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June 9, 2013
Umpire Kandiah Francis, who officiated in Sri Lanka's inaugural Test match against England at the P Sara Oval in February 1982, died on Sunday in hospital after losing his battle against diabetes. As a result of the illness, Francis, 73, had to have both his legs amputated below the knee.
Francis was a member of the ICC international panel of umpires and officiated in 25 Tests between 1982 and 1999, and 56 ODIs in that period which included two World Cups in 1996 and 1999.
He started his career as a railway guard and played football and cricket for the Ceylon Government Railway in the Government Services tournaments for 40 years.
Reflecting back over the years, Francis once said, "Because of cricket I am known today in Sri Lanka and sometimes outside the country. If not for cricket I would have been an ordinary guard in the Railway and would have been a non-entity, nobody would have known me. Cricket has given me so much that I was prepared to undergo everything."
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But you can't expect a turnaround unless pitches, umpiring and practice facilities are simultaneously improved