Sri Lanka news February 21, 2012

Commentator Ranil Abeynaike dies


Ranil Abeynaike, the Sri Lankan commentator and former first-class cricketer, has died in hospital in Colombo after a heart attack. He was 57.

Abeynaike played 14 first-class matches and six List A games for Bedfordshire and Sinhalese Sports Club between 1973 and 1990. He was better known for his work as a television commentator, though, and completed 25 years in the profession during the second Test between Sri Lanka and West Indies at the Premadasa Stadium in November 2010.

A left-arm spinner from St Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia, whom he captained in 1973, Abeynaike was also a qualified cricket coach and curator. He played for Sri Lanka in the unofficial Test against Tony Greig's MCC side in 1977 and played minor county cricket in England. He returned to Sri Lanka to play matches for the Sri Lanka Board President's XI against West Indies (1979) and Australia (1983).

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  • Manilka on February 24, 2012, 17:05 GMT

    Ranil was fearless. At age 11 to my 17, he would play field hockey as full-back and more often than not, stop an advancing forward by using guile and good technique. He extended this to the cricket field where he excelled. A dimunitive presence with a big heart and loads of God-given talent. No mention though of his cricketing years in Australia. I met Ranil recently at the SSC and talked to him about those days on the "Big Club Grounds" at Mouny. I liked llistening to Ranil's commentary and his intelligent and cogent comments. His voice is stilled but his memory will remain for his many friends. A great loss and my condolences to his siblings and family. MANILKA WIJESOORIYA.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    My condolences to ranil abenayake's family. One of SL's greatest commentators. A BIG LOSS TO CRICKET AND CRICKET LOVERS. GOD JESUS WILL GUIDE RANIL ABENAYKE FAMILY.

  • Raj on February 23, 2012, 22:00 GMT

    My first coach!! Told me how to grip the cricket ball and hold the bat while I was at SSC. What a shame. Super nice coach. Never really said anything negative.

  • vigi on February 23, 2012, 14:33 GMT

    My condolences to ranil abenayake's family. One of SL's greatest commentators

  • aliyar on February 23, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    We miss your soft voice Ranil. our deepest sympathies for his loved ones

  • Dummy4 on February 23, 2012, 11:40 GMT

    It was with deep shock that I received this sad news from a mutual friend of ours this morning.I have known Ranil from around 10 years of age and we played cricket together at STC from under 14 to first eleven in 1972/73 forming a deadly spin bowling trio along with Ravi Abeywardena capturing over 200 wickets combined in about 10 to 12 matches enabling STC to become the Champion School Cricket team in 1973.and then at the SSC in an unbroken partnership for many many years.We enjoyed his company,his wit and humour off the field reminicing of, on field situations that he narrated in lighter vein to howls of laughter. He went on to give a much needed fillip to the art of commentaries with great passion and fulfilled his ultimate dream of becoming a reputed commentator travelling around the cricketing globe.We will miss you Ranil and thank you for the wonderful times we spent together at STC and the SSC in the years gone by. My heartfelt condolences goes to his wife Roshika and his family.

  • Dummy4 on February 23, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    R.I.P Mr Ranil. one of few commentators we had ever.

  • Sampath on February 23, 2012, 4:50 GMT

    RIP Mr.Abeynaike..You were the only courage's srilankan voice in the vastly western worshiped & dominated commentary boxes !!

  • Mike on February 23, 2012, 1:38 GMT

    I don't think people realize what an enormous loss it is to lose Ranil Abeynaike. Hands down he has been the best commentator Sri Lanka has ever produced. It was very evident of his knowledge about Cricketing theory, strategy, and always made the relevant analogies. He wasn't the commentator who merely made comments for the sake of making a comment like ..."here's the batsman batting...and the bowler is bowling." He was the only commentator who actually made sense and never embarrassed himself! His English was superb and so was his delivery. Guys like Russell Arnold ought to take notes from this man on delivery, relevance, and making it fun for the viewer. Ranil championed SL Cricket and often spoke of players strengths. He was very knowledgeable about most cricketers and had great insight into players histories and statistics. He was Sri Lanka's Bob Costa. This loss is tremendous, and I will certainly miss him.

  • Philip on February 22, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    A big loss to cricket and cricket lovers. A respected and articulate commentator and enjoyed his comments and input. I remember him during schooling days and followed the Ceylon Schools cricket too. I am an old Wesleyite and come virtually from the same age group and do remember him captaining the Thomian team. A very good all rounder too. Surrey

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