|Tuesday, 30 September 2003|
"Gerry Gooneratne to Sir With Love"
Initially I wish to place on record my deep appreciation to Premasara Epasinghe, popularly known as "Epa" amongst his friends and colleagues for the views expressed in the Daily News of 26th September, 2003 about Gerry Gooneratne on his demise. Whilst whole heartedly agreeing with the views expressed by him, I also wish to comment as follows.
Gerry Gooneratne was a very strict disciplinarian and an adaptable human being. I can confirm the comments expressed by Epa because I too represented Nalanda at cricket during the period 1949-1953 wherein my colleagues were Stanley Jayasinghe, Carl Obeysekera, Valentine Obeysekera, Ashley De Silva just to name a few. It should be explained that Stanley Jayasinghe. Carl Obeysekera and Ashley De Silva were selected to represent Sri Lanka against England, if my memory is correct, in 1950. It should be emphasized that the selection of 3 school boys to represent Sri Lanka in Cricket in one test match is unparalleled. I am of the view that all this was due to the discipline and ability Gerry Gooneratne inculcated in them.
Although I do not propose to name any individuals, the discipline he inculcated amongst the cricketers also developed them to reach high professional positions. As a former very senior Development Banker and presently as a senior Development Worker, I wish to emphasise that he along with T. Kandasamy, Master-in-Charge of cricket at Nalanda inculcated extremely good habits to enable them to reach high professional positions for which I am grateful to them.
To quote a good example I wish to state that Gerry Gooneratne insisted that all cricketers should run round the ground after the daily practice sessions. I have no doubt that all concerned will confirm that the Discipline and Cricket ability was inculcated and developed in them by Gerry Gooneratne.
May his soul rest in peace!
Sarath Hewagama, Colombo 05
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