Zoysa was a class act - Elmo Rodrigopulle
|Zoysa was a class act |
It was with deep sadness that I received news of the death of former Benedictine paceman Nihal Zoysa on my way to the Bellrive Oval for the Second Test between Australia and Sri Lanka.
On my previous visit to Australia, another outstanding Benedictine left arm spinner Camillus Perera, brother in law of Patrick Perera who is the Wisden of Benedictine cricket, passed away.
Zoysa, probably the best left arm seam and swing bowler to be produced by the green, white and green school enjoyed a lucrative stint at school where he knocked many a batsman's wickets back and had them weaving and ducking with his tremendous pace and bounce.
Zoysa first broke into the school scene under my captaincy in 1960 and from then on it was a phenomenal rise, where he represented the Municipality, NCC, Adastrians and the Board President"s X1 agains, if I remember right the Australians.
One thing that is still vivid was the two sixes I hit off him batting for the Saracens against NCC where the ball landed on the Railway lines at Parsons Road. Zoysa would always remind me of those sixes.
Behind the stumps for NCC during that assault was another Benedictine cricketer and captain Ranjit Fernando, under whom Zoysa played for SBC and NCC.
Zoysa in addition to his cricketing prowess was also an excellent high jumper for CT & FC going over the 6 foot mark on several occasions. Incidentally that was when the CT & FC was formed by the late Carlton Seneviratne, former Sports Editor of the "Daily News" and Harry Jayawardena, former Sports Editor of the "Daily Mirror". Jayawardena too was a top class high jumper for St.Joseph's College.
Zoysa and I maintained the friendship we built as cricketers at St.Benedict's College and we remained great friends till the calling from his creator came.
May the turf that he walked like true sportsman and colossus rest lightly on him.
Daily News: 20 Nov 07
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