Mathivanan - God send for Colts CC
The over century old Colombo Colts Cricket Club is now a magnificent
work of art, thanks to that benefactor Kangadaran Mathivanan, who was a
more than ordinary cricketer during his time. Many told me that the
Colts Cricket Club has been given a facelift and that I should go there
and have a look see for myself.
The new look Colombo Colts Cricket Club pavilion
When the invitation came along that Hayley's were going to sponsor
the club's cricket and that there was going to be a media briefing, I
made it a point to visit.
When I walked in, I could not believe my eyes. The pavilion looks
gorgeous. It has been extended with maximum seating capacity, the walls
decorated with pictures of their great cricketers of the past and the
bar is air conditioned.
The players dressing rooms have been shifted to the right of the
pavilion. There's accommodation for the cricketers wanting to stay
overnight and in addition to these renovations, the ground looks like a
And the man who made it all possible is none other than Mathivanan.
Now Mathivanan is a former cricketer from Hartley College, Jaffna who
also sported the colours of the Jaffna Combined Schools as a dashing
right hand batsman and penetrative medium pace bowler.
Coming to Colombo Mathivanan joined the Saracens Sports Club and
played for them for a couple seasons, before throwing in his lot with
the Colts Cricket Club. Saracens loss was certainly Colts gain.
Mathivanan when he was a member of the club, made a careful study of
what the club was lacking and once he was voted President of the Club,
began to immediately realize his dreams of making the club one, if not
the best in the country.
In his endeavour to uplift the club he had a wonderful set of
office-bearers who joined in the scrum as it were and partnered him and
today the club house and the ground is looking marvelous.
Wanting to know how he managed to do things for the club, I visited
him in his office on Saturday morning which was a holiday in his company
- East West Marketing - and got talking to him.
At first he did not want to 'blow his own trumpet'. But a bit of
coaxing and Mathivanan broke the silence and very shyly revealed his
love for the club and his ambition to make things comfortable for the
sportsmen and women of the club and its members.
"It was no easy task to renovate the pavilion and the ground. The
main obstacle was the money. While moves were being made to find the all
important finances, I stepped in with my own money and got things
"I always made it a point to be on the spot and give direction to the
workers. The work went on apace and everything was completed on
schedule. I do not want to reveal the money I spent, but it was a lot. I
am proud to see the club looking so beautiful. He even sponsored the
Revels in a challenge
"Being a sportsman I always revel in a challenge. When I got the top
post in the club, I took it on as a challenge. And that challenge was to
see to the betterment of not only the club but its cricketers and its
members," said a contended looking Mathivanan.
The club is now well protected with a wall being built round the
ground and today the club could host any international team. He has more
plans for the club and did not want to reveal them just now.
Mathivanan took over the reins of President of the club in 2001 and
is still in that position. Members of the club who I talked with spoke
in glowing terms of the President.
Patron Ranjit Samarasekera, Vice Presidents Trevor Rajaratnam and
Nishantha Ranatunga and Secretary Ricardo Fonseka were lavish in their
praise for this benefactor and credited him for the wonderful state that
the club is in now.
Flair for hard work
Mathivanan's honesty and flair for hard work saw him being made
Secretary of the Interim Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket. There too he
served with dedication, determination and honesty and was appreciated
for the good work he was doing for the game.
Mathivanan proudly stated that when he was secretary he never for
once used the finances of the Interim Committee to go on official trips.
'I spent my own money and no body can level allegations against me when
I was secretary', said the President of Colts CC.
The present Chairman of Sri Lanka Interim Committee D Somachandra de
Silva, Selector Ranjit Fernando and former national coach Dav Whatmore
were amazed to see the wonders done by Mathivanan to bring the club to
the beautiful state that it is now in.
Mathivanan had a good word for D.S. de Silva whom he described as
honest and hard working and said that with DS the game and the
administration is in safe hands. "DS will deliver," he said.
While on the topic of the three international cricket stadiums to
host the 2011 World Cup was being spoken about - the R Premadasa.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa - and Pallekelle, he revealed that it was
he who first signed the papers for the land to be taken over at
Pallekelle and for a stadium to be built.
There were people who contributed to make this stadium a reality. But
unfortunately things went wrong and that idea was shelved.
He also revealed that the idea of a stadium in Pallekelle came about
because of the problems they had with the Asgiriya Stadium which was the
brainchild of former President of BCCSL Gamini Dissanayake.
The picturesque cricket ground. Pictures by Mahinda Witahanachi
Mathivanan has only one regret and that was that he was not allowed
to continue as Secretary of Cricket's Interim Committee.
His honesty and flair for transparency which did not go down well
with the powers that be of that time, led to his being held back. But he
did not give in to the threats, but continued to serve because he was
put in that position by Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge.
He said that because of the folly of one bloated individual who at
times acted like a thug the entire committee had to suffer.
The Colts President also had a word for former Media Manager Samantha
Algama and said it was a pleasure working with him. 'Samantha had a
wonderful rapport with the media and it was a backward step losing him'.
Mathivanan is not one who will give up the fight that easy. "If at
any time I am called up to serve Sri Lanka cricket I will do so with
great pride and enthusiasm. In President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the country
is fortunate to have a sport loving President who is keen and determined
to see to the betterment of the player, the sport and the
administration," he concluded.
Incidentally the writer too played for Colts CC for two years in 1964
and'65 under the clever leadership of W Premaratne.
The players of those teams whose names that come to mind are Abu
Fuard, Brian and Darrel de Silva, Merril Guneratne, M N Samsudeen and
In that era the pavilion was a small compact one. The playing field
was uneven and at times even cattle used to stray into the playing area.
But now those are things of the past.
Colts Cricket Club now looks a PICTURE - thanks to Kanagadaran