Supun Perera, in the Daily News
“Coaches are not born but made; coaching consist of skills and commitment which are not inherited but are acquired through constant practice. Maintaining the mutual understanding, trust and respect which you truly earn from your young chargers that would ultimately lead to a genuine stewardship as a coach and above all a good human being”. I feel the above sentiments are far more behind in paying tribute to a life long friend and a coach par excellence Harsha De Silva who will be emigrating to Australia with his familly shortly and will be located in Sydney New South Wales.
Harsha was a coach par excellence, a warrior in the field of cricket and skill searching was his speciality. Followed a level two coaching program in down under which he qualified through sheer commitment ,hardwork and going through some rigorous experiences both at St Joseph’s college and later as the coach of the women’s cricket team of the island. He is tall in size verily a mighty colossus in stature and performances which on and off the field of cricket. Space does not permit the recounting all the outstanding achievements and sterling qualities of this fine cricket allrounder and later as a coach but a salient few may be mentioned. De Silva turned out for St Joseph’s from 1988 to 1991 and his final year as the vice captain to Viran Perera.De Silva played the game to it’s true merits and loved it so much which ultimately paved the way for a successful coaching career.
His heroics will be best remembered in the year of 1989;during the Battle of the Saints limited over cricket encounter which took place at the P.Saravanamuttu stadium where DeSilva and diminutive Dyan Morris brought and unlikely but a memorable victory for the Darley road school against their traditional rivals St Peter’s. He is gratefuly remembered today and days to come not only for his dazzling brilliance on the field but equally or more for what he gave back to his Alma Mater and to the game of cricket so willingly as a coach and a mentor. Legendary Sri Lankan left arm paceman Chaminda Vaas his erstwhile team mate at school and club level once remarked “He was a brilliant allrounder in his playing days and his hawkeyed talent search was of course a master piece” True to this sentiment; he groomed and unearthed Angelo Mathews (The present Srilanka captain), stylish left hander Dimuth Karunaratne,explosive allrounder Thisara Perera and crisis man Roshane Silva. Year 2005 was an overwhelming evidence for his dynamism where St Joseph’s achieved “Mount Everest” in the school’s two day circuit with nine record wins under the leader ship of fourth year coloursman Hashan Goonetilleke.
However the crowning moment for De Silva was dawned in the year of 2008 when St Joseph’s thrashed their traditional rivals St Peter’s College by an innings and forty two runs to eclipse a 36 year drought of victories. The entire team and the officials were rewarded with a tour of Australia which the Josephians managed to visit both Sydney and Melbourne.
After a decade of coaching at his Alma Mater; he took up an uphill task in blossoming and polishing the cricketing “touch” of the “fairer sex” of the Island.
Within a short period of time he managed to elevate the standards of the women’s team through hard work and devotion. The greatest achievement was none other than defeating the mighty Indian women’s team during the recently concluded world cup which was held in India.
The fine cricketing allrounder he was, he always strongly believed and instilled his young chargers that the cricket had to be played hard as it ought to be played but above all it must be played clean. Equally ,He instilled in the boys never to gloat over victory nor to despair in defeat but to acknowledge whatever the outcome in dignity. This was his credo and it was clearly epitomised when St Peter’s defeated the Josephians in 2010 after a lapse of 32 years De Silva was the first to go and congratulate the Petetrite team and the officials.
Therefore a spirited Josephian salute to you for a true friend ,coach par excellence and above all a concerned human being. My fervant hope that you will certainly return to the Island one fine day as the head coach of the Sri Lankan national side!