Fairlie Dalpathado 1924-2010 January 9, 2010

Fairlie Dalpathado dies aged 85

Fairlie Dalpathado, a successful allrounder for St Joseph's College and Ceylon, as it was then known, has died at the age of 85 at his residence in Kirillapone. He was buried according to his wishes within 24 hours by his family.

As a player, Dalpathado excelled for his alma mater and later for Sinhalese Sports Club and then All-Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was then known as). He dominated in a post-war era where cricketers of his caliber were hard to come by. Dalpathado is best remembered for leading the unbeaten St Joseph's side against a Combined Schools team led by Vernon Prins of St Thomas', which included eight captains and nine centurions, in 1943. In this historic encounter Dalpathado contributed 59 with the bat and then bundled out the strong Combined Schools side for a mere 35, capturing 6 for 17 with his right-arm fast-medium deliveries. However, the organizers refused permission for St Joseph's to enforce the follow-on fearing an early finish to the match before the chief guest Governor of Ceylon Sir Jeffery Layton arrived.

Dalpathado moved to SSC to display his all-round skills and in 1949 made his debut for Ceylon under the captaincy of Derrick de Saram against a West Indian side led by John Goddard. He also represented his country under the leadership of Malcolm Spittel against Freddie Brown's Englishmen and toured Pakistan with the Ceylon team led by Sargo Jayawickrama in the 1950s. He was at the time regarded as the leading allrounder in Sri Lanka.

Even at the age of 60 he showed that he had not lost any of his touch as a bowler when he took eight wickets for Chilaw Marians (he was born in Chilaw) against Wattala Antonians in a division III cricket match. Dalpathado turned to coaching to pass on his valuable experience to future St Joseph's players. He coached his school on three different occasions - in 1949 for a year, from 1965-73 and from 1975-88. During his 20-year tenure as coach, Dalapathado produced four champion sides and five outstanding captains in Rohan Weerakkody, Ashley de Silva, Nirmalal Perera, Jeevaka Candappa and Jonathan Alles.

Dalpathado also excelled at tennis taught him by his father. He worked at the Tea Control Department and retired at Tea Small Holdings as assistant manager. He is survived by his Indian-born wife Therese Abraham whom he met during one of his tennis tournaments to India and son and two daughters.