Sri Lanka’s World Cup-winning captain turned Cabinet Minister Arjuna Ranatunga was the first ever to win the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the year title twice. Having won the mega title in 1980 after Ranjan Madugalle in the previous year, Ranatunga once again became the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer in 1982. Ranatunga feels that winning the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year remains the most memorable lifetime experience to any schoolboy cricketer.
The ever popular Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of The Year 2019 contest has reached its final lap with the commencement of the all important first term inter-school cricket matches. Thus, the voting for the 41st Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of The Year 2019 competition will gather momentum with coupons appearing in the Sunday Observer, Daily News, Dinamina and Thinakaran.
Trinity College spinner Kavishka Senadeera captured a match bag of 11 wickets for 83 as his team beat Nalanda College by 47 runs in the inaugural cricket encounter for the Mahela-Sanga Challenge Trophy at Campbell Place last weekend. Senadeera claimed 5 for 52 and 6 for 31 in the two innings of Nalanda in a low scoring game.
Kalana Madhusanka skipper of Seethawaka National School Avissawella took the spotlight this week by becoming the first batsman to pass the 1000 runs milestone this season in the Under-19 schools cricket season. Right handed batsman Kalana Madhusanka has scored 1161 runs from 10 innings with three double tons and three tons. He is the first batsman to score three double tons in the same season.
It is good to note that many schoolboy cricketers from the lesser known schools are scoring heavily in the inter-schools cricket tournament being played throughout the country. Perhaps they are looking to be recognized by the public who vote for the popular schoolboy cricketer contest conducted by Mobitel-Observer of ANCL.
The Mobitel Observer Cricketer of the Year awards this year moves into a new chapter with the interest shifting to looking at ways to award the girls who perform well this season. This will also encourage them to commit themselves wholeheartedly to the game. A total of 36 girls schools are fielding teams in the under-19 tournament divided into seven groups. The knock-out final round enabled 18 teams to qualify.
With the female cricketers competing well in the local and international scene, the emphasis from this year will be to promote them at the Observer Mobitel schools cricketer contest. This will create an ideal platform for both the male and female cricketers to perform and enhance their standard to national level.
Another former Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer Kusal Mendis almost came up with a match winning performance as he has done on many occasions before. He was on the way to score a well deserved century and victory for Sri Lanka if not for that silly running between the wickets. He ran the first run too slow to start with and the England stumper noted that and pointed to the fielder to throw at the further end. For Mendis’ bad luck, the ball hit the wicket with a direct throw by Leach.
Entries are rolling into Lake House office in support of their most popular cricketer’s names in it. Interestingly, entries have also been received with schoolgirl cricketers names in it. Results will be published from next week onwards and the names of leading cricketers will also be known to the readers. What the voters should take note of is that the schoolboy cricket contest if for all three divisions while the schoolgirl contest is an all-island affair without any divisions for voting. Last year’s Sunday Observer Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Hasitha Boyagoda was a cricketer of par excellence.
With the schools cricket season about to unfold the 41st Mobitel Sunday Observer Schools cricketer contest was launched with the generous support of Mobitel. Chairman of Lake House Wasanthapriya Ramanayake and head of operations of Mobitel Telecom Nalin de Silva were present. This year however, the event reaches a new phase and will be looking out for the best boy and girl cricketers of the year to encourage and foster more girls’ schools to take to the game. Sri Lanka’s women cricketers are having fluctuating fortunes at present and need more players of high quality to take over and perform better at national level. Sri Lanka also needs high quality schoolboy cricketers as did in the past. They could match any team in the world in that age category during the early years, but of late this has not happened.