“THE APOLOGY IS IN” by Des Kelly

It is indeed a privilege to be writing this, on behalf of every Sri Lankan who knows & loves the game of cricket, in whichever form they prefer. It is doubly the “privilege” to be someone who, at the start of my life in Australia, got to shake the hand and actually “chat” with the greatest Cricketer who ever lived, and will always be the “greatest”, Sir Donald Bradman.

Globally, Cricket has been “the Sport” considered the most popular. Everyone who is anyone, has watched a game of Cricket, “somewhere”, it has been a game that has reaped benefits, too difficult to even contemplate, a game that is played everywhere, with “pol-athu” bats & cheap rubber or tennis balls, in the Ceylon I remember. On the other hand, huge “Cricket-Administrations” around the World, with the possible exemption of America, I think, have sought to make money, on the Sport generally known as

“The gentleman’s game”. THIS IS WHERE THE ROT SETS IN.

The apology is in, ladies, gentlemen & sports fanatics everywhere. As the former Captain of the Australian Cricket Team, Steve Smith has appeared on television in Australia, to tell the World about how sorry he was, for the decision he made, regarding the “ball-tampering” in South Africa. He did NOT have to do that, he has already been meted out his punishment by Cricket Australia & one of their legal-people could have been asked to make the apology on behalf of Steve, but, no, HE did the crime & he will “do the time”, & has been, in my opinion, brave enough to face the public, emotionally raw, as it was. This is a sure sign that this very young, highly talented Australian Cricketer, is already ” growing-up, my ONLY criticism of this “Captain”. Steve Smith, superb Cricketer, though he was, was TOO young to   to be designated as the Captain of the “Side”.

To make a long story short, these three young Aussie Cricketers have copped a pretty decent punishment for a very silly decision to tamper with this cricket ball. This should NEVER have happened but then, years ago, one of the great Chappell brothers “bowled” an underarm ball at a New Zealander for one, simple reason. Australia wanted to WIN that match. It was not illegal to do it, Young Chappell did not tamper with the ball, his older brother who was the Captain of the team, at the time “ordered” his younger brother NOT TO risk “Rotator-cuff” syndrome and to do this, the final delivery of the Aussie squad was “underarm”. The reason?, For a long time, since the “Gentleman’s Game” of Cricketing Greats like Bradman & Benaud, (who also wanted Australia to win, of course), but were wise & experienced enough to know that this was not possible with every match played. Nowadays, a completely different story. It seems that they MUST WIN every game, no matter at what cost.

Apart from these three young Aussie Cricketers, the rest of the team, the “extras”, the “Coach”, & right up to the higher echelons of Cricket-Australia, were deemed blameless. “We did not know what the hell was going on out there”!, was the cry. What a lot of bull-dust. EVERYONE DID.

Cricket-Australia should STOP every “team” in the middle of their weekly training sessions, once a bloody week, every week to bring the players “in” and lecture them on the “social” qualities of the game. Spend an hour or two explaining that they cannot expect to win every game they are rostered to play in. “Do your bloody best, to win, but if you lose, try to understand that those other blokes were better than you, on the day”. All this “sledging” & “dirty looks” at opposing players should stop forthwith. Opposing teams are not always going to “smile & nod” back, as the Sri Lankan team does, (because they don’t understand what you say), others will react differently, and we are not out there to start a bloody war, we are out there to play a game of Cricket.Australia MUST realize that, although they are a great cricket team, there are others out there who are just as great as they are. “A fair go” is another popular Aussie saying, &, this being the case, let us give these three guys, a fair-bloody go, right ?.

Steve Smith, as the previous Captain of the team, has come out to publicly apologise for the ball-tampering episode that has COST him so very much already, as with Garner & Bancroft as well. NONE OF THEM ARE CRIMINALS

They have not committed any crime, whatsoever, just been “silly boys” to do what they did, not expecting to be caught out. Let us not hoot & jeer them, everytime we see them.

These are idiots who do this & my advice to them would be

“If you think you are that bloody perfect, go, look in a mirror & it will tell you exactly the same thing I have said. You are an idiot, mate, so don’t go throwing stones if you live in a glass-house. Leave these three Cricketers alone, now. Let them serve their punishment & come back as wiser Men.


Desmond Kelly

Star of eLanka


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by Bernard VanCuylenburg.

During the colonial period of the lat 1930’s, a tea plantation in the Madulkelle district Relugas Estate, was the place where what appeared to be a simple act of insubordination by an assistant superintendent, was to have far reaching consequences and wider ramifications not only for the company concerned, but for the colonial government of the time and a left leaning socialist political party called the “Lanka Sama Samaja Party”, (The Lanka Socialist Party) popularly known as the LSSP. The “David” in this case was a young assistant superintendent named Mark Bracegirdle and the “Goliath” was the government of the day – at first glance an uneven match.

The Superintendent of this particular estate Mr.H.D.Thomas was badly in need of an assistant, and he petitioned the company accordingly. As was the modus operandum of the day, a young Englishman Mark Bracegirdle was recruited from overseas and after he arrived in Ceylon and spent two days at the Agency House, where the director of tea inducted him into what a planter’s duties entailed. He was then sent to another estate for a stint of ‘creeping’. When he had completed his creeping to the satisfaction of the superintendent of that estate and the company, he finally arrived to take up duties at Relugas estate in Madulkelle to the relief of the superintendent.

Remember his name well. It is a name that figured prominently not only in the tea industry of that period, but also in political, business and government circles. Mark Bracegirdle did not come from England, though he was English in origin. He came from Australia ! His mother and he emigrated to Australia from England in 1925 and when he grew up he trained as a farmer. He also joined the Australian Young Communist League — As history will show, his political leanings were to have a dramatic impact on his life in Ceylon. Settling in well, Bracegirdle went to work with vim, vigour and a hearty dose of enthusiasm. He got his hands dirty often as he did not believe in giving instructions and supervising. He would prune,weed, move stones in new clearings, lop trees, and sometimes pluck to the amusement of the women pluckers, and physically was

hyper active ! He was particularly sympathetic to complaints by the labourers, especially if such complaints were about their line rooms whenever repairs were needed. He was always accessible, and before long became the idol or pin up boy of the entire labour force ! He even visited the line rooms of the labour and shared their meals with them.

Mr.Thomas was aghast ! This was something unheard of in the days when the English Planters ruled their estates like some petty fiefdom and “never the twain would meet”, with apologies to Mark Twain. Meanwhile, he kept an eagle eye on Bracegirdle’s progress and concluded that although he was an exemplary worker and a cut above the rest as far as Assistant Superintendents were concerned, his attitude and behaviour to the established norms of the social structure were out of character. He had no idea of the mini revolution looming on the horizon which would rock this estate to its very roots !!

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The Story Behind Ceylon’s Arrack

The etymology of the word ‘arrack’ has always left room for some doubt ‒ partly because it has been around for a very long time. What’s more, the word is also used in different parts of South and Southeast Asia, to describe local beverages made from the fermented sap from various sources ‒ fruit, sugarcane, grain etc. ‒ depending on the country in question. In Sri Lanka, ‘arrack’ is the much-loved local drink, distilled from the sap of the coconut flower.

Diverse Origins

The Toddy Tappers of Sri Lanka – believed by some to be the inventors of Ceylon arrack, Sri Lanka’s much-loved local beverage.

Indian philologers believed the name derived from the areca nut, a palm seed originating from India that was used in the production of multiple varieties of arrack. The Arabs, too, meanwhile, claim credit for the invention of arrack, stating that the word arrack was derived from the Arabic word araq, which translates to ‘perspiration’ in English. Others believe that Sri Lankans were the creators of arrack, which was discovered when tapping for toddy; thus, the word arrack was believed to have derived from the Sinhalese word arrakku. The difference between arrack and toddy lies in the production process, as toddy is converted to arrack when it undergoes distillation. Whatever the origins of this beverage may be, Sri Lanka has a rich history of tapping for toddy and today Sri Lanka is the main palm sap-based arrack exporter in the world. 

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