Muthumudalige Pushpakumara:
The cricketer who tantalised but never Realised
Sunday Observer: 22.05.2022
Muthumudalige Pushpakumara

The third month of the 44th Observer-SLT Mobitel School Cricketers of the Year Most Popular contest has gathered momentum. Ever since the launch of the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest in 1978, the Mega Show has turned out to be the most looked forward to event by school cricketers. Not only school cricketers but also by the old boys of the respective schools and sports enthusiasts who have made it a fashion. The event is sponsored by SLT Mobitel which has been providing its financial support for the past 15 years.

Blues, Saints, Maroons sharpen up for big match rivalry
Sunday Observer: 15.05.2022
Flashback - Best All-Rounder Division III Hashen Lalindra Fernando of Loyala College, Negombo receives his award presented by Senior Deputy General Manager ANCL Kamal Wijesuriya at the 43rd mega show held last December

The only under-19 inter-school cricket encounter which went uninterrupted during the 2020-21 Covid-19 pandemic – the Battle of the Blues Royal-Thomian, will be played from July 7 to 9 this year. Now that the threat posed by the pandemic is gradually fading away here, the joint organizing committee expects to have a better crowd. Hence, the picturesque SSC ground which has hosted the Battle of the Blues encounter in recent times is likely to be the popular venue. The 2020 Battle of the Blues encounter had a close call as the country was locked down due to the Covid-19 pandemic immediately after the third day two years ago.

Atapattu laments and questions school coaching
Sunday Observer: 08.05.2022
Flashback: Niroshan Dickwella of Trinity College (Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2012) receives his award from Chief Guest Marvan Atapattu. Also in the picture are Dinesh Weerawansa (Editor in Chief Sunday Observer), ANCL Chairman Bandula Padmakumara, Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage and SLT, Mobitel CEO Lalith de Silva

The inter-school Under-19 First X1 cricket season is reaching an interesting stage with the big matches about to start. Although the big match season is customarily held in March every year, the age old customs went for a six with the Covid-19 pandemic. Soon after the Battle of the Blues big match between Royal and S. Thomas’ in mid-March in 2020, not only all sports but all day to day activities of the entire world were curtailed. Most big matches last year were not played though a few matches including the Battle of the Blues were played but several months behind the schedule. Hence, the more than a century old custom of having March as the big match month took a back seat.

Lions roar, Royal gear for Battle of Blues and Murali’s heroics
Sunday Observer: 01.05.2022
Antonian schoolboy Muttiah Muralidaran receiving the 1991 top award from the then Minister of Housing and Construction B. Sirisena Cooray. The then Chief Editor of Sunday Observer HLD Mahindapala is also in the picture

Trinity’s first innings lead over Nalanda helped them to retain the Mahela-Sanga Challenge trophy while Royal warmed up for the upcoming Battle of the Blues with a good display against Thurstan in two of the key Under-19 Inter-School matches played last week. In the first match played at Nalanda grounds, Campbell Place, Trinity gained first innings points for their total of 275. The Lions’ innings was boosted with two solid knocks from Ranuda Somaratne (91) and Rahal Amarasinghe (75). They then restricted the home team to 143 all out in their first essay. Forced to follow on, Nalanda were struggling at 153 for 7 wickets in their second innings at close.

Schoolgirl makes history as Dharmasena rues the present
Sunday Observer: 24.04.2022
Kumara Dharmasena the former Sri Lanka all-rounder is now going great guns as an ICC Elite panel umpire

The highest individual innings by a local batswoman was registered by 16-year-old Vishmi Gunaratne of Ratnaweli Balika when she smashed an unbeaten 417 against Jayasiripura Junior School in Negombo last Thursday. Most importantly, the marathon knock came in a limited over match. In an almost single handed effort, Gunaratne’s 417 not out enabled her team to score 567 for 2 in 30 overs. She was given a good helping hand by Sandali Weerasinghe who made 78. Jayasiripura were bowled out for 35 runs in 14.3 overs, giving Ratnaweli a thumping win in their Under-19 girls limited overs match.

Big match fever in May and Gura’s dream come true
Sunday Observer: 17.04.2022
Gurusinha meeting his former Sri Lanka team mates Aravinda de Silva and Sanath Jayasuriya

The most popular contest of the 44th Observer-SLT Mobitel School Cricketers of the Year completes its first month as some of the popular inter-school big matches are about to begin after Sinhala and Tamil New Year vacation. As the 2022 Most Popular Observer-SLT Mobitel School Cricketers contest is about to enter the month of May in two week’s time, the season’s big matches is about to begin with the biggest one of the big ’uns – the Battle of the Blues between Royal and S. Thomas’.

Death of a legend and Mahanama’s rise to stardom
Sunday Observer: 10.04.2022
Roshan Mahanama when he first won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer title in 1983   |   Roshan Mahanama at his recent book launch

When I was writing my weekly column on the Observer-SLT School Cricketers, there came the shocking news - the death of a sports news legend. It was saddening to learn of the death of former Deputy Editor and long-standing Sports Editor of the Sunday Observer A. C. De Silva, a well-known Thomian and former water polo referee. He was the Sports Editor of the Sunday Observer even at the time I began my journalistic career exactly 35 years on April 16, 1987. He passed away on Thursday at the age of 80. He played a leading role in the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer since its inception in1979.

School cricketers need the maestro’s guidance
Sunday Observer: 03.04.2022
Arjuna Ranatunga in action during his day

There has been slow but steady progress in voting as the most popular contests of the 44th Observer SLT Mobitel School Cricketers contest began last week. It was only last December that Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga graced the Observer SLT Mobitel School Cricketers contest, 42 years after he first kissed the glittering trophy. Speaking as the chief guest, Ranatunga warned the country’s school cricketers of the evils of focusing on money while drawing a contrast to his own success without a cent in his pocket.

Observer-SLT Mobitel School Cricketers launched for 44th time
Sunday Observer: 27.03.2022
First-ever Observer Schoolboy Cricketer, some 44 years ago... Former Royal, NCC and Sri Lanka captain Ranjan Madugalle has come a long way since making his Test debut in Sri Lanka’s inaugural Test against England in 1982. Picture shows the current ICC Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle when he reached yet another milestone by becoming the first to officiate in 200 Test matches last year

Sri Lanka’s premier English newspaper with the largest circulation, Sunday Observer has once again joined hands with Sri Lanka’s national mobile network SLT Mobitel to launch the 44th Observer SLT Mobitel School Cricketers of the Year. The sponsorship presentation of the 44th Observer-Mobitel Schools Cricketers of the Year 2022 took place at the SLT Mobitel head office at Rotunda Gardens, Colombo 3 on Thursday. This marked the launch of the island-wide voting for the Observer-SLT Mobitel Schools Cricketers of the Year commencing from today.

School Cricketer of the Year contest
Sunday Observer: 27.03.2022

The 44th Observer-SLT School Cricketers of the Year contest begins today with voting for the Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer and Schoolgirl Cricketer. Here Chief Marketing Officer of Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd, Shashika Senarath presents the sponsorship of the Observer-SLT School Cricketers of the Year contest to Director, Legal and Administration of ANCL, Attorney-at-Law Rakhitha Abeygoonawardhana. General Manager, Consumer Sales and Distribution of Mobitel, Sugath Abeysinghe and ANCL Manager Channel Publicity, Chanaka Liyanage look on. Pic: Chinthaka Kumarasinghe