Great cricketers have played on Trinity College grounds
CRICKET: The picturesque Trinity College grounds at Asgiriya has
helped all sports in a big way, especially cricket. Most of the worlds
great cricketers who visited Sri Lanka have played at Asgiriya.
Great players like Sir Frank Worrell of West Indies, Fazal Mohammad
of Pakistan, Bill Lawry, Colin Cowdrey, John Edrich, Hobbs, Leslie Ames,
Vijay Merchant, Lindsay Hassett, Sir Learie Constantine, Sunil Gavaskar,
Ajit Wadekar, D. B. Vengsarkar, S. M. Patil, Sarfaz Nawaz, Moshin Khan,
Ravi Shastri, Tony Greig, Madan Lal, Basil D'Oliveira, Geoff Boycott,
Kapil Dev, Intikab Alam, Majid Khan, Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim
Akram, Asif Iqbal, Wasim Raja, Fazal Mohamood, Greg and Ian Chappell.
Dennis Lillee, Bob Simpson, Sir Richard Hadlee, Brian Lara, David Boon,
alan Border, Steve Waugh, Dean Jones, Martin Crowe, Jeff Crowe are the
names that comes to one's mind in a flash as their deeds on this ground
have made a lasting impression.
Famous cricket writer, Robin Malar said that Trinity College grounds
compared with the best in the World.
Recently, the West Indies fast bowler, the 'Big Bird' Joel Garner,
speaking to me in his last outing in Kandy, said that he has heard this
ground is one of the best in the World and inquired why International
matches are not played.
This ground came alive due to the helping hand given by the white
sahibs of the early days; In 1910 they gave Trinity College permission
to put up their own grounds. That was during Rev. A.G. Fraser's tenure
as the principal. He was instrumental and was behind the construction of
the venue, Trinitians started work and in 1910 it was opened
ceremonially in 1915 by Sir Robert Chalmers, the Governor of Kandy on
15th of January 1915. The first inter-school match to be played at
Asgiriya was between Trinity and S. Thomas' Mount Lavinia on 24th and
25th of February 1915. This game was won by the Trinitians by an
innings. Prior to Asgiriya being built, Trinity played their cricket at
the Bogambara Grounds. Since that time various changes have been taking
place at the grounds.
When he assumed office as Principal in 1904, Rev, A.G. Fraser, was
conscious about the lack of a suitable playing with 400 students out of
them 200 were boarders, the school needed an suitable cricket field, and
the possible site was at Asgiriya which was 300 yards away from the
school, through the temple and a five minutes walk.
Quite contrary to a popular misconception that this land belonged to
It was then an abandoned waste land of the War Department. Notice of
Rev. Fraser's application on behalf of Trinity College, for the lease of
the Crown land called the Military Grounds was gazetted in Ceylon
Government Gazette on 2nd May 1923. Permission was granted to the school
to commence work, pending the formal execution of and indenture of
lease. The Government Agent at the time had said that the annual lease
rental would be Rs. 30 per annum.
Making the ground took five long years from 1909 to 1915.
After 67 years, when Mr. Gamini Dissanayake, an old Trinitian, took
over the leadership of Sri Lanka Cricket, he used modern machinery and
within a short period of 150 days made it into a International Cricket
Stadium. That was in 1981. Late Gamini Dissanayake was the first to put
sod to start work and on 5th January 1982, the late President J. R.
Jayewardene - a fine cricketer himself at Royal, ceremonially opened the
It was during the principalship of late Rev. Dr. W.G. Wickremasinghe
the stadium became a reality.
Trinitians of all walks of life extended their fullest support to
Gamini Dissanayke to bring the ground to international standard.
A modern pavilion, which has three floors, was constructed - ground
floor exclusively for players, umpires and officials with all
facilities. The other two floors to accommodate over thousand five
hundred spectators. A well equipped media box and a modern scoreboard
was also got up.
The turf wicket was prepared by T. M. Omardeen under the supervision
of Abu Fuard who coordinated on behalf of the Cricket Board. Old
Royalist Shaw Wilson who was Trinity cricket coach at that time, became
the first curator and later Trinity's Alex Lazarus was there for a quite
a some time.
Late J.R. Jayewardene, opened the pavilion in 1982.
At present, Trinty grounds looks good for any sport, and the present
principal Brig. Udya Ariyarathne, who is a keen sports follower visits
the grounds regularly and sees to the needs.