Dandeniya Hemachandra De Silva, the eldest of four brothers who played first-class club cricket in Sri Lanka, has died in Melbourne on Friday at the age of 81. Commonly known by his initials 'DH' or as 'Hema', he was well known for his discipline which he applied as captain of the Colombo Municipality and Nomads SC teams.
A right-hand opening batsman, DH was renowned for his astute captaincy where he went to the extent of testing the laws of the game. A product of Mahinda College, Galle, DH captained Peradeniya University and played for Sinhalese SC along with Anuruddha Polonowita and Lasantha Rodrigo, both of whom went onto represent their country in unofficial Tests.
The three of them left SSC when Nomads SC was formed in the 1960s and played an integral part in the club winning the division II title and being promoted to play in the division I Sara trophy tournament.
DH was charity commissioner at the Colombo Municipality and later became Municipal Commissioner of Kandy. It was while in Kandy where he started a tennis coaching clinic that he was attacked with a gun by a member of the insurgent group, the JVP, but fortunately for DH the gun didn't fire. He is known to have coached Sri Lanka cricketer Kumar Sangakkara and his sister at tennis.
Soon after, DH migrated to Australia where he spent the rest of his life. His son Mahinda Dandeniya was a national table tennis champion.
His younger brother Somachandra de Silva played Test cricket for Sri Lanka and later became chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket interim committee when Sri Lanka finished runner-up to India in the 2011 World Cup. His other two brothers were Premachandra de Silva who went onto play unofficial tests for Sri Lanka and Gunasiri de Silva.