Bart King

The only American Honorary Life Member of the MCC

John Barton King (1873 – 1965).

A few months after the 2015 World Cup, the MCC awarded the prestigious Honorary Life Membership of the club to the recently retired Mahela Jayawardena. Having captained Sri Lanka 183 times across all formats, he became the 15th Sri Lankan to be honoured, thus.

Elated with a favourite cricketer of mine winning yet another accolade, I shared the good news with a close friend and follower of the game, Dilan.

He joined in my joy, but seemed in a pensive mood.

When pressed, he came up with an unexpected subject and queried, ‘What do you know about American cricket?’

‘American what?’ I asked, surprised.Continue reading

Dreams Turn To Deadly Drama

(© Ranjan Mellawa)

After many hiccups, my friend Jagath and I joined the line to enter the stadium in Mohali. It was an opportunity of a lifetime; to watch the live action of India–Pakistan semi-final at the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

At the first security frisk, Jagath’s eyes widened when the police officer threw away his 4-inch plastic comb. Though my green T-shirt with the Australian cricket crest had a somewhat “neutral” appearance, I smelled trouble from the word go.

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Galle – Where Passion Meets Beauty

Galle International Cricket Stadium: distinctive, historic and picturesque

In 2014, one of the most dominant sides in Test cricket, South Africa were touring Sri Lanka, and the series commenced at Sri Lanka’s fortress, the Galle International Cricket Stadium.

‘Machan, shall we go for the Galle Test match. It has been a while since I saw Sanga bat’, I said to my friend, longing to see the legend bat one last time before his retirement.

Our plans were temporarily put on hold by the Proteas, who batted for two days while rattling a mammoth score. Sri Lanka were 30 for no loss at stumps on the second day.

‘Let’s go early morning tomorrow’, said my friend, convinced that Tharanga was not going to survive the early swing for too long.

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Andy Roberts – As It Happened

Sri Lanka Cricketers World Cup 1975

I knew Andy from years gone by. No one bothered with his real name, he was simply Andy Roberts, of course, connected in some way to cricket and the West Indian fast bowler. Andy’s mother, Cicilin, worked for Aunty Dee, job description, Major Domo in the kitchen, plus all the chores that went with a middle-class home in the sixties. Big, charcoal black, that was Cicilin, hefty as a hippo, with a smile that sprouted through toothless gums and an abundance of breast that overflowed out of size forty-two. Cicilin was ramrod at Dee’s home, duties including everything, plus occasionally spanking the little masters of the household. This was Sri Lanka, sans wars and turmoil, times of life in a lighter shade, slow lane and lazy stuff, where laughter came easy and plenty to all comers.

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Mas Piganak Arapan (මස් පිඟානක් ඇරපන්)

Mas Piganak Arapan

Granville de Silva double-capped for Sri Lanka over a quarter century ago, basketball and cricket, concurrently.

That is the line “Barman, send him a beef plate;” it sure triggered me to punch on a think-pad an extraordinary tale connected to cricket and basketball at the National level. Here I am in Melbourne, cruising conversations of old times with old friends and out comes the repetition of a fairy tale I knew so well. Yes, as in most things in life the gems gather soot in the back-burners while irrelevant mediocrity bash in the limelight. Let me change the scoreboard.

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Wandering and Wondering in Dunedin

Endangered and elusive: Beautiful, quirky yellow-eyed penguins found only on the south-east coast of New Zealand

Endangered and elusive: Beautiful, quirky yellow-eyed penguins found only on the south-east coast of New Zealand

In the first thriller of the 2015 cricket World Cup, Afghanistan were so near to creating history but still so far, due to three missed run-outs. My cricket travel partner, Jagath and I were lucky to be there at the University Oval, Dunedin to enjoy a pulsating game of cricket, amidst unprecedented hospitality of the host city. Where else would you get sweets and drinking water delivered to your seat for free?

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