My name is Ambul Thiyal-Anga. As you would have guessed by now I’m a cricketer. More specifically an opener, by name, at times even by trade.

I have an extensive repertoire of strokes but only play few, that is how good I am. Lately though I have been handed the task of opening the batting for the A team. The selectors needed an experienced man to lead the charges and it was only natural the buck fell on the great Ambul.

Yes I was ready.

I briefly look at my reflection in the mirror prior to entering the field. The crowd outside I know are expectant. The self belief and confidence staring back at me through the mirror astounds even me. An echo of applause can be heard outside, gathering momentum.

I tell my self- I’m stronger, faster, well drilled like a finely tuned machine. All clock work like a fresh off the mill Swiss chronometer. Ambul Thiyal-Anga is about to grace this match.


I walk to the crease, assured, not a hair, a inner glove out of place. The opposition players seem to marvel at the elegance I exhume even in the mere act of walking to the crease. I take guard and signals to the bowler that I am ready.

The carnage that followed is, as they say, history. I breezed past the 50..then the 100 and then 150 ..as I and everybody else knew I would. Here I was again I thought to my self. Every ounce of me working coherently to produce the perfection that was beyond any ones belief.

With effortless ease I caressed the ball to the fence.. needled it around corners for two and threes. The bowlers were tired and I was just getting started.

The medium pacer ran in..it was wide the outside off stump, I could tell the bowler knew this was going to be divinely sent to the boundary before he was through with his run up. My feet found the path of the ball, the bat followed through , it was almost in slow motion, I closed by eyes to feel the full satisfaction of the ball hitting the middle of the bat yet again.

But then the ball landed, a puff of dust. It moved away ever so slightly, I had miscalculated. The bowler could not believe I had edged it, neither could the keeper. Bewildered, they stood there in silence for a minute, before a polite enquiry from the umpire. The finger slowly came up.

I am out.

I look directly at the umpire, who seems almost apologetic. I stare him down, then the bowler. I cast my bat under my arm and walk towards the umpire with the same assuredness I had when I walked in. “Are you sure you want to do this ?” I ask. The umpire cannot hold my gaze.

I stand there, bat in hand. Pin drop silence all around. I move back into my stance. Practice the perfect sensual shot that was meant to have been played.

But that I did not.

Ambul Thiyal-Anga

Freddie Flintoff launches a brutal assault on Kallis..watch what happens !

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The 1st week of April in 1996 holds a memorable place in all Sri Lankans hearts(or at least it should!) It was indeed an unforgettable week.

As Sri Lankans we were all still basking in the glory of being tagged “World Champions”, and for any Australians reading this, you’d probably have been cursing and wondering how the tiny island nation that you’d bullied just a few months earlier in your backyard dared to dream and toppled the might of the best team in the world.

So if you were a Sri Lankan, life was good.

It was about to get better.

The now world renowned Sanath Jayasuriya stepped on to the field at the Padang in Singapore to launch an attack on Pakistan that is still the reason for a few Pakistani bowlers to wake up in the middle of the night with a cold sweat.

While the pundits were still trying to decompose whether what Jayasuriya did that week was even mathematically possible, a few unknown records in it self passed un noticed. Well at least until now.

Singapore, became the 12th country to host an ODI. They remain as the only country to host an ODI but never participated in an ODI. The Padang ground, incidentally is 110th ground, while Singapore is the 101st city to host an ODI.

The Padang ground it self holds special significance to us Sri Lankans.

When the first few adventurous Ceylonese left the island for the orient around the 1860s one of their destinations was Malaya, of which Singapore was a part of at the time. Singapore, which was founded by Sir Stanford Raffles in 1819, offered a vast array of opportunities for these immigrants from all over asia.

T. M. Turnbull records in his book, ‘History of Singapore, 1819 – 1975’, “Singapore’s rapidly expanding economy attracted ever-increasing immigrants. At the end of the 19th Century, there were 185,000 people. Three-quarters were Chinese, while the rest comprised Malays, Sumatrans, Javanese, Bugis, Ceylonese, Arabs, Eurasians and Europeans”.

If you are wondering what the cricketing relation to all this is- be patient.

These early Ceylonese held esteemed position in Singapore, as doctors, teaches and various other posts and would often get together to discuss the Sri Lankan way of life.

Cricket was usually a topic of great importance.

According to a foreword to the Early History of Sport Among Ceylonese Residents in Singapore, “Up to 1915, sport among Ceylonese youth seems to have been confined to students in the College of Medicine. In that year a more organised team began to take shape under the leadership of Dr. K. Kiramathypathy (Dr. K. K. Pathy). Soccer and cricket were the chief games indulged in, although there seems to have been a greater bias for cricket.”

The need for an official union was identified by many prominent Ceylonese and around the early 1920s the first Lanka Union was born. This is when the Padang and the Singapore Cricket Club played a pivotal role.

It offered its facilities for practice and matches for the Sri Lankans who did not at the time have their own ground. Ceylonese cricket thrived.

Dr. Pathy wrote

‘In the early stages games had to be played on outside grounds as we did not have a ground of our own, until late 1922…”
‘In this connection we should be failing in our duty if we did not record the great assistance given to us by the Padang Clubs of Singapore, the Singapore Recreation Club, and the Singapore Cricket Club in granting its facilities for practice and for matches, and for the great hospitality they showed us at all times. “

The Padang ground it self brings to mind a game of cricket played on a green on a lazy Sunday afternoon in England. Its surrounded by historic British monuments. It seems to have been plucked out of village green in the British Isles and placed in the center of one of the most modern metropolis’s in the world.

When you pass by the ground it reminds me of a time when cricket was simpler.

More laid back.

The way cricket should be.

An indulgence played with your mates, more for the love of the game rather than the accolades and money and the stardom. The pictures attached here do not do justice to this history patch of green that has undoubtedly shaped the lore of Sri Lankan cricket in the orient.

cricket history

Back at headquarters we had a debate on who would make up the greatest ODI XI. Since we couldn’t come to a conclusion we decided the best way would be to drop everything and go for a vote.
So we are tying to pick the greatest ODI team based on the fans out there.
Here is your chance to participate and get your views in. Simply vote on the poll on the left !

The idea being we will pick the two best openers based on your comments and then the No3 batsmen , No4 and so forth ending up with the bowlers.

Each poll will be run for a week.

So stop that boring thing you’re doing. Tell your wives and kids to bugger off and get voting !!

Ps- If you wish to vote for any player outside this poll. Too bad.
Actually just leave it in the comments section and we will take it into account when picking the team 🙂

Fantasy teams

My name is Ambul Thiyal-Anga. As you would have guessed by now I’m a cricketer. More specifically an opener, by name, at times even by trade.

I have an extensive repertoire of strokes but only play few, that is how good I am. Or how good I was. You see, I hit a rough patch a while ago.

My confidence had eluded me. But no more.
My timing was amiss. But No more
Nay, no more.

Ambul Thiyal-Anga was called into action, as he so often is, against the might of the Indians recently. It was my chance to prove to the world the legend of Ambul was not faded but spreading wider. To prove that to the ones that gave up on me that I’m stronger, faster, well drilled like a finely tuned machine. All clock work like a fresh off the mill Swiss chronometer.

Yes I was ready.
I walked to the middle to face the new ball, fearless as I had done before. But this time It would be different. This time, it would be all my way. The daunting chase ahead of me did not make me nervous. Rather it made me acutely aware that this was where Ambul Thiyal-Anga was meant to be at this moment. This is the moment that Ambul would re capture his lost throne.

A brisk few boundaries boosted my already brimming confidence. I was set. Today would be my day. I reach a half century. The crowd goes wild in the stands. I acknowledge them briefly. Knowing that I would soon be gaining more adulation’s when I reach the milestone I am destined for today. Even the opposition sense it. They are not dealing with a mere mortal. I can see it in their eyes. The fear. The loathing. The hint of jealousy. I’m not perturbed.

The bowler runs in. I already know his plan. I’m two steps ahead of him. He is unaware. My foot moves into position with a serenity that amazes even me. The bat flows through. My muscles searching , aching, for the perfect moment to make contact, but at that most glorious moment I’m distracted, by someone in the crowd perhaps.
It is over. I have edged it and the brutish keeper has snuffled up the chance. For a moment , disbelief. From bowler, keeper and even umpire.

I am out.

I stand there, bat in hand. Pin drop silence all around. I move back into my stance. Practice the perfect sensual shot that was meant to have been played.

But that I did not.

Ambul Thiyal-Anga