Secretary of the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA), Dilshan de Silva stressed the need to make a collective effort to develop school cricket and produce quality players to feed the national team in future.“Although we belong to the Ministry of Education, our hearts are with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). Hence, a collective effort is needed to take school cricket to a higher level,” he said.
Launching a school cricket awards show during an era when there had not been any organized inter-school tournament and continuing it for 40 years uninterrupted is no easy task. That is exactly what the Sunday Observer, together with its current sponsor Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel, has done!
The final selections of the most outstanding schoolboy cricketers who will receive the top awards at the 40th Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest will be made shortly.The names of the most outstanding cricketers who will be considered for respective awards have already been shortlisted. But the final selections will be made by a special selection panel, headed by the President of the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA) Oshara Panditharathna.
There is a four-decade long unique and memorable story behind the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest.Until 1978, there had been no formal school cricket awards show, although the country’s oldest inter-school cricket match – the Royal-Thomian, was set to complete its centenary then.
There has been a greater response for the Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer contest as the final weeks of voting has begun with the completion of the first term inter-school matches. With only a couple of months to go for the grand finale, there has been heavy voting during the past few weeks and the contest, conducted under three divisions, should turn out to be a keenly contested tussle during its final lap. Voting coupons for the Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest appear in the Daily News, Sunday Observer, Dinamina and Thinakaran.
Former Sri Lanka captain Hashan Tillakaratne, the high performance batting coach of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and his charming wife Apsari Singhabahu Tillakaratne who heads women’s cricket of the SLC, said the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest has been a source of encouragement and inspiration to young cricketers to progress beyond school level.
Former Sri Lanka captain and ex-chairman of selectors Sanath Jayasuriya said the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title would take outstanding young players closer to the Sri Lanka ‘cap’.Commending the Sunday Observer for conducting the event for 40 long years, the explosive former Sri Lanka batsman said the mega title he won in 1988 as an emerging player from St. Servatius College, Matara was a great source of encouragement and inspiration.
President of the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA) , Oshara Panditharathna, who is also the Principal of Dharmapala Vidyalaya, Pannipitiya, said the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest has rendered a yeoman service from the days when there had not been an official inter-school Under-19 cricket tournament.
Seven former Sri Lanka cricket captains, who had enjoyed exemplary careers at school level, have commended the exemplary role played by the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest during the past 40 years. They shared the common view that the Mega Show has made a priceless contribution to promote school cricket and recognize milestone achievements of schoolboy cricketers, even at a time there had not been any official inter-school tournaments.
Sri Lanka’s inter-school cricket structure is considered one of the best, if not the best and well-organised one in the world. Over the years, it has been the feeder pool to the national team. Many school cricket officials and youth coaches world over have hailed Sri Lanka’s well-knit school