A fascinating account of an extraordinary, five-decade journey across exotic lands in eleven countries; Ranjan Mellawa’s Winds Behind The Willows is unlike any other cricket book. Inspired by a fully cassocked priest playing cricket in the church green, he began as a humble and passionate village cricketer. Years later, he was blessed with the good fortune to be present at virtually all epic moments in Sri Lanka cricket, including six World Cup finals. The story encompasses interesting off-field anecdotes and mini-dramas, some involving famous cricketers, and entices the reader to join the author’s sojourns, beyond live cricket score on the card.
Mellawa’s spell as the secretary of Ragama CC, a first-class cricket club in Sri Lanka, enabled him to relate a hitherto unpublished, firsthand account of the country’s chaotic latter-day cricket administration. It follows an insight into the island nation’s pre-Test cricket days. He also recalls opportunities he created for talented young cricketers, to reach the pinnacle. Not stopping at sharing the rich life skills developed and lessons learnt from the game's many alluring features, the author offers some useful suggestions from a fan’s perspective on;
- revitalising the game,
- adding value to enhance experiential fandom and
- treating fans with greater respect and dignity.
The story also harks on the role played by Mellawa’s ‘cricket widow’ wife amid his struggles for a balanced work-life, with cricket as an ever-present backdrop.
In his Foreword, former Sri Lanka player and ICC Match Referee, Roshan Mahanama describes the book as “a reader’s delight, which will have pride of place in my cricket library and says that he “wouldn’t be surprised if it does become a bestseller.” Having woven a rich tapestry of first-hand experiences, the book has earned itself endorsements from legends of the game around the world, emphasising that cricket itself is a greater story than told by any scorecard.
Reviews & Endorsements
“A different kind of book by a Sri Lankan cricket fan, detailing his exploits as an ardent follower of the game worldwide.” Jonathan Agnew - Former English cricketer and presently a cricket broadcaster.
“A rare memoir of a die-hard cricket fan who has watched no less than six World Cup finals. It’s a book that brings forth real-life cricketing adventures. Very readable.” Sunil Gavaskar - Former legendary Indian cricketer, presently a cricket commentator.
“A fabulous book for any cricket lover, be s/he the veteran or the greenhorn, maybe the Lord sipping lager at Lord’s or the tuk tuk driver from Chittagong. Undoubtedly, they will all enjoy this magnum opus that comes to us from a cricket lover of a rare distinction.” Capt Elmo Jayawardena - A Gratiaen Prize winner, for the best work of literary writing in English by a resident Sri Lankan. Also, an aviator with an enviable track record, who currently trains pilots for Boeing in Singapore.
“A fantastic book from a genuine Sri Lankan cricket lover. Ranjan’s passion for the game rings out loud and clear as he provides insight into how Sri Lanka’s cricket has evolved in the past few decades.” Mahela Jayawardena - Former Sri Lankan Captain and master batsman with many international records to his credit.
“This is the remarkable odyssey of a genuine cricket fan who has presented the reader with a ringside picture of Sri Lankan cricket in the context of the evolution of the international game.” Muttiah Muralidaran - Record holder for the highest number of international wickets in Tests, ODIs and T20s combined.
“There aren’t many fans who have watched six World Cup finals. A fascinating narrative of real-life cricketing episodes.” Ramiz Raja - Former Pakistani cricketer; presently a cricket commentator.
“Winds Behind The Willows provides a genuine, independent, real-life view into the world of Sri Lankan cricket. It’s a fascinating and thought-provoking book that has clearly been written with a lot of love for the game.” Kumar Sangakkara - Former Sri Lankan Captain, with the distinction of having scored the second-highest aggregate of international runs, ever; and the enduring legacy of delivering the ‘MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture’, whilst yet an international player.
“Ranjan Mellawa is not just a cricket fan, he is a cricket fanatic, or else he could not describe matches watched by him as he has done. Winds Behind The Willows is a work of love, most interesting and highly recommended reading for the cricket enthusiast.” Michael Tissera - A stalwart of Sri Lankan cricket, who led its team with distinction in the pre-Test era.
“I may have read the most number of cricket books in Sri Lanka and can assure that Winds Behind The Willows is second to none.” Mahinda Wijesinghe - An accounting professional and aficionado of the game, with many contributions towards its betterment, not the least being the official origination of the ‘third umpire’ concept.
This unique book is offered with a novelty gift - a bookmark embedded with genuine grass trimmings from the hallowed turf at the Lord’s Cricket Ground, the ‘Home of Cricket’.