Former Sri Lanka cricketer Bertie Wijesinhe, who represented Ceylon, passed away at the age of 96. It must be known that Sri Lanka was formerly known as Ceylon. Wijesinhe was an exceptional all-rounder who could bowl both off-spin as well medium-fast. Wijesinhe also coached Sri Lankan legends, The Wettimuny brothers – Sunil, Mithra and Sidath. Wijesinhe was born to former Trinity cricketer Alexander Wijesinha, and was the oldest living Thomain cricketer before his passing away.
Wijesinhe played his club cricket at Singhalese Sports Club (SSC). However, Wijesinghe played his first national game for Ceylon in 1949 against a visiting Pakistan side at Colombo Oval. Even though Ceylon were thrashed in the match, Wijesinhe ended up scoring 59 runs in the match.
Wijesinhe, after his international retirement, took up Journalism in London in 1952, while continuing to play for local club named West Indian Wanderers. Aged 57, Wijesinhe played for Nottinghamshire.
One of his best students, Sidath Wettimuny was quoted, “Whatever skills we learnt from cricket we owe it to him.” He futher added,” He was a fabulous coach, 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.”
Another Sri Lankan captain Anura Tennekoon paid his tributes to Wijesinhe, “He helped me to brush up my 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.”