Monday, 28 April 2014 00:00
Former Nomads Cricket Captain Dandeniyage Hemachandra De Silva (popularly known as DH in the cricketing circles) passed away in Melbourne Australia on 25 April 2014 after suffering from a brief Illness. He was 82 years old at the time of passing. ‘DH’ played and captained Nomads Cricket Club for many years during 1960s to mid-1970. His vision was to ‘raise the standard of sport and to get wider participation especially of the less privileged classes of society’. Hailed from Galle, he went on to captain Mahinda College. Then captaining the ‘All Varsity’ team in the Sara Trophy Tournament, he had the distinction of toppling reputed clubs such as the SSC – but his greatest achievement was to lead Nomads as Sara Trophy Champions twice during 1960s and early 1970s. DH also represented Sri Lanka at representative Board level, where he excelled. Besides Cricket, he was instrumental in coaching and producing leading Tennis Champions nationally.
DH was a graduate from University of Peradeniya, and served as the Charity Commissioner of Colombo and as the Municipal Commissioner of Kandy during mid to late 1970s. He also served in the Executive Committee of the cricket Board in 1974 as well as a member of the Selection Committee in 1976. Kumar Sangakkara was one of his precious finds during late 1980s where, he spotted and coached young Sangakkara during his early years. DH made a lasting impression in Sangakkara’s progress to the extent that, Sangakkara made a reference to him in his 2011 ‘MCC Cricket of Spirit Cowdrey Lecture’.
Cricket was in the ‘Blood’ of De Silva family where his brothers ‘DP’ (leading batsmen in mid-1960s) and ‘DS’ (leading Leg-spinner in the late 1970s and 1980s) both represented Sri Lanka Cricket with distinction. The latter, D.S. De Silva went on to become the Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket during 2008 – 2011.
He was a man born to lead. His dedication to sport was unwavering. His vision was masterly. He threw himself in to his sporting tasks with renewed zeal and vigour. DH was a sportsman par excellence. He is no more.