Arjuna Ranatunga Pays Emotional Tribute to former Sri Lanka Team manager Michael De Zoysa

Written by Pushpendra Albe

Arjuna Ranatunga paid a heartfelt tribute to his long time associate and friend Michael De Zoysa, who died on Monday (September 29). Michael, a former Sri Lanka Team manager and a stalwart of prestigious Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), breathed his last in Nawala following a massive heart attack a day before his 73rd Birthday.

“Michael’s passion for Cricket was evident to everyone who knew him. His quick wit and strategic mind was highly regarded by those, who had the pleasure of working with him” the World Cup winning iconic captain said in his condolence message.

Further, he remembered Micheal as one of the pillar of SSC for more than four decades.

“Michael was a stalwart of the SSC and Sri Lanka Cricket. I first came into contact with Michael when I was a young cricketer at Ananda College, Colombo. He spotted me and asked me to join the SSC and gave me all the encouragement to start off my cricketing career at this great club” added Arjuna, who revolutionized world cricket with his attacking brand of captaincy in the 1996 world cup.

For Arjuna, Michael was a role model and a ‘principal’ sort of character for an entire generation of cricketers in Sri Lanka.

“As youngsters, when we used to come the club straightway after school for practices, he would stay around, participating in the practice sessions, join the youngsters in physical training and then take us in his car and drop us off at the railway station to ‘catch’ the train to get back home to Gampaha” he added further, remembering the contribution of Michael.

For SSC, Michael was a father figure, a care taker and above all a role model of unity and supporting culture, that made SSC a synonymous of club cricket in Sri Lanka.

“He was a livewire in the SSC and was, more specifically, the Ground Secretary for many years, personally supervising the preparation of pitches for Test matches and club matches. He encouraged all the SSC players and saw to all their needs at the club, leaving no stone unturned to ensure that everything was in order, spending his own time and money for the smooth functioning of the team’s needs” he added further.

For decades, Michael shouldered the responsibility of SSC wickets, that produced some if the most historical test matches of Cricket.

“He made every cricketer feel important and contented to play for the club. He was also very supportive of the ground staff working under him, especially the Head Groundsman Lal and the Dressing Room attendant, the late Nimal, whom he made a special attempt to help both financially and professionally. He wanted the ground staff to work hard and reap the benefits of his appreciation for a job well done”.

Michael’s contribution, however, was not only limited to SSC, as he served Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) at every level.

“At SLC, he served on many special committees and his views were well received and acted upon, simply because he knew his cricket and what he was talking about. In 2013 he took charge of the National team as the Manager and two significant achievements under his stewardship of the team was the winning of the World T20 tournament in Bangladesh and the test series win in England, both in 2014”.

Arjuna described the demise of Micheal as a personal loss to him.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Zoysa family at this most difficult time. I have lost a personal Friend. Rest in Peace Mike. You will be missed and your immense contribution SSC and Sri Lanka Cricket will not be forgotten” concluded Arjuna.


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Pushpendra Albe