By: Nalin Jayetileke
The newly refurbished indoor cricket stadium of the Sinhalese sports club was declared opened yesterday (27th Jan ) by the Honorary President of SSC Mr Tommy Ellawala and Late Mr Michel De Zoysa’s wife Mrs Manique De Zoysa. Late Mr Michel De Zoysa who was a member of the SSC for well over 40 years was a legendry character who contributed towards the progress and development of one of the most respected and prestigious Cricket Clubs in Sri Lanka, the SSC. Speaking at the ceremony the President of the SSC Mr Tommy Ellawala said “we need to appreciate Michel for the tremendous contribution he rendered towards the betterment of its Player and the Club. There are 3 aspects that must be highlighted. Michel was the originator of the players dormitory at the Club with a vision of housing it’s players coming from outside of Colombo who will have e the opportunity to train and play for the Club and thereafter to have the opportunity to represent their country. He was the founder of the SSC School of Cricket and his efforts in developing the spectator capacity at the SSC, are the three main areas Michel will always be remembered at the SSC. Michael’s greatest contribution to the game was introducing Arjuna Ranatunga to the club”.
Michel De Zoysa, who had his foundation, schooling at S ’Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia, has had a passion for Cricket from his school days. “ Michel carried a bat with him each day that he came to College and rode his bicycle to school and given any opportunity, Michel was seen playing cricket and sometimes in the fives court” said Mr Kito Dias , a close mate speaking on behalf of Michel’s family.
Former legendry Sri Lanka Captain Mahela Jayawardene who is also the present Chairman of the Cricket Housie Committee at the SSC, making a speech in appreciation of Michel De Zoysa’s services said “With Michel as our manager for Sri Lanka Cricket, always stood by the team and we have seen him stressing his view points, deliberating on matters whenever he though a decision was not the right one, during Test and other matches with some of the match referees and always was a highly respected person”.
He was an excellent Cricket administrator and later became the manager of the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2013 succeeding Charith Senanayake and served for a two year term until 2015. During his tenure, Sri Lanka notably won the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 before his assignment as team manager being ended on 10 April 2015. He was also a veteran in the Ceylon Tea industry. De Zoysa was the head of Sri Lanka Cricket advisory committee during the time of his demise on 29th Sep 20219. The Sri Lankan cricket team wore black armbands as a tribute to him during the second ODI of the Sri Lanka v Pakistan which was held on 30 September 2019.
SSC Indoor cricket nets being named after late Michel De Zoysa, is a fitting tribute to him by the Sinhalese Sports Club.