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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 the temple.

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 stadium.

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.

 

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