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Cricket fraternity mourns Bandula Warnapura's demise

Bengaluru, October 19: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has joined the cricket fraternity in mourning the death of Sri Lanka's first Test captain Bandula Warnapura, who passed away at the age of 68 on Monday (October 18) after a brief illness.

Warnapura had his right leg amputated earlier this month after being diagnosed with high sugar levels, which hindered his blood circulation, according to local media reports.

Born in 1953, Warnapura played 12 One-day Internationals and four Tests from 1975-1982 including the 1975 and 1979 ICC Men's Cricket World Cups.

The Sri Lankan cricketers wore a black arm band before their ICC T20 World Cup 2021 Qualifier tie against Namibia in Abu Dhabi on Monday, while the ICC also paid a tribute with a two minutes silence before the start of play at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Bandu as he was popularly known, played a leadership role in developing cricket in Asia starting at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) as Senior Manager Operations and later joined the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) as Development manager from 2007 to 2015.

He then joined the ICC in the same role and retired in 2017, where he achieved some of his biggest contributions to cricket, supporting a number of Associate Members and developing the game around the world.

ICC Acting Chief Executive, Geoff Allardice said: "We're deeply saddened to hear the passing of Bandula, he achieved many things in cricket, not just as his time as Sri Lanka captain, but also as a former colleague at the ICC. His service to the game in Asia cannot be underestimated, our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time."

Former Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara paid rich tributes to Warnapura

"Deeply saddened by the passing away of Bandula Warnapura. He did immense service to Sri Lankan and Asian cricket as a player and an administrator. It was such a joy to chat to him on everything cricket. A good and gentle man. We will miss him. Our thoughts are with his loved ones," Sangakkara tweeted.

SLC also joined the cricket community in mourning their first Test captain's demise.

"Sri Lanka Cricket is deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of Bandula Warnapura, Sri Lanka's first Test Captain. We wish to express our condolences to the family at this difficult time on behalf of Sri Lanka's Cricketing fraternity," SLC tweeted from their official handle.

An opening batsman with a solid technique, Warnapura was also a capable medium-pace bowler.

Not only did he lead the Sri Lankan side in its maiden Test match in February 1982 against England, but he also faced the first ball and scored the first run for the island nation.

He also achieved the rare record of opening the batting and opening the bowling (second innings) in the same game.

Always a sentimental, Warnapura was handed a life ban from Sri Lankan cricket after he decided to tour apartheid South Africa with a rebel team in 1982-83.

He later served as the national team's coach as well as an administrator at SLC.

(With inputs from ICC Media and other Agencies)

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Story first published: Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 9:57 [IST]
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