One of Sri Lanka’s most iconic cricketers of the pre-Test era Stanley Jayasinghe was yesterday felicitated by the Old Nalandians Sports Club that comprise old boys of Nalanda College at the school’s Malalasekera Hall.
At a time when the quality of school cricket was at a high level, Jayasinghe now age 90, booked his place in the National side as a batsman while still being a schoolboy in 1950 for a tour of Pakistan where he scored a century.
His club career brought him membership at SSC, NCC and Nomads and in 1956 bagged a stint to play League cricket in England and even had the rare honour of being invited by the Indian cricket board to represent the Prime Minister’s X1 against a Commonwealth team in Bombay in 1960.
He was one of the early Sri Lankans to play for an English county when he represented Leicestershire in the early 1960s after representing Ceylon against the MCC in Colombo.
When Ceylon beat India on a tour in 1963-64, Jayasinghe was a member of the winning team and like a trump card captured six wickets with Michael Tissera as captain.
A strict disciplinarian who also served as Sri Lanka team manager, Jayasinghe retired from cricket in the prime of his career in 1968 and in later years was also a successful newspaper columnist.
To this day he remains a respected household name and still fighting fit as he spends some of his time in the rugged countryside of Tanamalwila in the Hambantota district where he is involved in cultivation and interest in wildlife.