What about the great Satha!October 14, 2015
Gamini Amarasinghe of Adelaide
I am glad that Michael Tissera has been honoured at last. I was glued to the radio when he made that memorable century against the visiting West Indies team in the early sixties. That made me very proud indeed. However, there is another name I am passionate about. That was the great Satha. Here are some of “sayings” about Satha that I picked up from the internet.
Mahadēvan Sathasivam (18 October 1915, Ceylon – 9 July 1977 inColombo, Sri Lanka), or Satha as he was known, was the Sri Lankan cricketer whom Garry Sobers called “the greatest batsman ever on earth,” and Frank Worrell called him “the best batsman he had ever seen”.Sathasivam played cricket in the 1940s through the 1960s. Sathasivam was the first, and probably the only, man to captain three national teams. He was captain of the Ceylon team in 1948, and then captain of the Singapore team, and finally captain of the Malaysian team. He was accused and acquitted of murdering his wife, which gained much attention in Ceylon.
Satha and Bradman at the Toss, Oval in Colombo 1948 — see https://cricketique.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/sidarth-monga-on-bradman-in-ceylon/
In 1948 a controversial decision of the Ceylon Cricket Association selected Mahadeva Sathasivam of the Tamil Union to lead the All-Ceylon XI team.
This is what Frank Worrel said on another occasion: “Sathasivam,” he says, “was perhaps the best batsman Sri Lanka produced. The great Frank Worrell, captaining a Commonwealth XI against Ceylon, and his teammates clapped Sathasivam off the field during a ‘Test’ in 1950. Satha had scored 96 out of Ceylon’s 153 against a high class attack on a bowler-friendly wicket, leading Worrell to describe him as ‘the best batsman in the world; my first pick as a batsman for a World XI’.”
Those who watched that 1947 innings in Madras would be inclined to agree with that assessment. Certainly two Indian sportswriters who looked back on his life and that innings said as much in the words that follow. Sriram Veera, the chief cricket correspondent of the Mumbai Mirror, recalling that innings for All-Ceylon against South India wrote: “In 1947, a slim figure glided to the centre of the wicket with a ‘bewitching elegance’, his cap worn at a rakish angle, a white handkerchief tied around .his neck, He proceeded to dispatch the ball to all parts of the ground while making 215.