

Posted on 03 April 2018 by admin

 

April 2, 2018.

article_image

Former St. Peter’s College cricketer Bernard Wijetunge was inducted as President of Skal International Colombo at its recently concluded AGM held at the Galadari Hotel. Skal is a professional organization of tourism leaders around the world, promoting global tourism and friendship. It is the only international group uniting all branches of the travel and tourism industry. Its members, the industry’s managers and executives meet at local, national, regional and international levels to do business among friends. Skal International today has approximately 15,000 members in 400 Clubs over 90 countries. Most activities occur at local level, moving up through National Committees, under the umbrella of Skal International, headquartered at the General Secretariat in Torremolinos, Spain.

The Office Bearers elected were:

  • President: Bernard Wijetunga
  • Vice President – Ahintha Amerasinghe
  • Secretary – Zahara Mufti
  • Treasurer – Keethi Jayaweera
  • Membership Development Officer – Nirmalan Nagendra
  • Young Skal Coordinator – Rohitha Mendis
  • Public Relations Officer – Dinushka Chandrasena
  • Committee Members – Mahendra Balasuriya and Nishad Wijetunga
  • Immediate Past President – Dushy Jayaweera
  • The Board of Advisors : Sega Nagendra, Jayantha Panabokke, Shamalie de Vaz, Dushy Jayaweera.

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On the nose Down Under: Cheating exposes rotten cricket culture by Lawrence Heyn

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On the nose Down Under: Cheating exposes rotten cricket culture by Lawrence Heyn

Posted on 02 April 2018 by admin

On the nose Down Under: Cheating exposes rotten cricket culture

By Lawrence Heyn (Former Peterite cricketer now domiciled in Australia)

The moral high ground Australian sport had chosen to occupy caved in last Saturday, and the country’s reputation plunged into a dark, deep pit of national shame.

All that is left to be done now is for the undertaker – dare I say it, Cricket Australia head James Sutherland – to shovel the dirt in and plant the epitaph: “Here lies Australian Cricket, betrayed by its captain and ‘leadership group’ in South Africa.”

Never again can Australia take back the high ground against cheating because its cricket team has exposed itself as hypocrites of the highest order. The country had installed itself as judge and jury against cheats from other countries, but now that the cricketers have been found wanting national outrage has been deafening. Outrage that Australia’s self-proclaimed pure, righteous image has been blackened.

This sorry episode also is a wake-up call to all cricket-playing countries to clean up their game. Fast.

Captain Steve Smith, banned by the ICC for one match, has been banished by Cricket Australia for a year while the detestable David Warner received an equally long sentence. The feeling among past cricketers, media and most fans is that they will be happy if Warner never plays cricket again.

Lawrence Heyn

As for Cameron Bancroft, his rather clownish attempt at cheating earned him a nine-month ban, and he will have to travel a long road of rehabilitation before cricket fans will forgive and forget so he could wear the baggy green again. He will have to explain his lie about using sticky tape to scuff up the ball in the third South Africa-Australia Test in Newlands, when in fact he had used sandpaper.

The ill-conceived plans to cheat, hatched by Warner, have cost the captain and vice-captain dearly. Smith and Warner have been kicked out of the Indian Premier League, and the repercussions have been huge – each player reportedly set to lose about AUD $4 million in payments and sponsorship deals. Cricket Australia has already lost one of its major sponsors and $20 million. More huge losses are expected as sponsors review their association with CA.

Cricket Australia has meted out stiff punishment to three cheats, although James Sutherland refused to utter the word “cheat” at his train-wreck of an interview in Johannesburg on Tuesday. This was only the start of a bigger story that is ever-changing. There was fury and disbelief that Coach Darren Lehmann had escaped sanction because just like the famed Sergeant Schultz he “knew nothing”.

There is a saying that fish rots from the head, and certainly Lehmann played a stinking role in developing a team that was arrogant, bullying and so out of touch with reality and decency. And, Sutherland has played his part in this. The CA boss has given tacit approval for sledging, “as long as it does not go too far”. Sutherland is now scrambling to save his job, but the weight of public opinion might soon tip the scales against him.

Lehmann, after saying he would stay on in the job and pledging to change so he could fix Australia’s cricket culture, has decided to resign at the end of the South Africa-Australia Fourth Test match.

Cricket Australia has been slow to get it, as the public outrage has not been directed at just the cheats but also at an organisation that enabled the creation of a win-at-all-costs system that was repugnant to cricket followers around the world. Sutherland and Lehmann have been key architects of a rotting culture. CA needs a man of integrity, such as John Buchanan, at the top to win back support.

When the much-loved Test player Philip Hughes died in 2016 after being hit on the head by a cricket ball, the Australian team as one, including Warner, vowed to be better people as a tribute to him. Yet, it has been short lived. In two years we have seen the rise and rise of the Ugly Australian and this week’s flashpoint has brought Australian cricket crashing down to reality. Bullying and sheer aggression against opposing players have been Australia’s modus operandi for too long. For Cricket Australia, this was acceptable as long the team produced results, such as winning the World Cup and Ashes series.

Former Test player and respected cricket writer Ashley Mallett launched a scathing attack on the Australian team in a column this week.

Mallett wrote: “Today’s players should be mindful of their responsibility to leave the game in a better state than they found it. It is a time-honoured, yet unwritten law.

“Back in the latter stages of the 19th Century Lord Hawke, a colossus in world cricket, who played for Cambridge University, Yorkshire, and England, then a leading administrator for 40 years, was the stalwart of all things good in this magnificent game, wrote: ‘Cricket is a moral lesson in itself, and the classroom is God’s air and sunshine. Foster it, my brothers; protect it from anything that will sully it, so that it will be in favour with all men’.”

Mallett continued: “Hawke’s beautiful words tell us all that is wonderful about cricket: that is cricket when it is played hard, but fair and in the spirit of the game. What have we witnessed of late? All that is grubby and deceitful about a group of would-be cricketing thugs who intimidate their opponents like schoolyard bullies. It worked perfectly for them against the inept, weak England team during the Ashes summer, but this time they were up against a tough South African unit who refused to cower from the bully that is the Australian cricket team.”

Australia’s bullying of visiting teams became more brazen, often aided by a parochial media. In fact, in 2013, one newspaper displayed such jingoism that it chose to bully Stuart Broad just because it had the power to do so. It was so distasteful that journalists with any sense of fairness and balance were repelled by the paper’s tactics and prayed they would never see the like again. Lehmann, true to form, also called on the fans to abuse Broad so “he cries and goes home”.

A veteran foreign journalist told me that when he came to Sydney a decade ago for a Commonwealth press gathering one of the topics discussed was how Aussie sports desks actively backed their national teams. “There was no issue of partisanship – it was considered their duty to do so. I remember saying that was probably why the Aussies were so unpopular around the world and the term ABBA came into being; not the Swedish pop group but to mean Any Body But Australia,” he said.

Sledging – a typical Aussie trait

Sledging, a typical Australian trait was getting meaner and angrier and this cancer has spread fast through cricket’s grassroots. No one seemed to have the will to stop it because the role models at the top endorsed it and showed the impressionable juniors how it was done. One cricket lover, who regularly umpired weekend under-13 game told me how distraught he was by what he saw. He tried to counsel the players, but they just laughed at him and claimed that they were doing it because their idols in the Test team were doing it too.

The ongoing tour of South Africa brought out the worst in the Australians. The screaming and bullying on and off the field was at their zenith, with Warner the chief miscreant. His unrelenting sledging of Quinton de Kock, his manic behaviour aimed at opening batsman Aiden Markram after A B De Villiers was run out, and his stairwell aggression showed how bad the problem had become. The others too fell in step with Warner – Nathan Lyons was sanctioned for dishonouring de Villiers, Smith could be seen constantly mouthing off from slip, while Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Marsh, Josh Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins often looked mean and ill-tempered after each ball was bowled.

This was upsetting to the true cricket fans, and the media was slowly starting to wake up and realise that Australian cricket had a putrid smell about it.

Sporting image undone

Australia’s sporting image was finally undone by something deep-rooted and sinister – Warner was a conniving cheat, aided and abetted by Smith and Bancroft. Warner was the team’s designated “ball manager”. What a joke! We all know now that ball manager was code for “chief cheat”. It was curious that Warner always had a heavily strapped left hand. When suspicions grew that the strapping served a more devious purpose, Warner divested himself of this role and recruited a patsy in the shape of the bumbling rookie Bancroft.

Then Karma came knocking and Australia, from the Prime Minister to cricket fans, is reeling under the weight of this national shame. But what will hurt more is that the country can no longer adopt a pious and holier-than-thou attitude it so revelled in, politics and sport.

The game will never be the same. It is a wake-up call to cricket administrators around the world to take back control from rat-bag players. In Sri Lanka, during the Nidahas Trophy tournament, ugly scenes ensued between Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi players. This must not be allowed to happen again. All players should be set clear expectations that bad behaviour will not be tolerated.

The ICC’s demerit points system is a joke. Players will continue to transgress because they know they have wriggle room. Stern measures must be taken, even to the extent of invoking a behaviour clause in players’ contracts. It should be zero tolerance – one strike and you are out. Never has there been a stronger argument for the introduction of the red card, with the umpires given greater autonomy.

Ball tampering cheats are infesting the game round the world. You only have to search “ball tampering” online to see the many devious methods used to change the condition of the ball – from Shahid Afridi biting the seam to Faf Du Plessis’ Lollygate. Then, there was the brazen cheat, Victorian bowling coach Mick Lewis, who kicked the ball into the gutter and then scraped it on the concrete in the 2016 Victoria-South Australia Shield final. Victoria was bowling at the time. Lewis pleaded guilty and was fined more than $2000, but he remained in the game.

Not the first time

It emerged on Friday that Sheffield Shield match referee Daryl Harper had complained about ball tampering by Warner and Smith in an email to umpires head Simon Taufel two years ago. “When David Warner repeatedly bounced his returns in to (NSW wicketkeeper) Peter Nevill on the first day, the umpires appealed to Smith to support their calls for fair play. They weren’t encouraged by his response. I assisted the umpires on the second morning by suggesting to Trent Johnston (coach) that CA didn’t need an issue with the national captain being involved in a ball-tampering incident,” Harper had written.

If the ICC is serious about ball tampering it must reintroduce a long-abandoned rule where only the bowler can shine the ball. The umpires should be handed the ball between overs to cut any illegal activity.

So far, behaviour is measured by such vague terms as “do not cross the line” and “spirit of the game”, and most teams have now corrupted them to the very extreme. The ICC must harness the wisdom of the true gentlemen of the game, I am sure there are a few around – Mahela Jayawardene and Brendon McCallum to name two – to set up a code of conduct that is realistic and enforceable.

Men behaving badly on the cricket field is a universal problem. The constant chirping by wicket-keepers and chatter by close-in fielders to unsettle the batsman have no place in the game. It is disgusting. The cricket field must be treated as a work place; the players are paid obscene sums of money as professionals and they must act as such. Aggression, bullying and vilification must not be tolerated.

As I said, it starts at the top. Cricket boards must be held responsible and sanctioned for the sins of their players.

Last weekend, I was browsing through my considerable collection of Australian cricket books – from Trumper to Chappell – to gain an understanding of how the game has changed. I came across a picture of Frank Worrell handing over the trophy to Richie Benaud after the famous Australia-West Indies tied test of 1960. The pair’s smiles lit up the picture and there was such genuineness and rapport between them. They were truly in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

We must restore cricket to that state of enjoyment. Otherwise, I might as well toss my books to fuel a funeral pyre for a game strangled by its noxious participants. At this stage, I won’t mourn its loss.

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Blast from the Past: Past Cricketers of St. Peter's College 1978/1979

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Blast from the Past: Past Cricketers of St. Peter’s College 1978/1979

Posted on 13 January 2018 by admin

"A picture is worth a thousand words" 

Members of St. Peter's College Cricket Champion Team of 1978/79 & Under 16 of 1977.

Seated L to R: Michael Elias, Rohan Paulaz, Suraj Abeysekera, Monty Crusz.

Standing L to R: Bakir Mohamed Ali, Rumesh Ratnayaka, Suren Perera, Romeish De Mel, Tony Candappa, Niranjan Rodrigo, Kitto Fernandopulle, Janaka Abeygoonaratne, Lenny Cramer, Wipula Perera.

A few of in this elite group excelled in cricket both in school and for the country.  Niranjan Rodrigo played for St. Peter's College from 1978 – 1982 (both years included) for a total of five years. An all-rounder, he was in the 1978 Peterite team led by Suraj Abeysekara that won the big match by six wickets. He played alongside Amal Silva, Vinodhan John, Rumesh Ratnayaka, Rohan Buultjens, Rohan Paulusz, …

The following captained their alma mater –

Suraj Abeysekara (1978) – Kitto Fernandopulle (1979) – Michael Elias (1981) – Niranjan Rodrigo (1982). 

Rumesh Ratnayake, is a former Sri Lankan cricketer who played in 23 Tests and 70 ODIs from 1982 to 1993. He is the current fast bowling coach of Sri Lanka national cricket team. 

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Air Commodore Roshan Biyanwila is new SLC Secretary

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Air Commodore Roshan Biyanwila is new SLC Secretary

Posted on 06 January 2018 by admin

The Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) at an emergency meeting last evening decided to appoint Air Commodore Roshan Biyanwila as the new Secretary at SLC. The position of secretary fell vacant with the appointment of the sitting Secretary Mohan de Silva as the Vice President in charge of National Cricket at SLC. However this (secretary) appointment has to be ratified at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) scheduled for 7 January.

Roshan Biyanwila has been involved at the SLC in the capacity of a member of the Executive Committee before being appointed in his new role as Secretary.

It is mentioned that the name of another Member of the Executive Committee Samantha Dodanwela had also been suggested for the post of secretary but with the refusal of Dodanwela to accept it Biyanwila's name had been confirmed.

 

Roshan Biyanwila, the higher ranked Air Force Officer, Will be new Secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket Board(SLC), Cricket Age reliably learns. He will replace Mohan De Silva and his name will be officially announced on the January 7, when an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) is scheduled to take place.

Biyanwila has come through the ExCo Committee. There is a provision in SLC ExCo to nominate defence services. SLC Rotates it one by one between Army, Neavy and Air Force in every two years.

However, Biyanwela name was finalized only after other refused to take the highly responsible post. According to sources, Samatha Dodenwela was also offered the post. However, being a reputed and enjoys the clean image, he outright refused.

Also, it is very unlikely for Biyanwela as well to work freely, assuming the 'too many bosses' type of scenario within the SLC.

Like Dodenwela, Biyanwela also has a reputation of being honest and patriotic. In this scenario, It would be rather interesting to see, how he will be able to function without pressure and interference.

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Spellbound 2017 to cast its spell, presented by St. Peter's College

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Spellbound 2017 to cast its spell, presented by St. Peter’s College

Posted on 24 October 2017 by admin

St. Peter’s College, Colombo 4, presents Spellbound 2017, the most innovative and unique school concert in the history of school concerts. The concert will be held on October 29 from 6.30 p.m. at the College Quadrangle.

Spellbound 2017 focuses on bringing together generations of Peterites to perform their various talents, music, dance, etc., which will guarantee an evening filled with joy, happiness, wonderment and bring fond memories of yesteryear. With the sounds of music, various instruments and unforgettable sights including diverse forms of dance, which will be performed against the backdrop of their beloved Alma Mater; St. Peter’s College; this spectacular production promises to make it an evening not easily forgotten. To add even more sparkle to the proceedings, four of Sri Lanka’s most popular bands, consisting Peterite representation, namely Wildfire, Lineone, Magic Box and 2forty2 will perform.

A college wide invitation was issued to audition for this talent show. Over 1,000 students came forward to dance, sing and beatbox their hearts out, while others performed magic and showcased mathematical and logical skills. After 2 rounds of intense competition, 20 outstanding acts were chosen. Six of these emerged as finalists, and will enthrall the audience with their breathtaking talents.

Some of the distinguished old Peterites who will take part in this wonderful production are Shane Karunaratne (Zing), Billy Fernando, Lanthra Perera, Sajith Perera, Hemanga Samaraweera, Dinesh Subasinghe, Shafi and Asanka Sahabandu, Javin Thomas, Malinda Warnapura, Isuru Perera, Supun Ranasinghe, Danushka Ranjan, Dulaj Perera and Kevin “Kutty” Dixon. These prominent names and other past Peterites will provide music, sing and dance to entertain you.

St. Peters’ College boasts of a host of national level achievers, who will also be highlighted at Spellbound 2017.

We couldn’t leave our teachers out of this special event, so, look forward to being held captive by a few of the school’s teachers performing on this magical evening.

“It is for the first time in our era that St. Peter’s College is organizing an event of this caliber. All Peterites, past and present should not miss this unique opportunity, as this will be an evening to remember”

Malinda Warnapura (a proud Peterite, former national cricketer, turned coach)

Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd is on board as a sponsor. 

Courtesy: Daily News.

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