Mumbai, Nov 2: Sri Lanka players are wearing black armbands for Thursday's match in the ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2023 against hosts India to pay tribute to the late Percy Abeysekera, the legendary cheerleader of Sri Lanka cricket.
Abeysekera passed away in Colombo a couple of days back.
Abeysekera was an integral part of the game of cricket in Sri Lanka and did play a pivotal role from beyond the boundary line to support and motivate the players," Sri Lanka Cricket informed in a statement on Thursday.
"His towering legacy spans across Sri Lanka’s pre- and post-Test eras, and his name will remain etched forever among cricket lovers," the statement read.
On Wednesday, India skipper Rohit Sharma paid his tributes to Abeysekera by talking about his association with Sri Lanka cricket's super fan.
"Yeah, I was lucky to get an opportunity to meet him in Sri Lanka during the Asia Cup and he's been such a great fan of cricket. Of course, Sri Lankan team but he's probably the first ever fan that I met, who was so genuine and the support from his side towards his team, towards the players was fantastic to see. When I first went to Sri Lanka in 2006 actually for U19 World Cup, he was there, but I was a little boy, I had no idea about how things work outside cricket field. So, I was not too much into that," said Rohit during the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
"But when I went with the Indian team for the first time in 2008, I saw him for the first time then and I saw how passionate he was. I got lucky as well to meet his family, his son, his grandson, their family is very sweet," said the Indian skipper.
"I went with few of my team members as well. Well yeah, it's a sad loss, you know sad loss to the cricketing fraternity because in my eyes, he was the number one supporter of cricket at that point in time. Obviously, there have been so many fans now, but the first ever fan, cricket fan I saw was him. So yeah, it's a sad moment for all of us," he added. (IANS)