Rohit meets ailing Percy, Super Fan may attend India-Sri Lanka game
Indian team's super fan Percy Abeysekera, an 87-year-old man was visited by the captain of the team, Rohit Sharma at his home.
COLOMBO: The last time he cheered for his team by holding a giant Sri Lankan flag was in April 2023 when Ireland toured the Island Nation for a two-match Test series. Percy Abeysekera, 87, travelled to Galle to boost the morale of his team. Given the hot and humid weather, Percy got dehydrated making his son Sampath rush to the city and bring him back to Colombo.
Since then, the ardent Sri Lankan fan, also known as Uncle Percy, has been on a liquid diet. Given the fact that he is an octogenarian, the recovery is slow. With the 2023 Asia Cup going on in his city, Percy wanted to watch the match from the stands as he has been doing since 1948. He was advised against it a few days back but may get permission when India takes on Sri Lanka here at the R Premadasa Stadium on Tuesday.
"Tomorrow we can take him to the stadium for the India-Sri Lanka match. But before that, I have to check with his doctor. If the doctor gives permission then we will go there. However, I feel even if he gets permission, he wouldn't be able to stay there for the complete match," son Sampath told this daily.
Percy has been quite popular with visiting teams and India is one among them. Such was his popularity among the Indian cricketers that during their tour of Sri Lanka in 2015, the then-captain Virat Kohli even invited him to the dressing room. Rohit Sharma, Kohli's successor, went a step ahead as he visited the Super Fan's home at Katunayake near the Colombo Airport recently to enquire about his health.
"Rohit visited our home with two trainers including the throwdown specialist from Sri Lanka. He sang a few rhymes for my father. In fact, we all sang rhymes to cheer him up. My father told Rohit that he had been watching cricket matches since 1948 when he was only 12. The Indian captain said he respects my father for his knowledge of the game and sporting spirit. He also told my dad that he is the best cheerleader he has ever seen as he cheers for both teams."
Sampath said Rohit also informed Percy about the mail he sent to him in 2019. "It was friendly mail I suppose as I never read it," added Sampath.
Speaking on the health issues, the son informed, "He had to be hospitalised for three days after that Ireland Test. He has been on a liquid diet since then. The diet is heavy, having supplements with nutrients, and yoghurt. His energy intake is okay but because of age he is taking a long time to recover."
Hopefully, Percy will be given an all-clear by his doctor so that he can once again wave the Sri Lankan flag and sing the rhymes during the India-Sri Lanka match much to the delight of players and fans alike.