Roshan Mahanama,Past Sri Lankan Captain & Current ICC Match Referee
Tribute to Athula
It is with mixed feelings that I record some thoughts about my dear friend and my former Opening Partner Athula – a feeling of happiness as I consider it a privilege to have been a contemporary of his at club and national levels.
If I say Athula had an outstanding cricket career at every level that he played, it would be the understatement of the year. On the contrary, he was a cricketer par excellence and a great Sportsman in every sense of the word. He was a dashing batsman who commanded great respect and instilled fear among some of the great bowlers of our time. When Athula was around one could expect virtual fireworks, as the ball would flow to all parts of the ground through immaculate stroke play. He was a dashing Cricketer who could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. His contribution to Cricket spanning over 2 decades is noteworthy
It was a privilege to have known him as he is a dependable friend, rational and consistent in his thinking. He was a great team man, who always placed his team and country above his own self.
His knowledge of the game is vast and he never hesitated to share his experiences or offer advice to the younger players and even his peers when the occasion demanded. During my Cricket career there were many times when I was driven into areas of despondency. Many are the occasions during such situations when Athula with great maturity and experience, encouraged me and offered me valuable advice. I am very thankful to him for his selfless assistance despite having been even competitors for the opening slot.
Sri Lanka can certainly be proud of having produced such a great cricketer of the caliber of Athula. He always displayed a high sense of discipline and sportsmanship on and off the field. Although, he retired from playing International Cricket prematurely, it is evident that he will play a major role in the Game in the capacity of a Coach, which augurs well for the Game of Cricket. He has a wealth of experience which young Cricketers of today would find invaluable.