For the past forty years Tamil Union has been unearthing cricketing talent by delving into the country’s limitless outstation resources. Recently the club has ventured into the breeding grounds of the North and East of the island, and has brought back to Colombo three very promising players from St. Patrick’s College in Jaffna.
Left to Right: Brigadier David (St Patrick's College Old Boys' Association - Colombo Branch), Eric Pratap, Jerome Chanmugam (Hony General Secretary, Tamil Union C & AC), Dinal Phillips (Chairman of Cricket Tamil Union C &AC), Milando,Rex Phillips (ex President of SPC OBA), Jegan Regilus
The boys, whose abilities were made known to Tamil Union through Jaffna District coach Shanmugalingham, were thrown into practice sessions with the club’s players and according to Tamil Union Pavilion Secretary Suresh Murugesar, fared impressively.
“They performed very well and interacted equally well with the players on the team. During their time at the club they were also tested physically and taught the importance of the mental aspect of the game,”. Murugesar revealed.
Unfortunately, the pavilion secretary says, only two of them, Jegan Regilus, an aggressive wicketkeeper batsman and Eric Pratap, a capable allrounder, were able to participate in the programme. The third boy, Milando, had to return to Jaffna to tend to his sick father.
The right handed Regilus, who scored 200 runs in 15 innings in Division two of the Sri Lanka Schools league, conveyed to Murugesar that he was astounded by the physical demands he had to meet while training. He went onto express that his trip here had been very fruitful for his two disciplines, batting and keeping. Behind the stumps he learned how to improve his ability to claim balls which flew down the leg side, and padded up in front of them, he grasped the importance of good footwork while batting.
Meanwhile head coach of Tamil Union, Lanka de Silva heaped praise on the other player, Eric Pratap, who took 37 wickets in 11 matches and scored 187 runs in 16 innings, saying that he possessed the pace, talent and mindset to go very far.
Murugesar says that the young men said they hoped to return to the club, after they had completed their studies, and attempt to join its ranks “The problem is getting them to Colombo, once that is sorted they can start playing regularly.”
Amongst some of the distinguished players that Tamil Union has excavated from regions outside Colombo over the years are Upul Chandana, Indika De Saram, Pramodya Wickremasinghe and most recently Suranga Lakmal.
Encouraged by its success Murugesar says the club aims to continue the programme and unveil yet more undiscovered talent, “We want to continue with it and encourage other clubs to start doing it as well, in order to ensure that we tap into all the country’s talent.”