Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka (Image Credit: Twitter)

The Sri Lankan national side will be wearing black armbands in their T20 World Cup encounter versus Namibia to pay tribute to Sri Lanka’s first Test captain, Bandula Warnapura, who passed away on Monday (October 18).

Sri Lanka will take on Namibia in their first match of the tournament in Abu Dhabi on Monday evening. The Island nation have to first qualify from the Round 1 stage to enter the Super 12 stage. After that, they are grouped along with Namibia, Ireland, and the Netherlands; the top two teams from the group proceed to the Super 12 phase.

Bandula Warnapura
Bandula Warnapura. Image-Getty

Sri Lanka Cricket is deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of Bandula Warnapura

Warnapura, who led Sri Lanka in their maiden Test against England in 1982, died while receiving treatment in a private hospital. The 68-year-old played four Tests and 12 ODIs for Sri Lanka.

“Sri Lanka Cricket is deeply saddened to learn of the passing away of Bandula Warnapura, Sri Lanka’s first Test captain,” the board said in a release.

“We wish to express our condolences to the family at this difficult time on behalf of Sri Lanka’s cricketing fraternity,” the release added.

Bandula Warnapura faced Sri Lanka’s first delivery and scored their first run in Test cricket. In that game, he also achieved the rare record of opening the batting and opening the bowling (second innings) in the same Test match. Warnapura soon decided to tour South Africa with the rebel side.

Bandula Warnapura
Bandula Warnapura faces the first ball from Bob Willis in the 1982 Sri Lanka-England Test. Image-Wisden Cricket Monthly

Warnapura made his first-class debut against the Indian Universities in 1970. He made his ODI debut in the 1975 World Cup against the West Indies at Old Trafford. In his next game, he scored a quick 39-ball 31 against the fearsome pace pair of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson.

In the 1979 World Cup, he captained Sri Lanka to a famous victory against India. The former opener notched up his highest ODI score of 77 versus Pakistan in the 1981-82 season, but it went in vain as Sri Lanka suffered an eight-wicket loss.

After retiring, he served as the coach of the Sri Lankan set-up and then went on to become the Director of Coaching.

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