Cricketing Talents that were undermined from Within: Ceylon in the 1960s

Michael Roberts

Rex Clementine has done Lankan cricket fans a great favour by reminding us of the 0ccasion when the Ceylon team of yesteryear beat India at Ahmedabad at the tail-end of 1964. He tapped Michael Tissera for the central details. Typically, Michel did not dwell on his bold captaincy and the magnificent gamble of declaring their first innings closed when they had some wickets in hand in order to aim for an Indian batting collapse in their second innings and  to then snatch a win. So it transpired.

Back row: TCT Edward, DP de Silva, Norton Fredrick, Ranjit Fernando, Lareef Idroos

Mid-Row: M. Devaraja, Neil Chnamugam, Mano Ponniah, Darrel Lieversz, Lasantha Rodrigo, Sylvester Dias, Danasiri Weerasinghe

Seated: Stanley Jayasinghe, Abu Fuard, Michael Tissera, HIK Fernando, Anuruddha Polonowita, Nisal Senaratne (Manager)

I was not aware that TCT Edwards (also a Thomian like Tissera and Ponniah) had been injured and was unable to bat  I have no personal recollections of that series because I was in England then. It would be of great value if cricket aficianados can buttonhole the others involved in this game and ask them to write down or speak about their recollections of the tour in general and this unique moment in Sri Lanka’s cricket history.

Ceylon was poised in the 1960s to make a political pitch for status as test nation. This meant beating down the doors of the MCC and the dominant cricketing nations. Alas, personal ambitions and political machinations within our own ranks meant that the potential derived from our win in India was scuttled by some elements in the local cricket scene. Consider the note that i have penned in introducing the image above within my book Essaying Cricket, 2006, Fig 44.

“This was truly a historic moment, albeit one not adequately recognised.  It revealed the capacity of Ceylon’s cricketers and the strength derived froma mix of Colombo schools, Mahinda College, Galle and Prince of Wales , Moratuwa. That this capacity did not crystalise was due in large part to the conservatism of the ICC in the 1960s and 1970s. However, this cause was not assisted by the machinations of a clique of players (some in the picture) whose personal ambitions and class jealousies inspired an ill-advised attempt to depose Michael Tissera as captain and pack the team for a projected tour of England. The [planned] tour, cobbled together by well-wishers in an era of abject financial capacity, collapsed. Sri Lanka cricket was set back a decade or more.”

This unholy story must also be uncovered and retailed.

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The image of the 1964/65 Ceylon Squad in India and most ot those below are taken from Michael Roberts: Essaying Cricket. Sri Lanka and Beyond, Colombo Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2006 … ISBN 955-1266-25-0 pb ….and …. 955-1266-26-9 hb

Images of SOME OUTSTANDING CRICKETERS from the 1960s

Clive Inman Stanley Jayasinghe

TB Kehelgamuwa  Dhanasiri Weerasinghe  Michael Tissera  Neil Chanmugam

Mano Ponniah batting for Cambridge University

Lawry b. Chanmugam


Vale for Norton Fredrck by Sa’adi Tawfeeq: h1 “Norton Frederick, Our “Fiery Fred” ... 14 August 2011,


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Filed under cricket and life, cricket governance, cricketing icons, Indian cricket, performance, player selections, politics and cricket, Rex Clementine, Sri Lanka Cricket

One response to “Cricketing Talents that were undermined from Within: Ceylon in the 1960s

  1. Pingback: How the Scheduled Tour of England in the 1960s was blown apart from Within | Critiquing Cricket

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