Former Sri Lanka batsman and present Ananda College coach Sanjeeva Ranatunga said that everyone must keep in mind that it’s not winning or losing that matters but how one played the game.
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Former Sri Lanka, Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club and Ananda College all-rounder, Muthumudalige Pushpakumara had been one of the most prominent schoolboy cricketers to have emerged through the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer contest. 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. The event is sponsored by SLT Mobitel which has been providing its financial support for the past 12 years.
The Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of Year contest has picked some of the top cricketers over its four decades of rich history and existence. Ranjan Madugalle is the proud first ever winner of this prestigious award in 1978/ 1979 when he was captaining Royal College. Since then, it took eight years to pick another distinguished schoolboy cricketer from the Reid Avenue school.
The Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year has always been the prime target of many schoolboy cricketers. Winning such a mega event would definitely change the destiny of a deserving personality. This year’s Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year is going great guns with the all-important first team matches reaching its peak with the annual big matches also being played.
Muttiah Muralitharan needs no introduction. He is the world’s highest wicket taker in Test cricket. Apart from that unique feat, there are several other world records in Muralithran’s cupboard in a legendary career as an exemplary Sri Lanka cricketer. He first came to the limelight through the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer contest some 28 years ago. A highly successful bowler in school cricket at that time, Murali was adjudged Observer Schoolboy Cricketer in 1991 when he was playing for St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota.
Former Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu was one of the most technically sound batsman that Sri Lanka has ever produced. From the early Test era of Sri Lanka, Atapattu earned a prominent place when it came to technicality after Sidath Wettimuny, Ranjan Madugalle, Roshan Mahanama and Hashan Tillekeratne.
Many schoolboy cricketers have made it to the top and excelled in international cricket, but sporting a national cap at the age of 19 years is something unique and admirable. Only a few cricketers have had the distinction of achieving that rare and memorable feat.
Former Sri Lanka captain and ex-ICC Match Referee Roshan Mahanama feels that there should be a balance in the number of matches a school team has to play during a season if the quality of the game is to be maintained. “I agree that we need to give more opportunities to outstation teams. But that should not be done at the expense of quality,” Mahanama said in a recent interview.
International cricket umpire, Kumara Dharmasena has not only made Sri Lanka proud once again, but has also made his school Nalanda College and the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest proud by winning the David Shepherd Trophy for ICC Umpire of the Year for the second time.