An Excellent Portrayal of Cricket’s Roving Fandom

Winds behind the Willows: An excellent portrayal of cricket's roving fandom

The greatest lovers of cricket and the connoisseurs of the game are not necessarily the greatest cricketers. Most often we find that the true lovers of the game are those who have played a reasonable amount of cricket but have never attained the great heights to which the great cricketers have. Ranjan Mellawa is one of them, and like me, he started his cricketing career in his father’s coconut grove, but unlike me, his fellow cricketers were his brothers and his friends. Mine were my sisters and my maids.

Playing with the rubber ball and the bat was how most of us started our cricket in Sri Lanka, and Ranjan weaves an interesting tale not only of his own beginnings but also of the beginnings of the game in England, Sri Lanka and how it has spread the world over. Particularly, he talks of how Sri Lanka itself matured over the years, and after a long struggle, gained international status and subsequently built on it to achieve greater heights, by winning the World Cup in 1996.

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‘Fans Deserve a Better Deal’ – Views of a Random Follower

A stadium with a seating capacity of 33,000 is sold out when only 4,000 tickets have been allocated and sold.

Colombo,  21st August 2017

My dear Ranjan

Just finished reading your book Winds Behind the Willows.

I am no fan of cricket except when Aunty Sita pushed me into watching TV whenever Sri Lanka was playing. She was a devoted fan – who would shut the TV down when Sri Lanka is doomed to lose. She would also watch the international finals so long as the Australians were not winning; from their lip movements, she said that they were very crude in the swear words.

I know very little of the game of cricket as I hardly ever played it after a cussed boy hit me on the forehead with a leather ball I was facing. I was then 15 years. I thereafter took to tennis, badminton, table tennis, swimming & rowing.

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Winners don’t do different things but they do things differently!

Mahela Jayawardena of Sri Lanka achieves cricket history.

Mahela Jayawardena (Sri Lanka) celebrates his century on the fourth day of the first Test against England on 14 May 2006 at Lord’s. (Photo by Patrick Eagar / Patrick Eagar Collection / Getty Images) Mahela Jayawardena achieved twice what many legends never managed once: a lasting place in the history of The Home – the Lord’s Honours Board. (Courtesy MCC)

Ranjan’s different type of book on cricketing stories, titled ‘Winds Behind The Willows: A Sri Lankan’s Life in Love with Cricket’ amply portrays his passion and love for the game. In my view, his effort gives in-depth analysis of the matches he had witnessed, that are so precise that the reader is engrossed and enlightened in a delightful way.

Winds Behind The Willows is an interesting book...for everyone who wishes to enhance knowledge Click To Tweet

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An encyclopaediac history on SL cricket with warts and all

A review of Winds Behind The Willows printed in The Island on May 14th 2017

 

Foenander, watching from the Elysian fields up yonder with the likes of Neville Cardus, E. W. Swanton, C. L. R. James, Raymond Robertson-Glasgow, A. A. Thompson, Christopher Martin-Jenkins et al adorning the chimerical cricket journalists’ ‘Hall of Fame’ must be very proud of the work of Sri Lankan Ranjan Mellawa.

Almost a century ago, S. P. Foenander, referred internationally as the ‘Wisden of the East’, authored his 268-page classic tome ‘Sixty Years of Ceylon Cricket’ (Ceylon Advertising & General Publicity – 1924). That was the first book which authoritatively enlightened the cricket world about cricket and cricketers between the years 1863 to 1923, in the then fair isle of Ceylon. One must also remember that Foenander, who even rubbed shoulders with the legendary Bradman – see photo above – must have experienced the difficulties at that time in collecting/collating information and statistics and so on in compiling his book. After all, the print media at that time was not developed; TV nor Internet was not even thought of. In short sophisticated communication systems were not even in its infancy. So, the accolade of being the pioneer of cricket journalism in Ceylon falls squarely on the shoulders of the late S. P. Foenander.

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Winds Behind The Willows by Ranjan Mellawa – Must Read Cricket Book

A review of Winds Behind The Willows printed in the Ceylon Times on May 30th, 2017

The book is a must read for any cricket fan as it has broken away from the traditional story of describing a person or game and has shown us a completely different picture in cricket.

The book is a must read for any cricket fan as it has broken away from the traditional story of describing a person or game and has shown us a completely different picture in cricket. My association with Ranjan Mellawa dates back to the late 90’s when I met him as a Senior Executive of a leading bank. Even then Ranjan’s first love was cricket and he would spend countless hours discussing the subject.

However, I never knew that well his craze for the game until he joined Ragama CC and eventually became the Secretary. His passion, the craze and desire to follow and love the game of cricket is amply demonstrated in his book Winds Behind The Willows. I was fascinated to read his experience as a fan watching six World Cups and sharing the glory of Sri Lanka and its achievements in the field of cricket.

The book is a must read for any cricket fan as it has broken away from the traditional story... Click To Tweet

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Winds Behind The Willows – The Full Monty to Cricket

A review of Winds Behind The Willows printed in the Sunday Times on April 30, 2017.

A fabulous book for any cricket lover, be s/he the veteran or the greenhorn, maybe the Lord sipping lager at Lord’s or the tuk tuk driver from Chittagong. Undoubtedly, they will all enjoy this magnum opus that comes to us from a cricket lover of a rare distinction.

One has to know something about cricket to enjoy this magnificent book. Suited me ideally as I do not know much about cricket matters but like almost all Sri Lankans I too am connected umbilically to international cricket and especially when the home country is at the crease. Let me try and express my views on author Ranjan Mellawa writing a book. I can categorically state that if not the bull’s eye, he certainly has hit pretty close to it as a new author in his maiden venture on cricket journalism.

The man has managed to vagabond his way to be present at six World Cup finals. That alone gives him credentials to be somewhat an expert on the international scene from a spectator’s point of view. Ranjan has been an ardent cricket fan. He’s played too, starting with a plastic bat as a kid to rustic cricket in neighborhood tennis-ball matches. From there he graduated to club level domestic league. Hence, his story begins at grass-root level and then blossoms and spreads wild and wide taking him to the world of international cricket as a die-hard knowledgeable fan.

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A Cricket Book for the Cricket Fan

A review of Winds Behind The Willows printed in the Sunday Observer

Mellawa’s book in that sense is unique because he does not delve on cricket usually as others do. His book is all about a cricket book written for the fans by a fan.

In an age where computer technology is fast reducing the print industry to near extinction and newspapers are finding it extremely difficult to keep pace with internet and what have you, bringing out a book in print is certainly a challenging task.

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