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Saturday, 11 June 2011






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Ranjan Madugalle, A fine Cricketing Ambassador

The greatness of leader or a cricket captain is judged by the powerful and pervasive, influence he exercises for the good of his team – mates and the team. In a recent TV interview (Prime TV) I had with former Sri Lankan cricket captains, Kumar Sangakkara, he expressed his sentiment thus: about captaincy and leadership:

“I feel the entire eleven players should think, they are all leaders or captain. They must all exercise their responsibilities for the sake of the country. Everyone of them must put the country before self. “They are all captains or leader.”

Food for thought!

Leadership is one of the most enduring human responsibilities. Captains should craft a vision, inspire action and lead from the front.

Ranjan Madugalle with Andrew Strauss (L) of England and Ricky Ponting of Australia when he was the match referee for the first 2009 Ashes Test Match at The Brit Oval on August 20, 2009 in London, England.

If you do an indepth study of leadership, the first and key principle of leadership or captaincy, is the good relationship you maintain with your team. Once, the Bill Bradley, senator and a fine American Basket-ball player mentioned:

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better”. A good cricket captain’s role is to get the best out of his team. He must lead in front.

The first milestone on the journey to leadership not only demands leaders or captains to be credible, but also, they be forward looking. They have a sense of direction and a vision for the future.

A cricket captain, you must be disciplined, committed, pleasant, charming and should always maintain a very high Public Relation or function and a disciplined high code of conduct on and off the field. He must get an example to others.

Ornament to cricket

Out of the Sri Lankan Cricket captains, Ranjan Senerath Medugalle is outstanding and I consider him an ornament to cricket. Today, he is the number one, highest respected Elite Match Refree in the world. Ranjan Madugalle, even after his playing days, brought credit and honour to Sri Lanka.

The main reason is his behaviour, his Charismatic, attractive personality. His exemplary behaviour is hailed very high in ICC and the entire cricketing fraternity. Added to all this, he is a brilliant speaker, orator, who can address any forum.

Added to all this, he is methodical, meticulous, pleasant and Charismatic and charming. He is a fine conversationalist, a man with a golden heart. He is with full of humour.

Ranjan Madugalle hails from a highly respectable family from Kandy. His father Lionel Madugalle, was graduate from the university of Ceylon. He served as a highly respected secretary of the sports Ministry, for many years. If my memory serves right. He served under the dynamic Minister of Sports late K. B. Ratnayake. They ushered a golden era in sports in Sri Lanka.

Ranjan Madugalle was born on April 22, 1959 in Kandy. He had his early education at one of the leading Anglican schools in the country Trinity College, Kandy. Later, he joined Royal College, Colombo. He was an outstanding schoolboy cricketer at Royal College. He played junior cricket at Royal and graduated to play for Royal College.

A brief history of Royal-Thomian

Royal-Thomian big match Battle of the Blues, was started in the year 1880. At that time Royal was known as “Academy”.

The first match was played at Galle Face on 29th and 30th October 1880. Academy (Royal) was captained by J. W. De Silva and S’Thomas College, Mutwal was captained by F. W. Mc Donnell.

The Academy scored 110 in the first innings and in the second essay collected 35 runs.

Tomians scored 59 and 24 respectively. Academy (Royal) won the first Big Match by 62 runs.

Pinnacle of all school Big Matches

Ranjan Madugalle

For any Royalist or a Thomian, the pinnacle in their school cricket career is to represent their respective school in the Big-Match and obtained cricket colours Blue-Gold-Blue (Royal) and Blue-Black Blue (S’Thomas).

This historic Big Matches, supposed to be the second oldest school cricket encounter in the world. It was played un-interrupted from 1880 to 2011, so far it will continue in the years to come.

Royal-Thomian Big-Match is one of the most important “Mega Sporting events in the Sri Lanka sporting calendar.” The Governor-General or Presidents, Prime Ministers will normally grace this Big sporting event.

When I spoke to some of the top cricketers who played in Royal-Thomian Encounters, they expressed their views stating it was a day to remember.

Five Royal-Thomian Matches

In 1975, playing under P. N. S. Kariyavasam in 96th Royal-Thomian, Ranjan Madugalle scored 4 (run out) in the first innings and captured 2 wickets of M. De Silva (33) and L. W. Ratnayake (28) – His figures – 14-2-32-2.

In the 97th Match, he played under T. M. S. Saldin, scored 26 and 71 respectively. In bowling he bowled 3 overs with 1 maiden captured one wicket.

In the 98th match against STC he played under S. A. Jayawickrema. Madugalle scored 35 and 46 respectively. In bowling he returned the figures of 12-3-2-27-2.

The 99th Royal-Thomian, was captained by Ranjan Madugalle and D. K. Supremaniam captained. In the first innings Ranjan scored 52 and 36 n.o.

Centenary Royal-Thomian

Ranjan Madugalle had the proud distinction of captaining the three Day centenary Royal-Thomian played at the picturesque S.S.C. Grounds – Lords of Sri Lanka on 8,9,10 March 1979. Thomian skipper was J. D. Pieris.

As this centenary Match is so important I give below the Two Teams, according to the batting order.

S. Thomas’

S. P. Wijesinghe, R. Anthonisz, L. De. Zoysa, R. G. De Alwis, J. D. Pieris (Captain), K. De. Alwis, A. Amarasekera, U. Idippily, M. Halangoda, C. P. Richards, L. Seneviratne.


Ranjan Madugalle with Umpire Steve Davis

H. Musafer, C. P. Fernando, R. S. Madugalle (Captain), S Pasqual, P. G. S. Kariyawasam, R. Jurangpathy, A. De Mel, M. N. Perera, A. De Alwis, R. Wijetunga, K. De Costa.

In the centenary match, S’Thomas scored 154 and Royal replied with 321 for 8 declared. Thomians had a deficit of 167 runs. On the final third day, at one stage Thomians were 137 for 7. The 8th wickets fell at 161.

Royalist were preparing for a victory celebration. Royal’s greatest old boy, J. R. Jayawardene, who played in the 46th Battle of the Blues on 18th and 19th March 1925, scoring a Golden Duck bowled by C. S. Ratwatta, rushed to the SSC grounds by 2.45 p.m. as the President of Sri Lanka, to join the Royal victory celebrations.

Thomian grit

The grand old man J.R. little forget about the “Thomian Grit” or the famous words of that Great Educationist Warden Canon De Saram. Thomians are never buried until they are dead.”

Rescue Act

M. Halangoda (70 n.o.) C. P. Richards (20), showed to the world what Thomian Grit is all about. They launched the biggest “Rescue Act” to gave S’Thomas’, in this series and remained unbeaten with a fighting, courages partnership of 97 runs. Royal tried 7 bowlers – A. De. Mel, R. Wijetunga, S. Pasqual, A. De Alwis, R. De Costa, H. Musafer, P. G. S. Kariawasam but Halangoda and Richards were like Horatius’” defending the River Tiber.

Thomian spoiled the party

Thomians not only spoiled President Jayawardene’s. “Afternoon Nap” as well the Royal celebrating party.

This partnership will go down in the history of Royal Thomians the best face saving partnership, in the series.

The unassuming Ranjan once told me, his biggest regret in his cricketing life was the centenary Royal-Thomian, where he could not bring victory to Royal.

It was so near, but yet so far. That’s how the game goes, stated Ranjan Madugalle. In Five Royal-Thomians, Ranjan Madugalle had an aggregate of 328 runs.

After leaving Royal College after a distinguished career, he joined the Ceylon Tobacco Company and retired few years back, as a Top Executive.

This elegant right hand batting artist played club cricket representing the Nondescript Cricket Club, ‘NCC’. He played in the First official Test.

Ali Bhutto Trophy – Heroin

Ranjan Madugalle - the Sunday Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 1978 and 1979 has put the early promise he had for cricket fans and is now a highly respected International Match Referee - the number one in the field.

He played under Anura Ranasinghe in the Ali Bhutto Trophy match at CCC and as a spinner he routed Pakistan by capturing seven wickets.

He was the architect of Sri Lanka victory. The Pakistan Team was led by Javed Miandad.


Ranjan Madugalle played in 21 Tests in 39 innings, remained unbeaten 4 times, scored 1,029 runs. Highest score 103. Average 29.40. He scored 1 century, and seven (7) half a centuries. He held 9 catches.


He played in 63 ODI’s. In 56 innings remained unbeaten 5 occasions and scored 950 runs. His highest score was 73. Average 18.62. Ranjan scored 3 fifties and held 18 catches.

First-class matches

In 81 first class matches, 118 innings, scored 3301 runs and remained unbeaten 15 times. His highest score was 142 n.o. Average 32.04. He scored 2 hundreds and 20 fifties, and held 42 catches.

List A Matches

Playing in 82 list A matches, he scored 1,334 runs in 74 innings. His highest score was 73. He remained not out 7 times. Average 19.91.


As a bowler in 21 Tests in 5 innings, he bowled 84 balls gave away 38 runs without capturing a wicket.

In 63 ODIs, in one inning, he bowled 4 deliveries gave away 1 run for no wickets.

Ranjan Madugalle in 81 first class matches, bowled 342 balls, gave away 159 runs and took 2 wickets.

List A matches – 82 – he bowled 22 deliveries, gave away 15 runs for no wickets.

Brilliant speaker

At the end of the third day, Sri Lanka versus England at Lords in 1988, Ranjan Madugalle was answering the questions levelled at him in a committee Room of Lords. An English Reporter asked Madugalle “When do you think a Foreign Team will next Tour your country Sri Lanka?”

He smiled, and said “your Guess is as Good as Mine”. Ranjan Madugalle was very witty and simply brilliant. He was one of the most brilliant English speakers I have seen and listened. His vocabulary and delivery is excellent.

I presume that he is one of the Best Cricket Captains that Sri Lanka possessed. This, charming personality is an ornament to Sri Lanka Cricket.


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