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D. D. Jayasinha - brilliant cricketer cum administrator and the GOM SL Cricket


D. D. Jayasinha

Douglas Dias Jayasinha is the oldest Sri Lankan cricketer. Born on 11th May 1915, he is the Methuselah of Sri Lanka cricket. According to the Old Testament, Methuselah is a Hebrew patriarch - (the male head of a family or tribe. In the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches, - a Bishop of high rank, A venerable old man) who lived before the Flood; his lifespan of 969 years makes him a byword for longevity.

He studied at Mahinda College, the leading Buddhist seat of learning in the South. At 4.30 p.m., on the first day of March 1892, Mahinda College was started in the 150 years old building in the Fort of Galle. Amarasuriya was its Manager and Dr. Bowlers Daly its Principal. They called the new school "Mahinda", after the Great sage, who 22 centuries previously, introduced the word of Buddha to this island. On 1st August 1903, Frank Lee Woodward took charge of Mahinda organizing all collegiate activities on a firm footing. Thus began the great Buddhist school Mahinda in down south.

D. D. was a fine left hand batsmen and a superb right arm bowler and a brilliant slip fielder, who represented Mahinda College from 1931 to 1936. He captained his "Alma Mater" from 1934 to 1936. In his school career, he scored six centuries and a dozen of fifties and also captured nearly eighty (80) wickets.

Unassuming, charming, pencil slim Douglas Jayasinha, I presume is the first southerner, to represent all-ceylon in cricket. E. M. Karunaratne was also a great cricketer from Galle. He is the man who helped Jayasinha in a big way, to improve his standard of cricket.

Douglas Dias Jayasinha, played for Galle CC, SSC, Moratuwa SC, and represented and captained the Education Department with distinction. Going down memory lane, Jayasinha said "Cricket was in my blood. My beloved father, A. D. Jayasinha played for Richmond College in late 1880s. My "Thattha" started his career as a school teacher at Mahinda. He was the head-master from 1917-1938. I was admitted to the lower kindergarten in 1920 and left in 1936, after the London Matriculation Examination."

"As tiny-tots, we witnessed our seniors at play. It influenced us to play cricket. At that era, there were not cricket coaches. A teacher A. B. Seneviratne, our prefect of games, taught us the finer points and the ABC of cricket," stated Jayasinha.

Added to cricket, Douglas, played soccer, and tennis. Further, he was the Head Prefect of Mahinda College.

He established the college clan (House) and ground record, when he scored 151 for Pandukhabhaya clan, against Devanampiyatissa clan, in 1935.

In 1934, Jayasinha scored two centuries against St. Thomas College Matara (157 n.o.) and All Saints (134). Further, he scored half centuries against Ananda (50) and Nalanda (80). He was a stylish, elegant left hand batsman and an intelligent right arm bowler and a brilliant fielder. Against St. Aloysius Galle, he captured 8 for 35 runs.

He was undoubtedly one of the Best Schoolboy cricketers of that era.

"I consider 1937, as my peak year. After leaving school, I joined Galle C.C., played "Daily News Trophy" cricket, which was considered the highest grade at that time.

On three consecutive Sundays, I scored three centuries - 103 against colts, 112 n.o. against BRC, and followed my good form with 121, pulverising the SSC attack. After a fortnight, I scored 103 n.o. and a half a century against Panadura and NCC", said Jayasinha. He won his "Ceylon Cap" on October 16th - 1937. It was an era, so difficult, for an outstation player to get into Ceylon side. He got this rare opportunity as his "Bat was Talking".

Jayasinha got his first break as a schoolboy in 1935, when he was selected to play for combined colleges XI, against the touring Indian university occasionals.

"Thomian Donald Fairweather captained our side. It included three others from the school by the sea. They were D. Bartholomuez, E. S. M. Anthoniaz, S. L. J. Thabrew. Other players were F. H. De Saram (Royal), Malcolm Spittle, D. Arndt (St. Joseph's College, Colombo), M. Sathasivam, H. N. Duckworth (Wesley), O. L. Izzadeen (Trinity). Reserves were D. M. Weerasinghe (Nalanda), A. Fowel (SJC), R. J. De Soysa (Royal). We scored 207 for 7 wickets with Mahendran Sathasivam (46) and Donald Fairweather (56) had an alliance of 100 runs. The university occasionals scored 163 for 06 wickets," stated Jayasinha.

Any memories about the All-Ceylon - New Zealand cricket encounter? I inquired. "Yes, we started off well. Openers - G. S. Hubert and W. L. Mendis scored 54, for the first wicket. F. C. De Saram scored a polished copy book innings of 90 runs, H. G. Vivian 68 n.o. and I scored 24 runs. All ceylon made 224 for 6 and New Zealand in reply scored 177 for 5," stated Jayasinha.

In 1945, he was selected to play against India. The first match was played in Galle. India scored 292 for 5 wickets in the first innings. Ceylon were shot out for 116 and 121 respectively. He scored 22 and 24 runs. E. M. Karunaratne, who did yeomen service to Galle cricket captained the local team. The Indian team was captained by the legendary Village Merchant and included greats live Lala Amaranath, C. S. Naidu and Rangacchari.

As the most senior and highly respected all ceylon cricketer and as one time the chairman of the Sri Lanka cricket selection committee, I asked him to comment on the cricket structure during the time that he played.

"The standard of cricket have improved a lot today. We are a test playing nation and during this period from 1982 to date. I think, we have done reasonably well. Further, we became the world cricket champions in 1966, which I consider as the greatest achievement in our sports history. Today, our cricketers are professionals. We were amatures.

During our playing days, the Ceylon Cricket Association (CCA) organised provincial tournaments. The matches were played on a zonal basis; Colombo West, Colombo East, Colombo South West, North West, Central, South and North. I represented South Zone (Galle, Matara and Hambantota). Dr. M. C. Buultjens, Hambantota fame, a great cricketer and promoter of cricket, captained the South Zone.

"I still remember the members of our team. They were my elder brother M. D. Jayasinha right hander H. W. Goonewardane, J. Nanayakkara, R. D. Abeygunawardene, K. B. Tennyson, K. H. De Silva, V. C. Samaraweera, C. E. M. Karunaratne, B. T. Rajawasam, Titus Ratnayake and P. C. D. Mc Carthy."

"From 1940-1950s, when I was playing for Sinhalese Sports Club - SSC, they were the strongest in the club circuit. The club fielded "Four Teams," in a tournament. I can remember in 1950, Daily News Trophy Finals, SSC "A" clashed with SSC "B". I played for SSC "B", under the great cricketer S. S> Jayawickreme. In a total of 169, "Sargo", top scored with a polished 67, SSC "A" won the trophy scoring 280 for 7 wickets with F. C. De Saram scoring 80 and C. I. Gunasekera Ft, I opened bowling with Farlie Dalpadathu" said Jayasinha.

D. D. Jayasinha joined the Dayaratne of Education on 11th January 1937, and retired in 1974. From 1937 to 1945, he represented the strong Sinhalese sports club. His other teammates were Sargo Jayawickrema, F. C. De Saram, Ben Navaratne, Hector Perera, H. S. Roberts, Blackham Wijewardane, Gerry Gooneratne, R. B. Wijesinha, George Perira, Dr. W. L. Mendis and A. H. Gooneratne.

He was a selector for the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka from 1961-1973. For ten years, 1963 to 1973, he was the chairman of the selection committee. I presume, this may be a unique record in the history of cricket, in Sri Lanka. It proves that he was a man of highest integrity and honesty and was always a highly respected cricketer cum cricket administrator. He is undoubtedly, an ornament to Sri Lanka cricket and cricket administration.

In 1945, Douglas Jayasinha tied the nuptial knot with Swarna De Silva. She was a teacher attached to Central College Dehiwela and Isipatana MV Colombo. She was a tower of inspiration to him. They have three sons - Nimal Dias Jayasinha - Chairman - Managing Director of Emerchinie Ceylon Limited, Ravindra Dias Jayasinha - Milan, Italy and Mohan Dias Jayasinha. Douglas Jayasinha is a fine human being and thorough gentleman. The three sons are the chips of the old block.

"Cricket is not only a game, but it is a way of life. Cricket is not in the bat and the ball, but in the head Discipline is very important. You must never to jealous of anyone, because cricket is a team game. It is a marvellous game. Although we played for different schools or clubs, at the end of the day, we were best of friends and life long friends. That is the spirit that you must play cricket" stated this gentleman cricketer Douglas Jayasinha.

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