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
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
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
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
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 –
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
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.
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.
As this centenary Match is so important I give below the Two Teams,
according to the batting order.
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
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.
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.”
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
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
This elegant right hand batting artist played club cricket
representing the Nondescript Cricket Club, ‘NCC’. He played in the First
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.
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
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
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
I presume that he is one of the Best Cricket Captains that Sri Lanka
possessed. This, charming personality is an ornament to Sri Lanka