Why are SL players wearing black arm bands in World Cup 2023 match vs India? | Cricket

Sri Lanka players walked out at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday wearing black arm bands in their World Cup 2023 match against India to pay respect to their super fan Percy Abeysekera, who passed away recently. (IND vs SL Live Score and Latest Updates)

Sri Lanka cricketers wore black arm bands.(REUTERS)
Sri Lanka cricketers wore black arm bands.(REUTERS)

Abeysekera, a renowned and beloved Sri Lankan cricket fan, died in Colombo on Monday, after prolonged illness at the age of 87. He was affectionately known as Uncle Percy, and was a regular fixture at stadiums during Sri lanka matches. He was famous for his colourful costumes, and he began his journey since the 1979 World Cup, attending all major cricket events, except for the ongoing tournament in India.

In a statement, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) explained, “Sri Lanka players will wear black armbands during today’s game vs. India to pay tribute to the late Percy Abeysekera, the legendary cheerleader. 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.”

“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 further added.

Abeysekera was also known to have close relationships with famous Sri Lankan cricketers like Arjuna Ranatunga, Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara. He was also popular for his relationships with Indian cricketers like MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Rohit even met Abeysekera at his home in Colombo during this year’s Asia Cup. Kohli also invited him to the Indian dressing room for an interaction during India’s tour to Sri Lanka in 2015.

Also, the BCCI said on X, “Percy Abeysekera was a bundle of energy, lighting up every moment on the field with his constant cheering. He shared a deep bond with Indian cricketers and developed a strong connect every time Team India toured Sri Lanka. His presence will be dearly missed. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. #RIPUnclePercy.”

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