I. Hafiz Marikar: D H was the best sporting Municipal Comissioner of Kandy
II. Former Nomads Cricket Captain Dandeniyage Hemachandra De Silva (popularly known as DH in the cricketing circles) passed away in Melbourne Australia on 25 April 2014 after suffering from a brief Illness. He was 82 years old at the time of passing. ‘DH’ played and captained Nomads Cricket Club for many years during 1960s to mid-1970. His vision was to ‘raise the standard of sport and to get wider participation especially of the less privileged classes of society’. Hailed from Galle, he went on to captain Mahinda College. Then captaining the ‘All Varsity’ team in the Sara Trophy Tournament, he had the distinction of toppling reputed clubs such as the SSC – but his greatest achievement was to lead Nomads as Sara Trophy Champions twice during 1960s and early 1970s. DH also represented Sri Lanka at representative Board level, where he excelled. Besides Cricket, he was instrumental in coaching and producing leading Tennis Champions nationally.
DH was a graduate from University of Peradeniya, and served as the Charity Commissioner of Colombo and as the Municipal Commissioner of Kandy during mid to late 1970s. He also served in the Executive Committee of the cricket Board in 1974 as well as a member of the Selection Committee in 1976. Kumar Sangakkara was one of his precious finds during late 1980s where, he spotted and coached young Sangakkara during his early years. DH made a lasting impression in Sangakkara’s progress to the extent that, Sangakkara made a reference to him in his 2011 ‘MCC Cricket of Spirit Cowdrey Lecture’.
Cricket was in the ‘Blood’ of De Silva family where his brothers ‘DP’ (leading batsmen in mid-1960s) and ‘DS’ (leading Leg-spinner in the late 1970s and 1980s) both represented Sri Lanka Cricket with distinction. The latter, D.S. De Silva went on to become the Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket during 2008 – 2011.
He was a man born to lead. His dedication to sport was unwavering. His vision was masterly. He threw himself in to his sporting tasks with renewed zeal and vigour. DH was a sportsman par excellence. He is no more.
III. Sa’adi Thawfeeq:
Dandeniya Hemachandra de Silva the eldest of four brothers who played first-class club cricket in Sri Lanka, has died in Melbourne on Friday at the age of 81. Commonly known by his initials ‘DH’ or as ‘Hema’, he was well known for his discipline which he applied as captain of the Colombo Municipality and Nomads SC teams.
A right-hand opening batsman, DH was renowned for his astute captaincy where he went to the extent of testing the laws of the game. A product of Mahinda College, Galle, DH captained Peradeniya University and played for Sinhalese SC along with Anuruddha Polonowita and Lasantha Rodrigo, both of whom went onto represent their country in unofficial Tests.
The three of them left SSC when Nomads SC was formed in the 1960s and played an integral part in the club winning the division II title and being promoted to play in the division I Sara trophy tournament.
DH was charity commissioner at the Colombo Municipality and later became Municipal Commissioner of Kandy. It was while in Kandy where he started a tennis coaching clinic that he was attacked with a gun by a member of the insurgent group, the JVP, but fortunately for DH the gun didn’t fire. He is known to have coached Sri Lanka cricketer Kumar Sangakkara and his sister at tennis.
Soon after, DH migrated to Australia where he spent the rest of his life. His son Mahinda Dandeniya was a national table tennis champion.
His younger brother Somachandra de Silva played Test cricket for Sri Lanka and later became chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket interim committee when Sri Lanka finished runner-up to India in the 2011 World Cup. His other two brothers were Premachandra de Silva who went onto play unofficial tests for Sri Lanka and Gunasiri de Silva.