Sri Lanka’s first captain Bandula Warnapura, who joined 1982 rebel tour to SA, passes away

Sri Lanka’s first Test captain, who later became national coach and administrator, Bandula Warnapura passed away while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Colombo.

The 68-year old former cricketer had been admitted to ICU after he was diagnosed with high sugar levels, hindering blood circulation.

Bandula captained during Sri Lanka’s maiden Test against England in Colombo in 1982 and went on to play three Tests and 12 ODIs. But his impressive cricketing career was cut short when he was handed a life ban for touring apartheid South Africa with a rebel team in 1982/83.

However in 1991, Bandula re-joined cricket as the national coach and administrator of the Sri Lankan Cricket Board. He was appointed as the Director of Coaching in 1994 and later in 2001 he was given the post as the Director of Operations, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

Bandula also worked as an ICC match referee and an umpire and refereed two Tests and three ODIs in 2001. He was also the Development Manager of the Asian Cricket Council.

An opening batsman and a medium pace bowler, Bandula led Sri Lanka to victory against India during the Cricket World Cup on June 16, 1979. This was the only victory Sri Lanka, then an Associate Member, achieved during the 1979 World Cup.