Jayantha Seneviratne-a famous Nalandian who was a stalwart at Bloomfield | Daily News

Jayantha Seneviratne-a famous Nalandian who was a stalwart at Bloomfield

Jayantha Seneviratne
Jayantha Seneviratne

He was practically a part of the furniture at Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club. He has clocked 25 years of first class cricket there.

Furthermore he played 5 to 6 years Division 3 for Bloomfield . He was the President from 2015 to 2018 at the club on wheels(started from humble beginnings). He captained the club for 5 years notably in 1979,1985 and1993. If late Shelly Wickremasinghe was the all mighty he could arguably be the King of the club.

I met Jayantha Seneviratne at the Bloomfield club ac bar, no liquor was served we simply sipped soda! He originated from Attanagalla where his uncle dabbled with politics and even contested against the late premier S.W.R.D. Banadaranaike and Sirimavo Bandaranaike both . Jayantha of course steered clear of politics.

Jayantha’s home town was Attanagalla. He joined Nalanda College in 1961 as a grade 2 student, his stretch at Nalanda lasted 10 years.He had the distinction of scoring the first hundred by a Nalandian against St Thomas’s in that year his brother Palitha captained the team in 1970. It should also be noted that his late father G.W.G Seneviratne played for Nalanda from 1942 to 1944 and captained in all three years. Jayantha unfortunately could not captain the side due to petty politics he recalled.

He notched 4 hundreds in his school career at Nalanda, Jayantha was a hard hitting bat favouring the lofted shots over mid-on and mid-off, he was a brilliant field at cover point and at short leg. He represented Ceylon Schools with fellow Nalndians Bandula Warnapura and Leslie Narangoda. Jayantha took part in 6 unofficial Tests. He recalled that in his debut Test against India in 1974 he had to confront the fastest bowler in India at the time by the nameof Padurang Salgoankar a six foot five, massive specimen, with a shoe size of 14 from rural India. The first ball Jayantha faced from him the ball whizzed past him at 100 mph (160 km/h) and he only heard the ball thudding into the wicket keepers glove. Next ball he steeled himself and met fire with fire and blasted the ball past Salgaonkar on the front foot, which reached the boundary in no time.(Jayantha noted that front foot play was the order of the day unlike nowadays where they hang on to the back foot,) with that four his confidence was boosted and scored a brilliant 85. In Lahore too he batted brilliantly and scored 98 n.o.

He also scored plenty of runs for Sri Lanka in those unofficial Tests, Jayantha lamented that since he was a middle order bat where there was tough competition he could not breakthrough to the Test side. The veteran Jayantha played 25 years of first class cricket Jayantha also played in the division 3, Daily News trophy with the purpose of giving his vast experience to the budding young cricketers such was his dedication to the game he loved.,he recalled an interesting incident in that during a division 1 match for Bloomfield against Saracens he scored 125 runs and then he drove 125 miles to Haputale the same night to get engaged to his dream girl.

Stanley Jayasinghe and Late Gerry Gooneratne were the coaches Jayantha held in high esteem the former was a stickler for punctuality and also was a true blue coach unlike the once you get these days reminisced Jayantha. Stanley spotted a chink in Jayantha’s armour and he summoned Jayantha to be at Police Park 8.am sharp and Jayantha duly obliged but to his surprise he found no fielders, when inquired Stanley replied “don’t worry man, your job is to bat.” Stanley kept on bowling for two and a half hours and not only that he fetched all the balls that were hit way past him by going and retrieving them. He fine tuned his lofted shots and his carpet drives and Jayantha ended up as a very good player on the drives lofted or along the ground.As for Gerry Gooneratne Jayantha mentioned that he was an astute coach who gave useful tips to the players, he always wore a tie at pratice and bowled with that as well, Jayantha added. Jayantha also coached Nalanda College for 20 years and he was instrumental in spotting the talent of Mahela Jayawardene when he played under 12 cricket at Nalanda he noted that this boy was a boy prodigy., according to Jayantha Mahela even then was not only raw talent but had a brain to boot.Kumar Dharmasena was another Jayantha earmarked, although less gifted than Mahela, Kumar made up for it through sheer determination, dedication and discipline and no wonder he got his famous nickname “Unanduwa.”

The others who came from his stable were Chamara Dunusinghe (domiciled in Australia), Ashan Priyanjana who according to Jayantha has not carried on his early promise and in the big league he had not been consistant enough. Jayantha’s other aspect in cricket was administration.He was the Chairman coaching for 2 to 3 years, managed Sri Lanka ‘A’ team for 3 to 4years, Assistant coach Sri Lanka who toured England in 1992/3.

According to Jayantha, all the ills that prevailed in Sri Lanka cricket was 

1) Although there is enough talent somehow they cannot think and bat.

2) Dickwella after playing in 50 ODI’S does not show his maturity.

3) stereo type bowling with no regard to the pitch and weather

conditions. Jayantha holds the cricket manager responsible for all the above shortcomings.

Jayantha had a good word for Chandika Hathurusinghe although he gets a fat cheque, he referred to his performance in Bangladesh where he turned tables there.

In Jayantha’s own words he made the following statement,”There is a communication gap between the young cricketers and the ‘Suddha Fellows’ who are in the SLC cricket staff, and there is no point in getting whatever their expertise if they cannot make the young cricketers understand what they said, Jayantha said its like throwing water on a ducks back.”

Jayantha was of the view that the new Sports Minister is at it and will try to get the stables cleaned up.

Jayantha wanted to bring the old guard back to the Sri Lanka squad and Angelo Mathews (if fit),Dinesh Chandimal,Upul Tharanga were the names he mentioned.

His wife’s name is Mekala and he has 3 daughters namely Hashangi, Givanthi and Jeyendri Jayantha’s world cup prediction-Australia-India and South Africa in that order.


 

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