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Former Sri Lanka wicketkeeper de Alwis dies at 52

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

January 13, 2013

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Former Sri Lanka wicketkeeper Guy de Alwis, 52, died on Saturday night after a battle with cancer. De Alwis is the fourth* Test cricketer from Sri Lanka to pass away after Sridharan Jeganathan, Anura Ranasinghe and Roshan Guneratne.

He represented Sri Lanka in 11 Tests and 31 ODIs from 1983 to 1988. De Alwis topped his country's batting averages in the 1983 World Cup with 167 runs at 55.66, including unbeaten half-centuries against Pakistan and England.

"When Guy felt pain in his stomach in the first week of November (2012) he underwent a biopsy test. It was then revealed that he had cancer in his pancreas," said Ken, de Alwis' brother. "The doctors said it was too late to do anything. Arjuna (Ranatunga) came to his help and through him we managed to seek ayurvedic treatment. He was under treatment till his death."

De Alwis, who like Ranatunga, played for the Sinhalese Sports Club, served in Sri Lanka Cricket's interim committee headed by the former captain in 2008. He was also a former chairman of selectors and secretary.

"Guy was not only a committed cricketer but a person who fought for justice," Ranatunga said. "As a selector he was not afraid to pick players on merit. As an administrator he was strongly against corruption and went to a great extent to try and eliminate it. He was one of the best wicketkeepers produced by Sri Lanka."

Standing six foot tall, de Alwis was a hard-hitting lower-order batsman and wicketkeeper for Sri Lanka during the infancy years when the country was fighting to find its feet as a Test nation.

Following regular wicketkeeper Mahes Goonatilleke's decision to go to South Africa on the rebel tour in 1982, de Alwis got a break in the Sri Lanka team that visited New Zealand in 1982-83. He and Amal Silva had a constant tussle for the wicketkeeper's position in the national side. De Alwis was superior behind the stumps although Silva edged him out on the batting front.

After his playing career, de Alwis was coach of the Sri Lanka women's team and later married one of the national women cricketers. They have two daughters aged ten and eight.

* 08:15 am GMT: This article, now amended, earlier referred to de Alwis as the third Test cricketer from Sri Lanka to pass away

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Posted by KingOwl on (January 16, 2013, 0:43 GMT)

When I read these tributes, I feel amazed at how we all seem to know many of the cricketers of our generation at a personal level. But then, SL is a small country and most of the cricketers those days came from a handful of colleges. Still, it amazes me because I doubt that it is common in other countries. Guy was always great to watch for his little cameos for SL. As a cricket administrator, he was a good, honest man - a rare breed indeed in SLC. RIP Guy!

Posted by N.Gooneratne on (January 15, 2013, 16:36 GMT)

Really sad to hear this news. We used to play soft ball cricket down Borupana Road, Ratmalana during our school days. He was such a great person. I played against him for the first time in a serious encounter at the 1979 STC vs Ananda match where he powered a great entertaining knock of 170 plus runs to the delight of a packed crowd at Mt Lavinia. Thereafter I had the privilege of watching him play in the 1983 WC - what a gifted cricketer! Guy, you will surely be missed.

Posted by ajithabey on (January 15, 2013, 10:19 GMT)

Thank you for your contribution to Sri Lankan cricket in general.You will be missed by all who knew you closely at School,Club and National level. Condolences go out to his wife and two young daughters. Guy,may you rest in peace.

Posted by Gloryof96 on (January 14, 2013, 15:59 GMT)

It was who's who of Sri Lankan crickets, what a distinguished gathering and a fitting send off to a legend of his era

We miss you Guy

Posted by   on (January 13, 2013, 22:27 GMT)

R.I.P. my friend will miss you very much.luv you heaps.

Posted by   on (January 13, 2013, 20:01 GMT)

Condolences to the family and friends of late Guy de Alwis. Remember him as a jovial Thomian cricketer who enjoyed his batting, especially at the Battle of the Blues. When he was a selector, adminsitrator and coach, he did his job well standing upright as much as he was behind wickets when playing. Never seen or heard him for any unwarranted incidents and in that I think he has lived his life well; but not an age to pass away. Very touching of Arjuna to come to his aid and express his views with which I am in total agreement.

Posted by ca2ca on (January 13, 2013, 12:33 GMT)

Another loss. One of the few who were genuinely concerned about SL cricket. I second yohandf1984 proposal. May peace be with you. Condolence to de Alwis family.

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