Pelham Juriansz, in the Sunday Leader, 26 Feb. 2012
What a shock! This is the only way that I can describe my reaction to the news that my former school-friend, cricket captain, amazing bowler and erstwhile friend, Ranil G. Abeynaike had passed away. I can still remember Ranil as a young, ‘up and coming’ bowler in 1971, where he made it to the ‘Royal-Thomian Big Match’ of 1971. That year, the stylish Ravi Sathasivam led the Thomians. In the following year – 1972 (exactly 40 years ago) Duleep Mendis as skipper mauled the Royalists for 184. In those two years Ranil, was a mere ‘spectator.’
It was in the following year, however, that he matured as a bowler, and really struck the headlines every week. A good bowler of those times averaged roughly four wickets per match, but Ranil in about 15 matches that season took well over 90 wickets! That’s Murali stuff!
In the Royal Thomian of 1973 the Thomians had three deadly spin bowlers, and we called them the ‘Three ‘As” as they were Abeynaike, Abeygunawardena and Abeywardene. That is Ranil himself and his partner in left arm spinning crime, Ajith Abeygunda( as we affectionately called him), and last but not least, one of the finest ‘offies’ with a classical action, Ravi Abeywardene. This ‘threesome’ accounted for numerous wickets in 1973, so much so that the Royalists were scared of them and folded up for 124 in the first innings. In the second innings, Prasanna ‘Kari’ and Chelliah, came out with guns blazing, wanting to ‘tame’ the three Thomian spinners. And tame them they did. At the end the Thomians were hanging on for dear life with Ravi and Gamini Kumarage holding on to their wickets. But, this did not deter Ranil and co. Some weeks later they met the Royalists in the Lifebuoy trophy final and won. Sweet revenge! Not really. Speaking later at a school Assembly, at which yours truly was present, Ranil spoke about the Read the rest of this entry ?