first Sebastianite to play for Sri Lanka
Down Memory Lane with Bernie Wijesekera
The coastal district in Moratuwa has produced willow
wielders of class for the country. They have thrilled fans at home
and away. St. Sebastian’s College Moratuwa has produced some
of those who have reached the top.
The first to achieve the feat for St. Sebastian’s
was that little left-hander Anton Sethupathy. He played for Sri
Lanka in 1950 and laid the stepping stone for others to enjoy the
The Sunday Times met Sethupathy for a chat one
Q: Who coached you initially?
A: Late A.C. Amath the famed
cricket umpire who played for Malays. But of course Bro. Patrick
the Prefect of Games of St. Sebastian’s helped me at grassroots
level. If I made the grade,it is thanks to Bro. Patrick. I owe him
a token of gratitude.
Q: You played for St. Benedict’s
in your last year – 1950
A: Yes, under Ronnie Simmons.
Q: Any unforgettable moment in your school
A: The Bens a well-knit side played Nalanda. Then Stanley
Jayasinghe as a schoolboy was on tour with the Lankan team in Pakistan
under Sathi Coomaraswamy. He was an exciting batsman with a 100
and 90 odd against Pakistan in the test match. Immediately after
the tour he got permission to fly back home and straight from the
Airport he came to Kotahena and smashed a swashbuckling 100. I played
with him at Forbes and Walker and for the Mercantile XI.
In my opinion he was a player of international
class could have captained the Lankan team.
Q: Where did you play after leaving school?
A: I played for the Tamil Union C and AC for 25 years.
With the likes of M. Sathasivam, S. Coomaraswamy, S. Nagendran,
T. Dharmalingam, C.T.A. Schaffter, Francis Casiechetty, Mylvaganam
(of hockey fame), etc.
Q: Anything special whilst playing for
A: Played in 100 P. ‘Sara’ games without a
break. Then it was confined to 7 or 8 clubs and had a high standard,
very competitive. Players of the calibre of Tita Nathanielsz, Bobby
Schoorman, Bertie Wijesinghe, Ben Navaratne, Makkin Salih, A.C.M.
Lafir, Vernon Prins.
Q: What was your first job?
A: I worked in the Treasury. Later joined Forbes and Walker.
Q: Anything special in the Quadrangular
tournament Robert Senanayake trophy?
A: I played for the Govt. Services with the likes of late
T.B. Werapitiya, Malcolm Spittel, Bobby Schoorman, S.E.G. Perera,
K.M.T. Perera etc, also toured India. Later played for the Mercantile
XI under Prins and also represented the REST XI led by late F.C.
de Saram. Sathasivam also played for the Rest.
He opened batting with FC played at the NCC grounds
against a strong MCA XI. He smashed 100 with hardly any practice.
Q: When did you play for Sri Lanka?
A: In 1950 against the MCC (England) led by Peter May.
The then Ceylon team was captained by Vernon Prins. In 1956 I played
against India played here captained by Polly Umrigar. A two test
series. The team had G.S. Ramchand, Pankaj Roy, Vijey Manjerekar
(Father of Sanjay). The test at the Oval was marred by rain.
Q: You still make a trek to Sri Lanka?
A: Yes, nothing like home sweet home. To meet my old friends
in Moratuwa. My home where I played softball cricket in the beach
with the fishing folk. It’s a great pleasure to be with them.
Ofcourse a fishing net in support.
Cricket is no barrier. Imagine West Indies frontline
batsman Chandrapaul is a fisherman’s son. I too had my baptism
at the Moratuwa beach concluded Sethupathy.