Bloomfield has abundant talent to make it a treble-Shelley
By Bernie Wijesekera
To win a cricket double - is great. Bloomfield has abundant talent to make it a treble - for three successive years, said Shelley Wickremasinghe, the former president of the club. He served them for 25 years for the Reid Avenue Club to make the slippery climb. An old Peterite, Shelly played for the school team under Dion Walles, when they reigned in the school circuit.

Wickremasinghe, handed over the reins to Upali Dharmadasa, the present president, who is continuing his good work. He said, that he made the right decision. All cricket loving members of the Reid Avenue club has got their act-together and has forged ahead to maintain the traditions of this marvellous game of character building. Other issues are like water under the bridge.

Q: You have retired from active work (as a professional engineer) or otherwise?.
Yes. In retirement leading a quiet life devoting much of my time in Buddhist activities at the YMBA. Further doing community service, sans caste, creed or race.

Q: What made you say that Bloomfield winning streak will continue for the next couple of years?
At present the club is oozing with its young talent, who are totally committed. It augurs well for the future of the game and at national level. The likes of Tilina Kandambi, Ian Daniel, Saman Jayantha, Kaushalya Lokurachchi, Taraka Gunaratne, Kaushalya Weeraratne, Farveez Mahroof, Indika de Saram, D. Gamage, UdaraWarna, Shanuka Dissanayake Wicket-keeper Gihan de Silva, Amila Ratnayake in the squad. With this line up the club is finding it difficult even to pick a team. The team is led by Kumar Dharmasena and that "peaceful annihilator" Sanath Jayasuriya to guide them.

T.M. Dilshan, that outstanding utility all-rounder, is one of the best in the trade. A fine team man. He could even stand behind the sticks in a crisis. If the youngster could maintain his bearings and has self-belief, I can assure he could be a regular member in the national squad.

Q: Don't you think that even in the past Bloomfield had some fine teams in the '70s under Bandula Warnapura? They won every trophy on offer?.
Yes. There were players of the calibre of Ajith de Silva, the late D.L.S. Silva and Anura Ranasinghe, Shabir Asgerally, Lalith Kaluperuma, Jayantha Seneviratne, D.S. de Silva, S. Illangaratnam, etc. These players and some others were the pride of Bloomfield.

But the present young side virtually an Under-24 squad has many years of cricket before them. They must be kept together. If they don't migrate the Reid Avenue club, should be in the forefront for many years.

Q: What is the secret behind this success story? Aren't there any other clubs, who could be on par?
Firstly, I will delve on other clubs. Colts CC, runners-up to Bloomfield (in both formulas - years 2003), N.C.C., S.S.C., BRC, Moors S.C., Tamil Union. They have the wherewithal. But any team needs guidance and better game plan. The players have to be motivated and be disciplined at all times.

It needs a strong management, who are totally committed, and act without fear or favour. No one is indispensable. They had to adhere to a code of ethics. At the same time must look into the player needs - including nutrition. This is being afforded to the players at Bloomfield even after their daily practices.

Morale is important
Morale is the most important factor in sports. More than anything else - be its for its success or failure. High morale values are essential," said Wickremasinghe.

Q: Who was responsible and made a concerted effort to help Bloomfield to get a permanent abode when they were running from pillar to post?.
A quite number of people were sympathetic toward us. But it was the former Minister of Sports and the Speaker of the House, Mr. K.B. Ratnayake, who made the present clubhouse and the playing field a reality.
Impart the skills.

Q: Any coaches of repute, who handled Bloomfield cricket in the past?.
Yes. D.S. de Silva, who played at the national level as an all-rounder. Played in the inaugural test. He has the knowledge to impart the skills on and off the field. He served the club well as a player, speaks out his mind and a coach with no-nonsense. Approach. Was a competent coach and could communicate in either language, he is fit to serve at a higher level.

The Club's motive is to take the game forward and the present Administration is transparent and is on the right track. I am sorry to mention that the controlling body Sri Lanka Cricket, must strive to help clubs like Bloomfield, who is promoting and helping the game (among the less affluent) and protecting the interests of the game to reach greater heights in the international scene. Forget other issues its country's image that matters in the end, he concluded.


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