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DN Mon Jul 28 2003

Murugaser's 80th birth anniversary today

by Richard Dwight

Every now and then there comes along a man, who through his selfless service in the greater cause and common good, enriches the life within the community and leaves it a better place for having lived. one such man with intrinsic worth and endearing wide appeal, was undoubtedly Tamil Union Cricket Club's benefactor in years gone by, the late Thambyah Murugaser.

Muru, as he was affectionately spoken of, had the benefit of a good Hindu home, steeped in tradition and culture, a scion born to name, fame and fortune, who blossomed out in his formative years to be a holistic product of his alma mater Royal College. He was an ideal student, who proved to be exemplary in the classroom and a versatile sportsman with a fine record of being awarded colours in six disciplines and, ending as captain of the cricket team.

For his brilliance at Royal he won the coveted Lorenz scholarship, for the best all rounder in 1942. Continuing in the same vein he went onto captain the cricket team of the Colombo university, representing it at tennis and table tennis as well.

Always well attired, endowed with a pleasing countenance and given to sober disciplined ways, he brought to bear to his work as senior Director at C.W. Mackie and Company, qualities of virtue that were rare.

This, Muru was held in high esteem and regard and earned the confidence to serve as director in quite a few private and public companies, not forgetting that he was also the past chairman of the Shippers Council of Sri Lanka and the Association of Sippers Councils of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Indeed a man of proven administrative ability, and it was no surprise when he was elected to be the vice president of the board of control for Cricket in Sri Lanka, under the presidency of the late Minister Gamini Dissanayake, with as well, the distinction of being selected as manager of the Sri Lanka World Cup Cricket team to the United Kingdom in 1983.

But by far, for what Muru would be most remembered, would be the wholesome valid contribution he made in the cause and furtherance of the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club. He captained the club's cricket team, was its president for many years and the patron until his demise in August 1994.

What was most extraordinary about Muru's long standing association with the club, was that he displayed rare enthusiasm and loyalty of high degree.

His 80th birth anniversary falls today. It is to such a man as this, that the Tamil Union Cricket Club last Friday, in recognition and appreciation of the manifold services rendered by Tambyah Murugaser paid honour by renaming the 'B' Block of the main pavilion, as the T. Murugaser Block, a most deserving tribute indeed.

DN Fri July 25 2003

Tamil Union honours 'Muru' and 'Myla' today

by Richard Dwight

The annual general meeting of the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club scheduled for this evening at 7.30 will be marked by the stepping down of President Tryphon Mirando after his three-year term to be succeeded by M. Ganeshan.

The occasion will also be significant to be historical where a representative gathering will view the opening of the newly constructed club's swimming pool and also witness tangible expression of gratitude and appreciation being made to two club past stalwarts Thambiah Murugaser and A. Mylvaganam by the opening of a stand and a gate respectively in their names.

Both Muru and Myla as they were affectionately referred to were virtually pillars of the Tamil Union Club who through sheer commitment strove in the cause of the club and for its betterment at all times. It's most fitting therefore even posthumously though their memories be perpetuated in the very place they laboured for in love, all these years.

Given to sober disciplined ways the mild mannered, genial Tambiah Murugaser excelled both in the classroom and sports field at Royal College where he did well at cricket and tennis.

Always well attired and a pleasant exterior he brought to bear qualities that were noble to his work as Director at C. W. Mackie & Co. and to his club, Tamil Union he was its mentor, guide and friend.

He not only played cricket for his club but held responsible positions in the club being its president for many years. It is said that whenever the club was in need his hands dipped into his pockets. Muru also displayed abilities of being a fine administrator and at one time was the Vice President of the Cricket Board having had the distinction of being the Manager of the Sri Lanka Cricket team to England.

Mylva it could be said that what Satha was to cricket Myla was to hockey, with that bravado air of nonchalance, which made friend to become popular soon. He picked the game at Wesley and shone at cricket too, for the college. Almost a pioneer in the cause of hockey in the island, Myla captained the national as well as the club side for many years and was a short corner specialist, not forgetting as well his contribution as a cricketer for Tamil Union.

By his flamboyant you dare not get onto his wrong side on the field of play or off it, for he could prove to be belligerent but was quick to forgive and forget, his attitude was always reconciliatory. The Tamil Union which he served in different ways was his second home and who knows he may have desire to breathe his last there, and so he did, when the time came.

DN Tue July 29 2003

Cry babes

Comment by Dr. Elmo Rodrigopulle

The Australians could well be termed the cry babes of cricket. After the Caribbean tour where they played Four Test and Seven One-Day Internationals, they finished the tour and started the all too familiar cry that the tour was too long, too much cricket with a result of burn out and too tiring etc.

Mind you this was after they won the Test series 3-1 and the One-Day Series 4-3. When they were winning, there were no rumblings or grumblings. But when the Windies thrashed them in the remaining three one-dayers, the cry babe act began. If the complaint that they were playing too much cricket was to be accepted, then how come that they agreed to play off season. Should they not have used the off season to nurse their tired limbs and recover from burn out?

Instead they agree to play off season against lowly placed Bangladesh, beat them easily and now that the going is good no complaints.

The Aussie cricketers are wanting to have the cake and eat it. Skipper Stephen Waugh who is the most capped, most successful captain and who is now second in the list of Test century makers with 32, with Sunil Gavaskar in the lead with 34, has gone on record saying that the two new Test venues - Cairns and Darwin are as good as the best in Australia.

All that is well and good.

But the Aussies must not engage to please and play off season. True they have to honour their engagements, but to take Test countries to the outskirts or the woods of cricket should not be the idea. And the Sri Lankans should not have agreed to play their Two Test matches next year in Cairns and Darwin.

By bowing down to the Aussies, the Sri Lankans have dropped esteem. Now that the Lankans have fallen prey to the Aussies, there is no going back. It is the thousands of Sri Lankan cricket fans in Melbourne and Sydney who will miss seeing and cheering their heroes.

On the last tour when skipper Sanath Jayasuriya skipped the friendly in Melbourne the thousands of Lankans fans who crowded the MCG felt very bad and were thoroughly disappointed. Not all Lankans living in normal Test playing venues in Australia can make it to Cairns and Darwin to watch the Lankans.

Muru and Myla deserve it

The Tamil Union must be congratulated for deciding to honour their past stalwarts T. Murugaser and A. Mylvaganam, by having a gate and a stand in their honour. Both were top class sportsmen. Muru a cricketer and 'Myla' a hockey player who had no peer as a short corner specialist.

I had the good fortune of playing under Murugaser as a schoolboy when he captained the TU Daily News team in the late fifties.

A game I well remember was against the Bloomfielders at the then Colombo Oval. Bloomfield batting first made 141 with yours truly bowling leg spinners and googlies to capture 6 for 53. Tamil Union were in a bad way at 41 for 7, when Homer Titus joined 'Muru' to begin the rescue act. Titus made 41. Then Muru was involved in another good stand with S. Coomaraswamy (not Sathi) a former Zahirian to bring the TU an exciting win.

Murugaser played a captain's knock to remain unbeaten on 100 and lead his team to a memorable victory. After that game the Daily News ran the headline: Murugaser's century was match-winner. Muru later went on to serve the Cricket Board where his services were well received. When Muru went as manager with the 1983 World Cup Sri Lankan team to England I had the opportunity to cover the tour for the Times of Ceylon. The simple personality that he was, when I used to remind him about that century he used to smile and say: Yes. I remember that century that helped the side win the game'.

Myla was one if not the greatest short corner specialist the game has seen here or in Asia. No defenders rushing to stall the hit or the opposing goal keeper would relish when 'Myla' was taking the short corner. He hit it with such tremendous power that the ball rocketed into the board with the speed of lightning.

A game I well remember was the one between the Old Bens who were new to the big league - the Andriesz Shield - and the Tamil Union at the Army ground, Galle Face. The Bens conceded several short corners in their enthusiasm and it was a treat to watch Mylvaganam converting them with ease with drives that beat the onrushing defenders and goal keeper giving them no chance.

And this was when 'Myla' was in the twilight of his illustrious career. I was then doing the hockey rounds for the Times of Ceylon and the hockey critic at that time was former Features Editor of the Times, Subbiah Muttiah, who wrote the then popular column - 'Corner Flag'.

He wrote reams about Mylvaganam's prowess with the curved wand.