PERJALANAN KITA | OUR JOURNEY
1895 Club group
1907 First Cricket Tour – Bombay
The ambience as soon as you step into Colombo Malay Cricket Club is one of familiarity, homeliness and belonging. Whether it’s the familiar faces, the aroma of your favourite Malay cuisine, or the sound of a language that only you and a few others know to speak, CMCC is an accumulation of years of history, culture, tradition and community. Join us as we take this journey, 150 years of progress, into building a strong community that is embedded with rich heritage and culture, and undeniably strong community and family ties.‘Perjalanan kita’ translates to our journey, and is a celebration of how far we’ve come as a minority in Sri Lanka. As we acknowledge how much we have achieved, we also look back in gratitude and admiration at our ancestors, who laid down the foundation that we have built on.
Nearly 1100 Malay soldiers from the Dutch Colonial Military were integrated into the British Rifle Regiment in 1827. Because of their close relationship with British military members, Malays developed their enthusiasm for cricket. Malay soldiers from Java made up the Rifle Regiment, which had British officers. The cricket passion of Malays resulted in a historic match between an all Malay team fielded by the Rifle Regiment and a British Regimental side on March 23, 1872. As a result, the British government gave Malays the north end of the Rifle Parade Grounds at Slave Island, resulting in the establishment of the Malay Cricket Club (now the Colombo Malay Cricket Club) in 1872, which is the first Ceylonese cricket club.
Afterwards, Malay Club cricketers brought refinement to their game and won the Ceylon Club Championship in 1920. The Honourable Morrison, who was the officer commanding soldiers in Sri Lanka, laid the foundation stone for the CMCC structure and Jainudeen Memorial Hall at Rifle Green in 1925. Mudliyar Jainudeen provided the majority of the resources used to build the structures. Sir Hugh Clifford, the then Governor of Ceylon, opened the pavilion and Memorial Hall within the year. The Malay Cricket Club has a long and illustrious history of over 134 years. On the 25th of June 1948, the Malay CC Pavilion, at Rifle Green, hosted a momentous conference inaugurating a new regulatory body for cricket in the country – the Ceylon Cricket Board of Control (now Sri Lanka Cricket).
When World War II began in 1939, Rifle Green was commandeered by the British government, the ground and pavilion were used as a recruiting station for Sri Lankans joining the British Armed Services. Following the end of the war, the British government honourably returned Rifle Green to Malay CC in 1945 and made provisions for its renovation. Malays, on the other hand, were irritated when they learned of plans to purchase Rifle Green in order to relocate the Slave Island Police Station and staff quarters. The pavilion was preserved during the construction process. However, in 1957, it was taken over, and Malay CC was required to accept a “Police Singlemen’s Barrack”, which was a straw-thatched shack at Kew Road. Despite this setback, the CMCC persisted under the leadership of B.Zahiere Lye, their vivacious President, and made submissions to different governmental bodies seeking restitution for the seizure of their Rifle Green home. When the late Honourable S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike’s administration provided enough land for a ground at Kew Road in 1957; these efforts worked brilliantly.Members of the CMCC began converting this area into a cricket ground, and the job was achieved two years later. Nevertheless, there was still a lot more that could be implemented to improve the situation on the ground.
On the invitation of Club President Mr. B. Zahiere Lye, a new pavilion was built and finished in 1960, with Governor General Sir Oliver Goonatilleke proclaiming it open. Donovon Andree, a showman, was the main contributor, organised a carnival and donated the money to the pavilion’s development. Mr. M. W.F. Abeykoon, Inspector General of Police at the time, proclaimed the site open in 1961 and called it the “Padang”. “History is who we are and why we are the way we are.” As we educate ourselves on the history and journey of CMCC, we are reminded of how incredible our journey is, how unique our story is, and how proud we are to be Malays from Sri Lanka.