Category Archives: cricket for amity

Tensions and Tales from Sri Lankan Cricket: An Essay from 2009

Michael Roberts, being a reprint of an article entitled “Wunderkidz in a Blunderland: tensions and tales from Sri Lankan cricket,” that appeared in Sport in Society Vol. 12, No. 4/5, May–June 2009, 566–5 … with emphasis added by highlighting in blue and/or red.

The story of Sri Lankan cricket is a tale of great cricketing success within the context of a polity struggling with civil war and great levels of internal violence. Cricket is the one arena in Sri Lankan public culture where Tamils and Sinhalese, locked in a bloody civil war for decades, come together on a national public platform. From being reviled as a Western import in the early years of independence to its gradual embrace and penetration of new catchment areas in less affluent and more rural areas, the story of Sri Lankan cricket in many ways mirrors the development of the post-colonial Sri Lankan nation. This essay fleshes out prominent themes in the history of Sri Lankan cricket within the context of the major socio-political developments in twentieth century Sri Lanka.

 Sri Lankan cricketers celebrate their defeat of Australia  on 17th  March 1996 with the treasured World Cup in their hands

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The Cricketing Universe of Sri Lanka: A Short History written in 2007

Michael Roberts, providing a reprint of  “Landmarks and Threads in the Cricketing Universe of Sri Lanka,” Sport in Society, January 2007, vol. 10 (1): 120-42…. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17430430600989209

Cricket developed in British Ceylon [1] as a pastime indulged in by the British ruling elements, whether military men, officials, merchants or planters. It was but one sport in a wide repertoire of pastimes pursued by the British rulers, practices that were assisted by the resources they commanded, not least a host of minions servicing their leisured enjoyments. Continue reading

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The Tour that did not go beyond the Board Room, 1968

S. S. Chandra Perera, in The Janashakthi Book of Cricket 1832-1996, Colombo, pp. 320-26 …. with emphasis in blue & red from The Editor, Thuppahi and that in  black by Chandra Perera himself

In 1935, a selection debacle had been commented on in verse. Now, 33 years later, a few more lines in verse in a local newspaper fired the first shots to start the controversy over the 1968 tour to England. The tour certainly created much dissension amongst the local cricket fraternity. The lines by pro Bono ‘Pabilis’ read:

And so the Chairman had his day

We thought it would only be HIK,

And poor Mike who won a Test

Found after all he was not the best,

And neither was Gamini, the Cambridge Cap,

Came all the way from England

Little realising that we are now free

And that two Selectors are as good as three.

Does it matter who played against Lister?

Wimalaratne is just poor sister

May be he can play the Chairman’s role

And vote for himself and the Nation

In one magnificent operation.

Remember the words of good old John,

“Serve yourself till you are gone:

Life is but a fleeting thing

Nomads may travel, Gypsies are Kings”.

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The ICC is Imbecile: Verbal Assaults permitted within Cricket Field

Michael Roberts, courtesy of Colombo Telegraph, where the title is as follows: “Against Verbal Assaults within Cricket Field”

Verbal intimidation within the boundary ropes of the cricket field has been tolerated far, far too long by the cricketing authorities (ICC and MCC). This disease has been sustained by weak umpiring from personnel of all nationalities and by clever cover-jobs from eminent cricketers of all nationalities manning the TV commentary teams (including Sunil Gavaskar, Harsha Bhogle, Simon Doull, Russel Arnold and Matthew Hayden and Murali Karthik in the present series in India).

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We Farewell Beverley Juriansz of Panadura and Woodend

Down the way where the nights are gay

And the sun shines daily on the mountain top

I took a trip on a sailing ship

And when I reached Australia I made a stop

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The Politics in and around Cricket. In Praise of Rangana Aiyya


Rip Van Winkle, in The Sunday Times, 8 October 2017, where the title is “400 wickets”

My dear Rangana Aiyya,
I thought I must write to you to congratulate you, because you have reached the magic number of four hundred test wickets – far more than all other Sri Lankan except for the legendary Murali. This came as a pleasant surprise, as did Sri Lanka snatching victory from the jaws of defeat against Pakistan.

Nowadays, seeing a Sri Lankan team win a cricket match is as rare as holding a provincial council or local government election, so I suppose when it does happen we should all be very happy about this and we are indeed. However, I am a bit sad about it as well and I will try to explain why. Continue reading

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Pioneering Cricketing Women in Ceylon, 1948

The Ceylon and England Women’s teams pictured together at the Colombo Oval on 1 November 1948 — image from Roberts, Essaying Cricket, 2006, … with refinements by Lukie Pereira [who, as it happens, was present and saw his cousin Beverley take a brilliant one handed catch on the boundary ropes]

The Cylon Team as as follows: Miss O’ Tuner (captain), Ms Enid Gilly Fernando (vc), Mrs C.hutton, Ms S.Gaddum. Phyllis de Silva, Shirley Thomas, Marienne Adihetty, Beverley Roberts, Binthan Noordeen, Pat Weinman and, Leela Abeykoon... Reseves being Mrs DH Swan, Mrs EG Joseph, … with the three marked in purple being schoolgirls from St. John’s Pandaura where the cricket coach was Gilbert C. Roberts, a cricketer of considerable competence with first-class experiience in both Barbados and Ceylon.

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