Letter: Samaraweera bids farewell

By Thilan Samaraweera | March 7, 2013

The following letter by Thilan Samaraweera was handed to journalists and media organisations by Samaraweera upon announcing his retirement on March 6, 2013. It is republished here unedited.

Thilan Samaraweera retires from international cricket. © AFP

Dear Sirs,

Retirement from International Cricket

Having gone through, quite a long journey of twelve years of international cricket, I have decided to announce my retirement. It has always been a passion with me to strive for what I deserve and the improvement and confidence that was needed for this, never happened through coincidence, but through my self-styled resoluteness in getting to my goals through merit, which was throughout proven with my bat. Although I have not lost the power of my passion to make a comeback, my ethics of reasoning does not interest me to do so at this hour where the obvious focus should be to find a balance in the prospects we have for the future. Hence, with a sincere sense of appreciation, I gratefully wish to take this as the most opportune occasion to mention of the wide obligation I owe to all those who supported and guided me to what I am today.

My practice of worship, within the valued norms of my religion, has been the strength and confidence of mind and concentration, throughout life. Hence as a foremost priority, I respectfully and gratefully, offer my most revered homage to the Venerable Chief Incumbents and other Buddhist clergy of the sacred temples that I have been treading for this noble purpose.

Lying in pain and grief with melting hopes on a lonely bed, seriously wounded and deeply shaken in an unguarded hospital, following a brutal terrorist attack on our way for the second Test in Lahore, the greatest consolation of my life was, the call that was received from H.E. the President Mahinda Rajapakse that he will get me and the others home, fast and safe. A special flight, with Doctors and other medical staff together with the highest medical care that could be availed in makeshift style, brought me home in the best of comfort. Being so prompt and considerate, he looked into my recovery with great concern, regularly checking with me of my progress. In consultation with Dr Narendra Pinto who performed the surgery on my injury, through his Excellency’s personal choice, Dr Eliantha White was also sent to provide me, much needed additional care. This was kindness and concern at its best. It was a great gesture. I cannot and shall not ever forget this and most gratefully wish to extend my most sincere appreciation in the deepest sense to H.E. The President for his fatherly kindness. Most sincere thoughts of gratitude need to be thankfully extended to Doctors Narendra Pinto and Eliantha White along with their support staff, for the miracles they performed. I owe words of appreciation to the Chairman of Nawaloka Hospitals, Mr. Jayantha Dharmadasa, too, for all the special care that he facilitated.

My childhood strides at Asoka Vidyalaya and the entry to school cricket in a much matured shape at Ananda College, was really the foundation, from which I built and focused myself for many an achievement that dotted my career. The skills and ethics persistently inculcated by high profile coaches and teachers, had immense bearing on all my early success as a schoolboy and later in much wider spheres. I salute them most gratefully, for all the goodness they bestowed on me.

Taking a stint with Colts C.C., I started my club career and although my stay with them was not very long, I found friendly and supportive space with the players and the management to advance myself usefully to the challenges of upper range cricket. I am pleased to extend my sincere appreciation to the management, coaches, ground staff and the players of my time with Colts CC, for all the gains I had in their company.

Within a very short time, following my admission to the comfort of the well-equipped SSC. I speedily aligned with the inroads that were availed at this systematically managed club, for any player determined in getting a place in the National side. With an honourably disposed hierarchy at the controls of the Club and its cricket, honestly and committedly enhancing facilitations, on and off the field with great concern, it was simply fortune all the way for me. The coaches and the support staff too, assumed their responsibilities worthily in the highest interest of the players. Years of trust and warmth, grown within my colleagues of one and half decades, in this precious second home, I also enjoyed a true value addition, in the company of a range of distinguished senior members who had come to prominence through eminent walks in life. My cradle of international achievements, the prestigious and picturesque SSC, will ever remain a monument to me. A warm 'Thank you' to all my friends and the 'highly respected seniors'. Besides this broad praise the lone figure of room assistant P. D. Nimal is unforgettable. Other than all his responsibilities with the players, he did much more in attending on many of my personal tasks, for which I could not find the time within my busy cricket commitments.

Having taken a landmark start with a debut-century against India and thereafter carrying myself, with the National Team, along ten consecutive Test victories, was certainly a heartening experience which we managed to enhance further, by winning the Asian Championship as well. Being in service with the National team during Test victories on foreign soil against England, West Indies and South Africa in 2006, 2008 and 2011, respectively, certainly kindled a special kind of happiness in me. The obvious thrill of getting the winning run to beat New Zealand at the World Cup semi-final at R.Premadasa Stadium and the warm feeling of representing my country at the 2011-World Cup Final in Bombay, were extremely joyous moments in my life.

PhotoI am really glad to mention of my participation under past captains, Arjuna Ranatunga, Sanath Jayasooriya, Marvan Atapattu and Hashan Tilekerathna, whose efforts together with those of the other seniors, carried Sri Lanka to international recognition. I grasped many a lesson from them and for all the guidance and encouragement they extended in my interest, I shall remain grateful. I am really proud to claim my days in the company of legendary Muttiah Muralidharan and Chaminda Vas whose commitment and contribution had a huge impact on the cricket image of our country. Being on the field with Murali, at the time of his milestone of claiming his 800th Test wicket in Galle, to sum up his illustrious career as the world’s highest wicket taker, was a unique moment.

As those of a common era, I wish to take longer expressions to share my sentiments with Mahela, Kumar and Dilshan, under whom I enjoyed the game in a freer sense of satisfaction, yet with nothing less from my commitment. Growing almost together at Ananda and Nalanda, Mahela and I, showed promise in our early days, but even at that time he was rated by many as an accomplished batsman, whereas I was more a calculated accumulator and thus he wore the National cap much earlier. A calm listener and learner Mahela was one of the finest cricketers of all time and his brilliant century at the 2011-World Cup Finals, stands unforgettable. His tall order of international records, holds him above all others of the past. With exceptional expertise and patience inbuilt, he had an analytical stance which made him an outstanding captain. Rich in his own style of speech and polished manners, he stands tall among those needed for the betterment of the game. Besides cricket, I have been admiring his silent commitment for social service and wish him luck in all such endeavours.

Kumar was great, whether it was cricket or otherwise. He worked through his skill and discipline to make it to international cricket with a rare nature of dedication. Being ranked the best Test batsmen for quite a stretch of time, he passed the 10,000 run mark in Test cricket, within the shortest span to equal the record of Lara and his nine double centuries already, with space for a few more, would certainly place him in the highest slot on our records. He was efficient, effective and upright as a captain and did the most, for player-welfare. Kumar's righteousness in thought, refinement in conduct and fairness in deliverance, would certainly patronize a moral worth, in any sphere. His oratory has run to global fame and with his gorgeous personality, he is amply accomplished to hold, any responsible seat, for any worthy cause, in any part of the world. Travelling, seated next to each other in the team bus for twelve years, I may have taken the most from his interesting academic depth. Our family fellowship too have grown through the years, within pleasant social bonds. I thank Kumar and his family for all their kindness during our long association.

Dilshan too was a great player on his day and always did something out of the ordinary, even at difficult times, for an advantageous change for the team. In form, his flamboyant style was a treat even to us in the dressing room. His skill, as a batsman, bowler, fielder and wicket- keeper, was an absolute asset to any side. His contributions at times when it was most needed, rescued the team many a time.

Spearheaded by Malinga and Rangana, who have been fulfilling their part of responsibility, brilliantly, most of the others too, gave their best, in the highest interest of the team. I do not wish to make individual mention, but I am confident that, they will all continue in their good work for many more years, reaching records and recognition. My sincere wishes to all of them for continuous success and I am confident that they will work together with unity and effort.

All the international coaches, local coaches, managers, trainers, physiotherapists, masseurs and all other support staff, made it with praiseworthy commitment, to nurture me to proper shapes of skill and fitness, during my long and arduous run in international cricket. I thank all of them for the strain and toil, spent over me.

The media has often stretched its hand, for the greater good of cricket and cricketers. Journalist's view was always a priority to me. Whether praise or criticism, it had equal weight on me, to subject myself for correction, but the wide compliments they gave me at times of achievements, were absolutely soothing. I was not the outgoing type and only had thin links to the media, but the honourable gentlemen of this esteemed profession have penned with nobility, to seat the deserving in the slots they deserve. I am one such beneficiary. With my cap out and the bat raised high, I acknowledge their service, with my fullest tributes. I most sincerely wish the best of health, happiness for them, to justify the cause for merit based considerations, through to a longer future.

I need to mention of Mr. Charlie Austin and his staff for managing all my cricket affairs, so systematically and smoothly with unquestionable tidiness, over the years. Thank you Mr. Charlie Austin for a job well done.

My heartfelt greetings, to the warm and lively fans. Our achievements, fame or money, wouldn't have made any value, without your cheers and booing. May all you lovely people be blessed with the best of health and wealth to further your sentiments to the country and your people in sports. Thank you again.

Since my beloved father’s death, two and a half decades ago, it was my precious mother, sister Dilani and brothers Chamika and Dulip, who showered immense affection and care to make life safe and comfortable for me. My beloved wife Erandhathie was a rare source of inspiration and encouragement. Mounted with enormous responsibility, she together with my beautiful daughters Osuni and Sidhya, have given me a sweet home for all the happiness I seek, off my cricket. My wife's brother Bathiya and the parents, carry themselves caringly and closely in absolute oneness, in the interest of my family. My father's uncles Selwyn, Neville and all other relatives, too have combined into this lovely unit of family goodwill. My friends and well-wishers from many other walks, too had an active role among this charming array of people. I extend my warmest love to all of them from the deepest place of my heart.

I shall not forget that, much of my gains from cricket were a coincidence within a high and prosperous era for the game, where I only had to apply my skills and dedication to enjoy the comfort of the materialism attached to it. Alive to this reality, I shall live my future, through the values I aspire.


Tilan Samaraweera

© Island Cricket


Anonymous's picture

Thanks for the memories Thilan. Wish you all the very best

Confused's picture

Wow! Very moving, notwithstanding the dramatic prose. One of my all-time favourite cricketers who showed tremendous guts and courage in re-inventing his game so many times in order to qualify for selection.

Thank you Thilan for the memories and I hope that you are just as successful and happy in retirement.

Anonymous's picture

Well written farewell letter. Thank you Thilan for the entertainment. Our best wishes to you.

Cricket fan since 1975's picture
Member since:
12 October 2012
Last activity:
3 years 9 weeks

This was the good time for you to resign,atleast say thanks to sanath,,to get you for bangladesh sqaud fr few days,,you came to the squad when mahela,j was injured..otherwise there were no plan to take you to the squad..good for you to make your announcement speacially this period,coz you can get a good name and resign,,,but
Brainy srilankans know what you did in australia,,your performance was the main reason to lost the test series,we were expecting alot from you ,because you our test specialist,playing only test cricket for srilanka..you wer our vvs laxxman our dravid..but what you did in australia?..spoilt all..
Thats why thilan they dropped you?but selectors were good.they have catogarised you with the other senoir players as a A grade player....common thilan...we know your tricks...you thought then to resign ,to get a good name...now everybody not happy about sanths dececion...what a man you are thilan...domestic and international cricket are different..our fellow srilankans forget everything in seconds...

Observer's picture

Thilan we always loved you... the letter could have been a gem if you had added one line about the spectators and supporters....
Still, we wish you the very best!

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