Ranatunga sings Sir Garfield’s praises

COLOMBO –– Former Sri Lankan star and current Ports and Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga has said that Sir Garfield Sobers is the best cricketer ever and added the legendary West Indian had a very special influence in his cricketing career.

Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning captain made the remarks when he met with Sobers at his ministry’s auditorium yesterday. A felicitation ceremony was held in honour of Sir Garfield’s service to the development of Sri Lankan cricket. Ranatunga said that Sobers had been a unique coach to Sri Lankan cricket.

Arjuna Ranatunga presents a memento to Sir Garfield Sobers during a ceremony yesterday. Sir Garfield coached the then 18-year-old Ranatunga in 1981 and he later played in Sri Lanka’s inaugural Test the following year.
Arjuna Ranatunga presents a memento to Sir Garfield Sobers during a ceremony yesterday. Sir Garfield coached the then 18-year-old Ranatunga in 1981 and he later played in Sri Lanka’s inaugural Test the following year.

“Sir Sobers has been a very special character in my cricketing career. Before the 1993 Australian tour I was not included in the side. But Sir Sobers who came as the coach of the Lankan team, requested the selection committee to include me in the national side. It is after that I was able to secure a permanent place in the national side. Sobers’ guidance and instructions have helped me a lot. So after 30 years when he return to Sri Lanka I am very pleased to meet him,” said Ranatunga.

Addressing the gathering, Sobers predicted that Sri Lankan cricket would have a great time in the future.

“When I was invited to come to Sri Lanka as a coach by late Gamini Dissanayake, I was in Australia. It was also after a little while Sri Lanka gained Test status. But there were talented cricketers in Sri Lanka. So I accepted the invitation. My first job was to train Sri Lankan players to face fast bowlers and prepare their minds to face pace bowlers, because at that time there were very good fast bowlers in the world.

“Then I focused on their technical aspects. There were talented players in Sri Lanka at that time and I hope Sri Lanka will produce talented players in future as well,” Sir Garfield stated.

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