Mervyn Rodrigo was a fine cricketer and athlete-by Upananda Jayasundera
Mervyn Rodrigo, former Outstation Schoolboy Cricketer produced by St. Sylvesters’ College, Kandy is a rare person who was equally good in sports as well as studies and he became a graduate in Science at the University of Peradeniya.
He was able to score five centuries and among them are against Carey College, Colombo, Maliyadewa College, Kurunegala and St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota, hence he was selected as the first Outstations Schoolboy cricketer. He started his cricket career at the age of 14 years under the coaching of Robert Wright and Chandra de Silva and he had the opportunity to captain the School Cricket team along with Maithri Rajapakse, Jagath Wijesekera (who became Doctors in Medicine later on) Neville Herathge, Hinton Karunathillake and Jerry Alexander to name a few.
He was also an outstanding athlete who started his athletic career at the age of 13 years and won the Championship in all Age Groups and his Coaches were Bobby Jayaweera and Captain Wijekoon. He set a record in Triple Jump at the Public Schools Meet in the Sixties and that record remained for a long time and he toured Australia with the National Schools team under P.Gaminiratne and scored a half century against the Western Australian combined Schools team.
He continued Athletics along with Cricket in his University career and became The Best Athlete at the Freshers’ Meet and also became the Best Sportsman in his final year in the University Mervyn Rodrigo played cricket along with Cyril Ernest, Ranjith Boyagoda, C.Balakrishnan and Sugi Rajaratnam to name a few.He also participated in the All India Inter University Cricket tournament. After his University career he was employed in the Mercantile Sector as an Executive and ended up as a Director of a Company.
He told this Correspondent that there is a lot of talent in the outstation Schools and Sri Lanka Cricket should give all possible assistance towards the development of the game in these schools.
He said that another aspect seen in our present National Level Cricket is that while we have very talented Batsmen, we do not have match winning bowlers (after Murali, Vaz and Malinga) and as such we should concentrate on developing good bowlers from School level. Every young Sportsman should take an example from Mervyn Rodrigo.