Developing a boy's cricket talent is important - Fairlie Dalpathado
CRICKET: A man who brought fame to his school side in the famous
Combined Schools Cricket match way back in 1943, the Singhalese Sports
Club in 1944 and went on to play his debut for Ceylon from 1949-5 and
simultaneously represented Ceylon in the first Asian Tennis
Championship, is veteran sportsman Fairlie George Dalpathado.
Fairlie Dalpathado - a great Josephian cricketer.
Speaking of the game of cricket as played today, Fairlie stressed the
fact that cricket was a gentleman's game and it should be played like
gentlemen. Today, we seem to have lost that touch. Sledging all the time
while playing the game is bad, he said, condemning the act. Selections
are also very important. We should have selectors who know the game, who
are fair minded and select the best team possible and look after the
outstanding people like Muralitharan.
Today there are too many coaches in schools in my opinion. Going by
the book and infusing style is useless but developing a boys talent is
compulsory. No one plays a 'late cut' today, not a single Sri Lankan
cricketer he explained in a rather disappointed tone.
The game is quite different from the cricket played in the days of
old where the game was played in absolute silence with an occasional
appeal rather softly. Fairlie Dalpathado, in his tenor has done his best
and now it is time to sit back and take a closer look at the rest.
Now 82, it was a pleasure to talk to Fairlie Dalpathado, a name that
brought fame when for the first time in the annals of Ceylon Schools
Cricket, a Combined Schools team led by Vernon Prins of S. Thomas' which
included eight captains and nine centurions was set to play a school
side where Farlie led the unbeaten Josephian side.
The historic encounter was the last of its kind where the veteran not
only contributed 59 runs but also bundled out Combined Schools for 35
and bagged six wickets for 17 runs, compelling the organizers to refuse
to permit the Josephians to enforce a follow on as The Governor of
Ceylon at the time, Sir Jeffery Layton was the chief guest and they
feared that the match would be over before he arrived.
Lifting high the Josephian morale, Farlie moved on to play for
Singhalese Sports Club (SSC) and played his debut for Ceylon in 1949
under Derrick de Saram against the West Indians led by John Goddard. His
next appearance was apparently in 1950 under Malcolm Spittle against
England led by Freddie Brown and he toured Pakistan with the Ceylon team
under Sargo Jayawickrema he recalled.
Dalpathado played as a pace bowler adding to the many feats of
sportsmanship as a Ceylon cricketer cum Ceylon tennis player; an
unprecedented combination of immense talent and stature of yet another
like C. I. Gunasekara, two exceptional geriatrics who live to tell their
success stories on the field in their heydays.
Having been able to speak to Dalpathado I was thrilled. Thrilled to
be able to write about a veteran cricketer hailing from my school
cricketing favourites, St. Joseph's College.
A diehard fan of St Joseph's, I was elated to interview this ex-Josephian
cricketing hero who not only played the game but also coached his school
team to produce four champion sides and five best captains, Rohan
Weerakkody, Ashley de Silva, Nirmalal Perera, Jeevaka Candappa and
Jonathan Alles during his tenor of twenty years, from way back in 1949
for a year till the school recruited a coach and thereafter from 1965-73
for eight years and once again from 1975-88.
Five best captains
Highlighting the facts with pride, Farlie refreshed my mind too of
the good old days and the five best captains St Joseph's had produced,
Rohan Weerakkody, I recalled my school days and the Big match fever of
the Battle of the Saints which was a much awaited encounter for us
Familians throughout our heydays.
No sooner Fairlie Dalpathado began citing the names of the five
renowned Josephian captains of that era I was in the know of all five as
I had never missed a single 'Big Match' since the age of twelve and
still continue to go for it. This surprised Dalpathado, as we continued
trailing his great feats.
Encouraged by his father who coached him in cricket and tennis,
Farlie traced his beginnings when he secured employment at the Tea
Control Department and retired at Tea Small Holdings as Assistant
Manager, Married to an Indian lady, Therese Abraham whom he had met
while on his tennis tourneys to India, Farlie Dalpathado has one son and
two daughters and none of them have apparently taken to any sport, he