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11 June 1996

`Sunday Times` honours Aravinda de Silva

By Ivan Corea

Aravinda de Silva, Sri Lanka`s World Cup hero who hit a scintil- lating century in the finals against Australia has been honoured by the "Sunday Times" of London in their 1,000 Makers of Sport. The `Sunday Times` featured the world`s top sportsmen and women - Aravinda was one of the few Asian sports personalities to make it into this distinguished band of people.

The `Sunday Times` of London wrote: ARAVINDA DE SILVA, cricketer, Sri Lanka, born 1965.

Aravinda de Silva hit a match winning century in the 1996 World Cup final, placing himself on the same pedestal as Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards, similar heroes in the first two finals. This was a dominant innings because he never appeared in the slightest hurry, his mastery of stroke and placement pushing his team along at six runs an over, even against the wizardry of Shane Warne.

Afterwards he said that, as one of the senior players, he had to perform at his best in the biggest match of his life. True, he and Arjuna Ranatunga were approaching their 200th one-day inter- national, but the notion that the senior figures must per- form was an antidote to the all-pervading "pressure" so beloved an excuse by those who fail.

Small of stature but powerfully built, he first appeared as a wristy teenager. As his style and personality developed he com- municated his joy in the game, graciousness in victory or defeat and his determination to encourage others to realise their poten- tial. In his season at Kent he helped revive the career of the youngest Cowdrey, Graham; de Silva could become one of the great coaches of the next century......"

The `Sunday Times` accolade was written by Robin Marlar who was converted to the cause of Sri Lankan cricket when Aravinda de Silva led an unofficial tour of the UK in 1990. World Cup team members - Sanath Jayasuriya, Hashan Tillekeratne, Asanka Gurusinghe, Pramodya Wickremasinghe toured the UK with de Silva.

Aravinda de Silva was part of the recent tour of the UK of the Sri Lankan cricketers who were here in their unofficial capacity to play as the Sri Lankan Cavaliers.

Source :: Daily News (http.//www.lanka.net)