The Sri Lankan cricketers pay their respects to P. B. Tennekoon, 17 February 2011

Cricket is a vibrant game. It involves pressure-cooker situations. As the Sri Lankan cricket squad prepares for the saga known as the World Cup, the heightened tension of competition and the expectations that have been foisted on their shoulders will surely weigh heavily. So, it is of some consequence that they were, one and all, reminded of the limitations of the human body and the fate we all face by the passing away of Punchibanda Bulankulame Tennekoon.

    Punchibanda Bulankulame Tennekoon was the father of their Manager, Anura Tennekoon and went to the lands and lives beyond after seeing through 93 years in this lifetime. He died peacefully today 17th February 2011 while sleeping, a sign, some would say, of a worthy life. His cremation was attended to on the same day

    His many children, daughters Malkanthi, Savithri, Priyani and Premini and sons Bandula and Nalin, as well as his many grandchilden and in-laws, were there to bid adieu. His eldest son, Anura, was on duty for his country in Bangladesh at the opening ceremony; and could not participate in this sad and important moment.

 However, the Sri Lankan cricketers and their support staff compensated in some measure by turning up for the wake at the Tennekoon residence in Templar’s Road Mount Lavinia. At a moment when the preparations for the battles ahead on the cricket field dominated their concerns, this readiness to take time off for an act of human concern was truly a mark of team spirit. It was much appreciated by the Tennekoon family.

 One hopes, too, such a moment will remind these virile young men of the reflections encouraged by the simple mal pūjāva, the offering of flowers, associated with conventional acts of Buddhist worship – where the devotee articulates a saying that tells everyone that their bodies will eventually wither away just like the flowers. Not all the cricketers are Buddhists; but the Saivite and the several Catholics among them are Sri Lankan. They will be alive to such practices and their reflective implications.

    For those Sri Lankans not directly concerned, this gesture of commitment from the cricket team on the eve of the World Cup will be uplifting. It will be all the more so because Anura Tennekoon was Captain of the Sri Lankan squad that participated in the first ever World Cup in England in 1975. Michael Roberts

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