Former Sri Lanka captain Anura Tennekoon’s autobiography – Passionately Cricket – was launched at Sinhalese Sports Club on 26 February 2020. Tennekoon, who captained S. Thomas’ and SSC was Sri Lanka’s captain in 1975 and 1979 Cricket World Cups. Tennekoon’s former school mates, his SSC and Sri Lanka teammates, some of the leading players produced by the country and leading figures of the business world were present at the occasion.
The keynote address was given by his contemporary cricketer S. Skandakumar (former High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Australia) and highlighted the following:
“If there was a single line that describes Anura this remarkable gentleman Cricketer, I will fall back on an eminent Thomians statement to me. “If I had to name someone to bat for my life, it would be Anura”.
Recalling the days he played with and against Anura, Skandakumar said, “I played in the Royal Thomian matches of 1965, 1966 and in 1969 I had the opportunity to play under his captaincy in the Gopalan Trophy encounter at the Colombo Oval now named the P.Sara Oval. Over the 3 days I got to know him better and my admiration for him has never waned since”.
Speaking further he said, “it was Neville Cardus who once wrote the majestic stroke maker makes music and spreads beauty with his bat, he must have had Anura in mind”.
“There were no helmets, chest guards, arm guards in his time, only a gentle protector of his manhood which yielded willingly to external pressure. With the likes of Garners, Roberts, Marshalls, Lillees and Thomsons whose pace was by no means slower than what we see today, It was more challenging on account of uncovered pitches that led to viciously turning strips whenever there was overnight rain. Batting required not just courage but perfect technique and our icons of the past displayed both”.
“Anura’s book is almost like a Tennekoon innings. It starts gently with his early life and If you could pardon me for saying so a rural boy born in Anuradhapura who was boarded at at this awesome school by the sea S. Thomas’. Settling in posed its own challenges but also by his own admission molded him to be a good Cricketer and person”.
“One of the incidents he recalls in his book is when Keith Labrooy the Thomian captain selected him to the Thomian team for the big match over his brother Robin. This would have been a tough decision for Keith but was made keeping the requirements of the team in mind, displaying credible leadership. Anura along with Paul Selvadurai pulled S.Thomas’ out of the mire with a 7th wicket stand of 88 runs from a dismal 88for 6 and so began a remarkable Cricket career”.
“His book then increases its tempo as he recalls his many International challenges. The hardships endured mainly on tours to India and Pakistan. The long uncomfortable train rides, the sleepless nights, the meagre monetary allowances, while the host teams travelled by air. Against these odds the Cricketers of that era laid a solid foundation for Sri Lanka to gain Official Test status in 1981”.
Shifting his focus onto the book Skandakumar said “life has little meaning without appreciation and gratitude”. Anuras book therefore is a must read for followers of the game, and in particular to our emerging Cricketers so they realise the hardships and challengers endured with the courage shown by our past Cricketers for the enormous opportunity they enjoy today.
“Anura thank you for your immense and selfless contribution to our country through the game of Cricket. We wish you light in your twilight years, the same light you shone on us from the centre in your many years as a Cricketer”.
Extracts from Ranjan Madugalle’s ( former S.L. captain & Chief Match Referee I.C.C. ) in Foreword to the autobiography.
I have read through Anuras autobiography and found its contents very interesting and insightful. He has interspersed Cricket with some humorous Cricketing anecdotes which makes the book very readable. Anura also describes some un- conventional methods he adopted to become the very orthodox batsman he turned out to be. To me he was the finest Sri Lankan batsman I had the privilege of playing with. This is an autobiography written in an unusual style and I would recommend it to followers of the game and to aspiring young Cricketers who could benefit from Anuras vast Cricket experience, which ranges from playing, coaching, managing National teams. I wish Anura and his laudable effort in publishing this book every success.
Mahela Jayawardena’s comment on rear cover of book.
Anura Tennekoon is one of Sri Lanka Crickets most loyal and dedicated servants, a fine batsman, a shrewd leader, and one of the key players who helped us to secure Test status. After his playing career he has been both a passionate coach and a committed administrator, widely respected for his integrity and honesty.
Signed Mahela Jayawardena
Kumar Sangakkara’s comments on rear cover of book.
Anura Tennekoon has documented his experiences in school Cricket, club Cricket, and National Cricket in a manner that is personal and striking and always with a touch of humour. Mr. Tennekoon is a remarkable Cricketer and human being and it has been my privilege to know him. He has a vast store of knowledge to share. In his autobiography he captures significant moments in his cricketing life that not only shapes his character and outlook, but then went onto influence many a cricketer. it is a wonderful book and holds inside many moments of joy for the reader.
Signed Kumar Sangakkara
Anura Tennekoon’s autobiography “Passionately Cricket” will be available for distribution in Australia in July 2020. Anyone wishing to obtain a copy please contact:
Felix Gooneratne : Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mob: 0449 024 294