Talent Abundant. The All-Conquering University of Ceylon Cricket Team of 1962/63

Anonymous Author, in The Island 18 March 2013

CEYLON UNICKT TEAM 62-63Correcting The Island, this is the Pool of Ceylon Cricketers at a trial match in 1969; but its main point remains: The Ceylon pool players included several doctors and some of them were part of the Sara Trophy winning Uni-of-Ceylon team of 1962/63.

Standing L – R: BN Mahmood, , Lareef Idroos, C Balakrishna, T B Kehelgamuwa, Gulam Razeek, Daya Sahabandu, Mevan Pieris, Nihal Gurusinghe, Nihal Soysa, KM Nelson, Sunil Wettimuny, Cyril Ernest, V Sivananthan.
Seated L – R; Sylvestor Dias, David Heyn, Neil Chanmugam, Fitzroy Crozier, Dhanasiri Weerasinghe, Buddy Reid, Michael Tissera, HIK Fernando, Abu Fuard, Anuruddha Polonowita, Anura Tennekoon, Ranjit Fernando.
Ground: Sriyantha Rajapakse, Peter Samarasinghe.

Thanks to Mevan Pieris for the listing.

Former members of the University of Ceylon ‘62/63 will gather at the NCC on the morning of March 23 to celebrate their winning the Sara Trophy 50 years ago. Their feat has never been achieved by any other university team. In spite of the heavy burden of studies, they had to contend with, they were able to excel in their chosen sport to win the Sara Trophyin the 1962/63 season. The team consisted of a very talented group of youngsters who were not at all overawed by the might of the opposition, sporting All Ceylon players of that era. They, in their youthful exuberance, overcame all odds in capturing the title. Their conduct off the field was exemplary. They were gentlemen to the core in their behaviour.

Many of them were also accomplished musicians. All these cricketers, without exception have reached the pinnacle of their chosen careers as doctors, engineers, architects, civil servants and veterinarians, both locally and abroad.

The year 1962 saw the coming together of a number of very talented students from various schools in Ceylon of that era to be members of a fantastic cricket team to represent the University of Ceylon in cricket in the local premier tournament, vying for the Saravanamuthu Trophy. These young students of that era, mainly from the Colombo schools, entered university, after passing the very competitive university entrance exam of the era.

The team was skippered by Carlyle Perera, a Josephian, a no nonsense leader and a fourth year medico at that time. He was a hugely talented batsman with an astute cricketing brain and the incredible skills of man management to extract the best efforts from his team members. His deputy was a Thomian – Buddy Reid, another fourth year medico, who was a great cricketer with a never say die attitude and possessing true Thomian grit.

The other members were:

Mano Ponniah –Thomian – Opening bat and superb fielder in the covers. Engineerin student.

NJS de Mel – Royalist – Diminutive and dashing opening bat with no respect for reputations of the opponents.

Nihal Gurusinghe – Thomian – Tall and elegant and attractive batsman to watch when set. Smart in the slips. Medico.

Lareef Idroos – Thomian – A great all-rounder. Leading leg spinner of the era, sound batsman and an excellent slip fielder. – Medico.

Cyril Ernest – Benedictine – Another great all-rounder – Lethal off spinner, dashing bat and a brilliant close in fielder. – Medico.

Mohanlal Fernando – Anandian – All-rounder – Opening bowler with excellent control of swing; middle order batsman and fantastic fielder in close, in and in the deep.

V. Sivanandan – The only outstation schoolboy cricketer in the team – from St. John’s, Jaffna. A fabulous wicket keeper and lower order batsman – Veterinarian.

Harsha Samarajiva – Royalist – Opening bowler, with a vicious well concealed bouncer who intimidated many an opposing batsman. Lower order bat. Close in fielder. Medico.

URP Goonetilleke – Thomian – A solid opening bat; fielded in the covers and also bowled medium pace cutters when needed. Medico.

K. Wimalaratne – Royalist – A stubborn batsman and a medium pace bowler. Fielded in the outfield.

Nanda Senanayake – Royalist – Superb allrounder – middle order bat, off spinner and a great fielder in the covers. Physical Science student.

Kingsley Fernando – St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa. A dashing bat, leg spinner and excellent fielder close in fielder. Engineering.

Merril Guneratne – St. Peter’s College – Left arm medium pace swing bowler with excellent control of line and length. Fielded in the mid-on and mid-off positions. Underrated batsman who sold his wicket very early. The only student from the Arts Faculty.

Adiel Anghie – Peterite – Reserve wicket keeper. Solid Middle order bat. Medico.

Unselfishness and team camaraderie were the foremost attributes instilled into the minds by their leader, Carlyle Perera. This did pay dividends. It must also be mentioned that in the following season, the university were runners-up to Bloomfield and lost by the barest of margins of 0.04 points due to one missed catch. Well, that’s cricket.

The team has since lost some of their members, and the surviving members of the champion team are back in Sri Lanka to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of winning the championship and they will be celebrating at a couple of events in a resort hotel down South, and at the NCC, at a reception for the team.

It has to be noted that six members of that great team subsequently played in representative Ceylon sides – Buddy Reid (also played for Ceylon in Table Tennis), Mano Ponniah (also played for Cambridge, England.), Nihal Gurusinghe, Lareef Idroos (also played for USA), Cyril Ernest (also played for the USA and in the World Cup -Birmingham, England) and V. Sivanandan.

Where are they now?

Carlyle Perera – Melbourne, Australia. Consultant Psychiatrist.

Buddy Reid – Melbourne, Australia. Consultant Surgeon.

Nihal Gurusinghe – Tepuke, New Zealand. Consultant Internist.

Mano Ponniah – Back home in Colombo. Renowned Architect.

Lareef Idroos – Los Angeles, USA. Consultant Nephrologist. Retired professor UCLA.

Cyril Ernest -Lancaster, California. USA. Consultant Cardiologist.

Harsha Samarajiva – Back home in Colombo. Much sought after Internist.

Mohanlal Fernando – Wales. Retired Rheumatologist and specialist in Sports Medicine.

V. Sivanandan – Resides in Malaysia. Emeritus Professor in Veterinary Sciences, University of Minnesota.

Kingsley Fernando – Colombo. Retired Chief Engineer, Colombo.

Nanda Senanayake – Colombo.

Adiel Anghie – Virginia, USA. Retired Consultant Pulmonologist.

Merril Guneratne – Colombo. Retired DIG.

Unfortunately, NJS de Mel, K. Wimalaratne and URP Goonetilleke are not with us anymore. NJS was an executive at Ceylon Tobacco. He died in Sri Lanka. K. Wimalaratne, a consultant Cardiologist tragically drowned in California, while URP Goonetilleke, a Consultant Pathologist died in England.

Mohanlal Fernando represented Wales at tennis. Buddy Reid represented Australia in the Masters Table Tennis International tourney and Cyril Ernest achieved the distinction of gaining his Black Belt in Tae Kwondo [an also played for USA in Cricket at the Fworld cup in UK]..

All of them were university students first, though they were in the limelight due to their sporting abilities and that studies did supersede sports. For those representing the country today in various sports, the members of the ‘62-63 team are an example. It would be pertinent to mention that they were able to combine the two. Some of them represented the university in cricket, but other sports as well.

Buddy Reid – Cricket and Table Tennis

Cyril Ernest – Cricket and Hockey

Mohanlal Fernando – Cricket and Badminton

V. Sivanandan – Cricket and Soccer.

URP Goonetilleke – Cricket and Hockey

K. Wimalaratne – Cricket and Hockey.

Nanda Senanayake – Cricket, Hockey and ?


Studying the photograph I have realised that it depicts the pool of players vying for a spot in the Ceylon XV and that the anonymous author wished to stress that the pool included seven medicoes from the team that went on to win the SARA TROPHY that season. Fair enough –but the picture shows Ranjit Fernando on extreme right (as we face the photo) and such individuals as Neil Chanmugam and HIK Fernando. HIK was a medico and played for the Uni of Ceylon but may have been playing for a club in 1962/63. Neil Chanmugam –in the photo seated third from left –was at Uni but I think he left before completing his degree to join the mercantile sector. Buddy Reid and Michael Tissera are seated in the centre as far as I can tell. Michael Roberts


Michael, Yes indeed the photograph is not directly related to the university team. As you correctly say this is a photo of the national pool of cricket.There are many who never saw the inside of a university. Since Anura Tennekoon, Sriyantha Rajapakse, Sunil Wettimuny and I are all in it,it is a photograph taken in the late 1960s. Anura played for SriLanka as a schoolboy, I think in 1966 against Joe Lister’s side. Sunil was younger than us and left Ananda around 1969. I think this photo would have been taken around 1969. I remember bowling at Balakrisna and Buddy Reid in the trial matches played at the CCC and SSC and shattering the stumps of both batsmen. HIK played for Sri Lanka for the last time that year. I think it was the year when Tony Lewis brought a team.

It may be better if you title the photo more appropriately as “Sri Lanka National Cricket Pool in late 1960s, carrying several ex- university cricketers“.\


Uni of Ceylon Cricket Team 1961158The Universityof Ceylon XV in the previous season 1960/61

MANO at CAMBRIDGE Mano Ponniah batting for Cambridge University, mid-1960s


Filed under cricket and life, performance, Sri Lanka Cricket, unusual people, work ethic

5 responses to “Talent Abundant. The All-Conquering University of Ceylon Cricket Team of 1962/63

  1. Pingback: Brain Drain. From Ceylon to Sri Lanka, 1962/63 to 2013 | Thuppahi's Blog

  2. Great achievements. A prestigious University indeed in many respects. Sath (prof.A.H.Sathananthan, Monash Melbourne
    Where is Mevan now? I was a student 1955-1959 in Zoology. We had 4 sports captains then. J.A de Silva, Homer Titus, Aloy Jayawardena, T.G.Pillai

  3. Hi Gentleman,
    I was lucky enough to be playing for the SSC in that memmorable final vs University.I had qualified to join the Medical Faculty but the time was “not yet”ready..So SSC it was..I bowled 1st change and got 5 wickets,but Buddy Reid defended as if his life depended on it and prevented THE SSC from winning yet another Sara Trophy.
    My brother Kithsiri was in the University team and my room mate at home.So we had many a discussion about that game, and Mr Berty Wijesinghe a SSC stalwart was my next door neighbour, and wrote the article for “Times” newspaper then. I have been lucky to meet Mohanlal Fernando in Wales Lareef Idroof Cyril Ernest at different times and Carlyle Perera in Melbourne. Most interestingly i had the good fortune of having Buddy Reid stay with me here in Sydney for ten days when he competed in the State and World Championships
    at Table Tennis some 3 years ago. He was 69 years old then.
    His TT partner from 52 years ago Punderica Perera UK, came across to watch him play. So we both watched Buddy at TT.
    He was like a little boy and played really well,but waiting to turn 70years so that he could play against the :UNDER 80’S!! and he would be only 70!
    Just something about the Great Buddy Reid that we should all know.
    Hello and wishing everyone the best of health .
    Sarath Wimalaratne
    E mail drwim@nssfp.com.au
    ph 87573524 mob 0417 908 994

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  5. Pingback: Carlyle Perera: Captain Marvellous … Led University to Sara Trophy Triumph in 1962/63 | Thuppahi's Blog

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