Cricket writing maverick Elmo Rodrigopulle crosses the line of no return | Daily News

Cricket writing maverick Elmo Rodrigopulle crosses the line of no return

The last of the active veteran heavyweights of sports journalism in Sri Lanka, Elmo Rodrigopulle, passed away yesterday following a brief illness just two days after his 80th birthday

Elmo, like the rest of his contemporaries only two of whom TMK Samat and AC de Silva are spending quiet retirements, was a man in his own right who also graced the playing fields and took his experiences into the media sphere where he became a brand name for more than one reason for more than half a century.

He was unstoppable in whatever he did in the field of journalism and became famous for his columns where he showered both praise and criticism on individuals and organisations and in the process had to put up with the whims and fancies of quite a few people who also disagreed with his thoughts and views.

But Elmo and the sports media in Sri Lanka were inseparable ever since he first entered the Press on board the Times of Ceylon after captaining his school St. Benedict's College in 1960 as a leg spin bowler and then went on to play for Tamil Union, the Burgher Recreation Club (BRC) and Saracens in the Sara Trophy domestic tournament when the decency and norms of cricket were well respected and players enjoyed what they did.

He was also one of the few Mediamen in the country who padded up or wore the jersey to feature in national representation against overseas visiting teams which he did playing for a Board X1 against Hong Kong in 1971.

Elmo had seen more than one generation of sports personalities grace the playing fields at school, club and international level and never lost his memory to draw a paralell between then and now.

He had that knack for recalling past moments on the playing field and adding that spicy flavour of locker-room stuff which he shared with only the discerning while his sense of humour with his Press colleagues had something that made Elmo the Elmo he was.

He was also fortunate to hobnob and rub shoulders with famous personalities in the international cricket media while covering the Sri Lanka team on numerous overseas tours as he never wasted a moment in cultivating people that he believed were steadfastly synonymous and well accepted in the sporting fraternity.

He could have written one of the best books on cricket given the depth and knowledge he had, the people he knew in high places as well as his experiences on the field and beyond it.

But it was his weekly columns that he treasured most especially in the Daily News that he joined in 1987 and became its Sports Editor and later consultant Editor.

It appeared all the time that Elmo was never on course to hang up his pen or call it a day and worked until the very last breath left him.

He closed the chapter for the last time when his weekly column in the Sunday Observer was run on July 11 under the banner Sportscope in which he sent out a final message to cricketers that commitment and discipline can never be compromised.

His remains lie at A. F. Raymond Parlour, Colombo and the funeral will take place on Thursday at the Madampitiya Cemetery, Colombo 14.

-Callistus Davy


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