[Life and times in sport]
Internationally reputed cricketer
MORE than five and half decades ago, this great cricketer was
responsible in inserting Ceylon, in the cricketing map of the world. He
was undoubtedly the greatest gentlemanly cricketer produced by Nalanda
College, Colombo, and one of the best exponents of the game produced by
He was a Missionary who took the Sri Lanka's Cricket message to the
International world in the 1950s.
I presume, there is a big difference between Good Players and Great
Players. He belongs to the latter category. He improvised his shot
selections. For him, it was a born talent.
Stanley Jayasinghe was a brilliant allround cricketer who played for
Ceylon, and Leicestershire as an outstanding and illustrious
professional. He represented Leicestershire for more than a decade with
distinction. He did the double (1000 runs and 100 wickets) many times.
In 1950, Jayasinghe, while a schoolboy at Nalanda Vidyalaya, had the
proud distinction of representing Ceylon against a commonwealth XI.
Then, in 1953, he played against the England Team led by Sir Len Hulton.
Where is this brilliant, outstanding cricketer Stanley Jayasinghe,
Believe it or not, he is a farmer at the wilds of Tanamalwila.
Jayasinghe is a man of principles. He is a disciplinarian. He is a
man of honesty and integrity. He is a great sportsman who calls spade a
Unassuming, pleasant, charming cricketing personality: Jayasinghe,
never sold his soul to rupees and cents, sterling pounds or South
Further, he never went behind seeking positions in cricket
administration. Unfortunately these qualifications and principles are
disqualifications in our motherland today.
In the early 1980s, when Sir Lanka gained Test status, the greatest
President of the Board of Control for cricket in Sri Lanka, charming,
charismatic Gamini Dissanayake, invited Sir Garfield Sobers, to coach
the Sri Lanka National Cricket Team. Great Sobers, asked a very tricky
question from the cricket chief GD.
"Sir, why do you need my services, in Sri Lanka, when you have an
Internationally reputed renowned complete cricketer, coach, motivater,
disciplinarian and a fine gentleman like Stanley Jayasinghe, the former
Leicestershire Professional in the country.
He is an authority in preparing wickets too. I have played against
him. He is simply brilliant. I am sure, he will do a better job than me.
He possesses all ingredients to make your team world beaten in few
years," stated sir Garfield Sobers.
Well, there is a saying, prophets are not honoured in their own land.
Today, he away from cricket, and its administration. He never liked
"Cricket Politics". He lives a very peaceful, happy and a servene life
most of the time in his farm at Tanamalwila, away from the hustle and
bustle of city life.
He owns a 16 acre land in Tanamalwila. Stanley, like farming and he
is a lover of nature. He was born on 19th January 1931 at Badulla.
Going down the memory lane, my mind goes back to 1957, when I played
for Nalanda First XI as a wicket-keeper opening batsmen. I still echo
the "Putt, Putt" sound that comes from the Kittyakara Mawatha.
Stanley rides his motor-cycle along the path, adjoining Taxila
Building, parks the bike, alights, and walks majestically swiftly to
take our practices.
"Chadrasiri, did Sarath, Shirley, Daya Illukkumbura and Epasinghe
bat" - "Except Epasinghe, other three had a batting turn", Chandrasiri
"Mitra, you keep wickets when Epasinghe bat. Jayawickreme,
Weerasinghe, take the new ball. Stanley was a dedicated, excellent
coach. I am really indebted to him and my beloved coach Gerry Gooneratne.
In my stint as an opening bat-wicket keeper, I played for University,
Saracens, Bloomfield, Department of Education (Govt Service), Bank of
Ceylon (Nationalised Services) from 1958-1986.
T. Kandaswamy - Gerry Gooneratne
The dawn of the golden era of Nalanda cricket began with Stanley
Jayasinghe. If you consider Nalanda as "Taxila in Cricket" in Sri Lanka,
'there were two Disapamok Accharyas" - Gurus - T. Kandaswamy -
Master-in-Charge and prefect of games, Gerry Gooneratne our beloved
coach. They guided Stanley to greater heights.
Jayasinghe, played for Nalanda from 1948-1951 and captaincy in 1951.
As a schoolboy, he represented Ceylon in 1950 and he missed the
opportunity of leading Nalanda in 1950. It was A. W. Dharmadasa, wicket
keeper who captained and won the Big Match this year.
Jayasinghe champion out fit were the official school cricket
champions in 1950. The team consisted of Ashley De Silva, Carl and
Valentine Obeysekera Twins, Sarath Hewagama, Walter Amarasinghe, W. H.
S. Samarasekera, W. J. Jayasuriya, W. Chandrapala, Terrence Rodrigo, W.
From 1951, he played for SSC, NCC and Nomads in Sri Lanka and some of
his contemporaries were M. Sathasivam, Col. F. C. De Saram, C. I.
Gunasekera, Vernon Prins, Bertie Wijesinha, Dr. H. I. K. Fernando, Abu
Fuard, Lucean De Soysa, Ben Navaratne, Malcolm Spittle, Malcolm Franke
In the world circuit he played against Sobers, Walcott, Weeks, Worrel,
Hutton, Miller, Laker, Trueman, Statham, Lock, Wesley Hall, etc.
Jayasinghe's has a fine track record as one of the best all-rounders
in the club circuit in Sri Lanka.
In the 1949/50, first class matches, he scored six centuries and held
109 catches. Further in the bowling department, he captured 34 wickets
for 1197 runs.
In the first un-official Test match played in India, Sri Lanka beat
India, in 1964. Jayasinghe, was the Architect of this Grand Victory,
recorded for the first time and that also in a foreign soil.
After playing professional cricket in England, he returned to the
island and started a private coaching clinic for few years.
On invitation, he took up to cricket administration and served as a
very successful cricket manager.
For many years, he insisted and advised the cricket authorities that
they should prepare fast wickets with grass, so that our cricketers will
used to face real fast bowling.
But the so called cricketing Pandits never listened to his advice.
The recent Sri Lanka "A" Team disaster is one good example. He was a
fine sports writer and journalist and a columnist, who wrote his ideas
and views as features in a leading English Newspaper. He wrote
It is rather unfortunate that a cricket Maestro, an Internationally
recognised cricketer of Jayasinghe's calibre, is sidelined today. It is
a big loss for Sri Lanka cricket.
Jayasinghe is a fine human being and a gentleman of the highest
calibre. Jayasinghe likes the eco-friendly environment. He is a man who
moved with kings as well as humble villagers.
The people at Tanamalwila love him. He helps the poor villagers in
big way and is a social service worker, sans publicity, he helps the
He is a good Samaritan. Happily married to Erica, that sweet charming
epitome of womanhood, they are blessed with a daughter named Yvonne.
In concluding these few lines, I suggest, propose and appeal, to the
dynamic young principal Hemantha Prematilake and the old boys, both
seniors and Juniors to name Nalanda Pavilion, in the name of Jayasinghe
the greatest cricketer ever produced by Nalanda.
Remember, he is the man who ushered the Golden Era of Cricket -
Nalanda, and he is first Nalandian to inscribe the name of Nalanda, in
the History of World Cricket Internationally.
He paved way to all other Nalandians, to represent in the Test arena