The Sri Lankan players wore black armbands during their ODI World Cup fixture against India to pay tribute to Percy Abeysekera, the legendary ‘super fan’, who passed away a couple of days ago.
Abeysekera, known as ‘Uncle Percy’, was an integral part of the game in Sri Lanka and played a pivotal role from beyond the boundary line to motivate the players.
He was synonymous with the golden generation of Sri Lanka and had witnessed the rise of the team since its maiden World Cup title in 1996. He was also friends with several top international cricketers.
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During the Asia Cup in September, India captain Rohit Sharma paid a visit to ‘Uncle Percy’. “I was lucky to get an opportunity to meet him in Sri Lanka during the Asia Cup. He has been such a great fan of cricket and, of course, the Sri Lankan team. He is probably the first-ever fan that I met who was genuine, and the support from his side towards his team and the players was fantastic to see,” Rohit said on Wednesday.
Rohit also reminisced when he met ‘Uncle Percy’ for the first time during the U-19 days. “When I first went to Sri Lanka in 2005 for the U19 World Cup, he was there. I was a little boy, and I had no idea about how things work outside the cricket field. I was not too much into that. But when I went with the Indian team in 2008, I saw him for the first time. I saw how passionate he was and was lucky to meet his family, his son, and his grandson. They were very sweet. I went with a few of my team members,” Rohit said.
In a statement on Thursday, Sri Lanka Cricket said, “His towering legacy spans across Sri Lanka’s pre- and post-test eras, and his name will remain etched forever among cricket lovers.”
Several Sri Lankan cricketers—past and present—have paid homage to the ‘super fan’. In 2015, Virat Kohli had invited him to the visiting side’s dressing room. Recently, the SLC helped him out with LKR 5 million to meet his medical expenses.
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