Carlton Bernadus - excellent cover fielder | Daily News

Carlton Bernadus - excellent cover fielder

Carlton Bernadus
Carlton Bernadus

I met Carlton at the indoor nets at the SSC. He was friendly and down to earth and within the course of the interview I gathered that he would call a spade, a spade, “no holds barred.”

He was an excellent cover fielder even in his formative years at St Joseph’s College Maradana. He had a penchant for watching 1st tier cricket matches at the NCC, SSC, Colts and Bloomfield and his hero was none other than David Heyn another brilliant cricketer who manned the cover region. Roy Dias a graceful great of Sri Lanka cricket another superb cover fielder also came to Carlton’s mind readily.

Although he could not reach the top rung, his enthusiasm for the game knew no bounds. At the Josephian-Peterite match in 1976 he scored twin fifties both at vital stages of the match which enabled him to bag the award of Best Bat at that Big Match.

Carlton had a special word of appreciation for late Trevor Croner who was a man of many parts and was a “good buddy” of Carlton who used to motivate him when the chips were down.

Carlton was reluctantly compelled to leave St Joseph’s due to a rift he had with one of the masters there. His father Lloyd Bernadus represented Ceylon at soccer as a nippy centre forward, Carlton himself excelled in the left wing.

After school he joined NCC, although he was a class act in fielding he was in and out of the team probably due to the star studded line up they had those days. He was employed at Freudenbergs where Roy Dias too was working. Roy induced Carlton to join Colts Cricket Club and that was it, this was in 1979/80 if my memory serves me right and ever since Carlton has been wearing many hats at this club which was typical of the man whose enthusiasm knew no bounds.

He had a hand in developing Chaminda Vaas’ career in his formative years and also was instrumental in Vaas joining Colts. At the time Carlton was coaching St Joseph’s from 1989-1994.

He admired his mentor Fairlie Dalpathado, and to this day Carlton had nothing but praise for his coaching tactics which came handy when he shone as a superb coach later on. In 2000, the under 19 World Cup was played in Sri Lanka, and we became the runners up to India, Carlton was the coach of that team, he lamented that thus far we have not reached that level.

He is of the view that talented youngsters should be given the opportunity to blossom and not to curtail it by rigid means, like playing according to the book. Carlton called them cricketing clones who are at present coming out of the cricketing stables.

He was quick to point that the Cricket Board all along gave priorities to the important events in hand such as the World Cup and the under19 World Cup, spending lots of money for the preparations and everything at their disposal Carlton also noted that they had a big budget.

He said the selection process is a thing that should be argued about and the coaches should know what it’s all about. Carlton stressed the fact that the selectors should have experience in cricket by watching cricket at provincial level and spot what sort of players are capable of counter attacking.

He went to coach Bangladesh from SLC, given by Thilanga Sumathipala. Carlton’s stint was for 10 years just after Bangladesh attained Test status. He set up the processes in forming them the correct things and what is required from them. He was keen that what is done in the East is done in the West of the country likewise North and South so that there is uniformity in the coaching throughout. After everything was in place Carlton ventured out and invited Cricket Australia to come and asses them. Bangladesh did not deviate from their policy due to political influence. According to Carlton the Head of Cricket at Bangladesh at the time was Mr Shabir Hussein Chowdery and he stood firm. Carlton noted that if Sri Lanka could do the same thing then we could be on a high.

Carlton pointed out that Hathurusingha built up a reputation and following which Kumar Sangakkara liked. Inspite of all that Carlton stated that there were times that one needs to listen to players, administration and the manager, it’s a matter of blending smoothly but if you go on a crossfire this is where you meet your waterloo stressed Carlton.

It was in 2016 that the SLC called Carlton up and said that he had reached the age of 60 (he had plenty in the tank) and that they would not renew his contract and had to quit. The gentleman that he was he took it on his stride and reckoned that it was “good luck to them and bad luck to him”.

Carlton was like an Octopus spreading his tentacles into domestic cricket, women’s cricket, umpires, match referees, under 19 tours, ‘A’ team tours and Development tours overseeing international grounds, he could handle all the above mentioned duties with ease.

He stated that it was upto the Minister to sort things out. Carlton went on state that the Minister should say “look here we need to make a change get the consensus of everyone”. All will have to come together at some point and the minister will have to put his foot down, these changes must happen within a stipulated time, if not he will dissolve it totally thru an act in parliament and trace the document and get it passed.

His World Cup favourites-England and Pakistan as the dark horse. 


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