Sri Lanka superfan Uncle Percy – Percy Abeysekara – dies aged 87

Sri Lanka mascot and superfan Percy Abeysekara, affectionately known as Uncle Percy, has died aged 87.

Percy had been a fixture at Sri Lankan cricket matches for more than five decades, but gained global prominence during the 1996 World Cup, particularly when he was seen parading the Sri Lanka flag around the ground at Lahore, following Sri Lanka’s victory in the final.

Renowned for his rhyming English-language chants, and witty exchanges with players – both Sri Lanka cricketers and foreigners – Percy was beloved in Sri Lankan grounds in particular, but was frequently seen wherever Sri Lanka toured, particularly during Test matches. He was among the first generation of travelling superfans.

He enjoyed the admiration of many top cricketers over the decades, In the 1980s, Martin Crowe awarded one of his Man of the Match trophies to Percy, for his passion for the game. And then as recently as the Asia Cup this year, Rohit Sharma had visited Percy in his home, as he battled the illness that would eventually claim his life.

Although Percy was a steadfast Sri Lanka supporter, he would frequently jibe at players from his own team, especially when they made fielding errors near the boundary. Often this would be for the entertainment of the home crowd, who frequently joined in. Percy also came up with rhyming couplets for specific players, depending on the match he was following.

Sri Lanka Cricket had made a substantial donation to Percy in recent months, in order to assist him with medical costs. He died after several days in hospital.

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