Colombo [Sri Lanka], Apr. 10 (ANI): Former Sri Lankan cricketer Bertie Wijesinhe, who represented Ceylon in the pre-Test era, passed away on Saturday at the age of 96.
Wijesinghe, an all-rounder who bowled off-spin and medium pace, played his club cricket at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC). He played his first national game for Ceylon in 1949 against a visiting Pakistan side at Colombo Oval.
However, his greatest contribution came as a coach. The three Wettimuny brothers- Sunil, Mithra and Sidath, who represented Sri Lanka at the international level, were coached by Wijesinghe.
"Whatever skills we learnt from cricket we owe it to him," ESPNcricinfo quoted Sidath as saying.
Describing Wijesinghe as a fabulous coach, Sidath said the former was the best in the business.
"His knowledge and the way he transferred that knowledge to us was fantastic. Bertie lived a full life and was one of the greatest cricketers produced by SSC and one of the best coaches the country has produced," he added.
While paying his tribute, former Sri Lanka and SSC captain Anura Tennekoon said that Wijesinghe helped him to brush up his technique from school to club level.
"He was very good at putting the basics right of a cricketer whether it be batting or bowling, that was his main strength," he said.
Wijesinhe, after his international retirement, took up Journalism in London in 1952, while continuing to play for local club named West Indian Wanderers. He worked as the sports editor of the Daily News from 1953 to 1972 and, alongside another SSC stalwart Lucien de Zoysa, provided ball-by-ball commentary on radio. (ANI)