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Abu’s invaluable service to our cricket

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By the sad demise of Abu Fuard at the age of 75, the sporting and Muslim fraternity in Sri Lanka has lost a distinguished elder statesman.
Abu Fuard was the son of A.M. Fuard, a fine cricketer during his days, who led the Wesley College team in 1915.
Abu was a devoted and God-fearing Muslim, believing and acting more in the true spirit of Islam. He followed the maxim ‘trust in God, but tie the camel securely.’ He passed away on Saturday, July 28 and his Janaza took place on Sunday at the Kuppiyawatte Muslim Burial grounds. The crowd that attended his funeral was ample testimony to his popularity. He leaves his wife Fouzia who looked after him from the day he fell ill in 1997.

I had a close association with him in the field of cricket, whenever he comes to Kandy and it was with me that he moved closely. I gave him a big hand when he was in charge of the re-development of the Asgiriya Stadium. The others who were closely associated with him in Kandy were Dr. CDL Fernando, Dr. SM Uduwela, ZM Jahuffer, Deva Amunugama, Alex Lazarus and my uncle ME Marikar who played along with Abu for Moors.
Late Abu’s service to Sri Lanka cricket was invaluable. Few forget the glorious moments of Sri Lanka cricket in the past but few remember the part played by the officials for the upliftment of the game in this country.

September 11, 1985, when Sri Lanka recorded their maiden Test victory against India at the P. Saravanamuttu Stadium it was the finest moment for Abu who was the chairman of the National Selection Committee which he served for nearly a decade. When Sri Lanka won the first Test, he was the team manager of the national side. He was one of the best administrators in the field of cricket at that time.

When he was in office he was behind a lot of good work in refurbishing the indoor cricket nets and several other modern cricket stadiums such as the Asgiriya International Stadium owned by Trinity College and Khettarama Stadium now called the R. Premadasa Stadium. He also gave a helping hand to develop the Welagedra Stadium; the first cricket game to be played there was between Pakistan and Sri Lanka a three day game after development.

Abu opened the door for every cricketer from every nook and corner of the country. He was an old Wesleyite and made his first class debut for Ceylon against Tamil Nadu in the Gopalan Trophy in 1956.  He was a good right hand opening batsman and a fine off spinner.  He was a member of the Ceylon team, when the country achieved its first unofficial Test victory over India in 1964 and played a major role in defeating Pakistan for the first time under the captaincy of Michael Tissera the same year.  Abu first played for Moors SC and then switched to Colts Cricket Club in 1953 and later joined CCC in 1967.  He has played in 19 first class matches scored 409 runs and claimed 51 wickets.  His best bowling figures were 6 for 31 against Joe Lister’s International XI in 1968 in Colombo.  He also captured 4 for 61 in a one-day game against Australia.

Abu gave up playing first-class cricket in 1969 and began to serve the Board of Control for cricket in Sri Lanka now known as Sri Lanka Cricket. From 1974, as a member of the Executive Committee.  
It was Abu who introduced late Minister Gamini Dissanayke to take over the Cricket Board presidency  after that we received Test status. Later Abu brought in Minister Lakshman Jayakody as President. Earlier he had brought Dr. NM Perera. He gave a big hand to put up the Cricket headquarters.
“WaInna Lillahi, wa Inna Illahi Rajoon”.

Last modified on Tuesday, 19 August 2014 15:25

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