Micheal Tissera one of the finest gentleman cricketers – by Sunil Thenabadu (sports editor – eLanka)
Photo source: island.lk
On the 3rd December as the second Test between Sri Lanka and West Indies comes to a conclusion if goes on to day five, Michael Tissera will be in Galle to give away Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne a trophy that bears his name and that of West Indies legend Sir Garry Sobers. Notwithstanding of the outcome of the second Test, Sri Lanka will retain the Sobers-Tissera Trophy having won the first Test. West Indies can only square the series and as the holders of the trophy hence in allits probability Sri Lanka will preserve the title.
Sri Lanka’s current cricketers will do well to pick the brains of Tissera, an iconic figure in our game. He played the game at a time when the sport was not had dealt with money, perks that the current generation is relishing, because of men like Tissera, Anura Tennekoon and many others of their group who had left a strong base for the sport. Developed on that robust base is the brand name called Sri Lankan cricket.
Micheal Tissera acknowledges the game while not taking the values of cricket to his personal life and to his company. That’s why he is still so effective. These are influences that are lacking in some young players for whom cricket is their profession , nothing beyond it. Not just players, but there are many of us who make a living out of cricket, but do we take principles of the game beyond our working spaces? That’s the best thing that we can learn from Tissera – respect the game, value it, stay modest.
Aptitude itself is a great boon and it is vital to acknowledge it. That’s why Tissera is unique role prototype.
A meticulous man, he has set the guidelines which others have merely observed. His indisputable reliability as Chairman of Selectors guaranteed fair play in team selections which politicians dared not contest him.
When Tissera took over as Chairman of Selectors in 2002, Aravinda de Silva had faded away. His cricket was over. He was heavily focusing on his business. But having realized that Aravinda still had much to offer the game, he threw down a challenge to Aravinda. If you are concerned, the number four position of the national cricket team is all yours. But on one condition. ‘You are overweight, and you need to get fitter.’ Aravinda loves those challenges. He knew he had cricket in him , seemingly in two months he lost 15 kilos. A lot of running around Independence Square with no fancy stuff like lamb, pork sausages, cakes and of course his favourite Kandos.
On his comeback, he was a surprise. Aravinda produced a double hundred in his last Test match, he was the star as Sri Lanka reached the finals of the Champions Trophy in 2002 beating Australia in the semis. Basically, he held the team on his shoulders during the 2003 World Cup in South Africa,making runs on those bouncy tracks was child’s play for Aravinda, Tissera knew the man better than many others. Some of those knocks were out of this world. They are the matter that you dream of. All that was feasible because of Tissera. He gave Aravinda a second chance. Every young man deserves a second chance. Had Tissera been managing the Sri Lankan cricket team, Kusal Mendis would have been like Babar Azam of Pakistan leading Sri if not serving a suspension.
Tissera’s two-year tenure as the Manager of the national cricket team was highly effective. Tom Moody was the Head Coach and the team achieved new heights. England were thrashed 5-0 in their own backyard in 2006 and the team won many Tests overseas. It all climaxed with Sri Lanka reaching the finals of the 2007 World Cup.
That team had some tricky customers. Tissera’s brilliant man management skills saw there was smooth cruising. Moody can be merciless, like a typical Aussie. You needed the calm head of Tissera to ensure that things did not get out of hand. Well, they did get out of hand at certain points, but no one spilled the beans. What happened on tour, stayed on tour. None dared leaking information.
after one of the iconic characters of our game. It takes one great man to respect another.Tissera is tough when he needs to be, but he is also a father figure when players need assistance. Straight out of school when Sanath Jayasuriya from Matara ended up at CCC it is persons like Tissera who looked after him. He has done much more to help up and coming players. All noiselessly though.
Good on Sidath Wettimuny as President of Sri Lanka Cricket for naming this trophy in the names of Micheal Tissera and Sir Garfield Sobers.