by R. B. Wijesinha (Jnr.)
Had Bertie Wijesinha been alive on May 24, he would have been 100 years old. Sadly, he fell just short of his century. This year is also the 25th anniversary of the passing of his great friend, teammate and fellow commentator, Lucien de Zoysa. Four years older than Bertie, their association began from the Royal-Thomian Cricket Match of 1936; Bertie’s first and Lucien’s last. They have both written books about their cricketing days, “First Love’ by Lucien and “The Love of a Lifetime’ by Bertie, both publications a ‘must read’ for those interested in the evolution of the game in Sri Lanka.
They counted the likes of Sargo Jayawickrama, F. C. (Derrick) De Saram, Mahadevan Sathasivam, C. I. (Ievers) Gunasekera, Ben Navaratne, Mahes Rodrigo, D. S. Jayasundera, Sathi Coomaraswamy and others, as team mates and friends; legends all who contributed what cricket historians of the future will claim was the Golden Age of Sri Lankan Cricket, laying the foundations and setting the standards of the formidable Test Cricket playing Nation it was to become.
Mine is a personal tribute to (Uncle) Lucien in emotions based on the opening paragraph of Bertie’s chapter on his great friend. It reads thus,
One man in his time plays many parts! So was it with Lucien Edward! Cricketer, actor, playwright, producer, cricket commentator, journalist and raconteur extraordinary. Not a great deal, however, has been told of Lucien the man; the human aspect of his nature. It is a sentimental journey which I now undertake, his spirit, as it were, walking beside me!
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