Promising Dunith Wellalage seems to be the next rich contribution to Sri Lanka cricket from St. Joseph’s College, Colombo after former Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews. Wellalage emerged the Observer SLT Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2022. Having completed a superb final season for St. Joseph’s, he climbed to the top most level, while still being a 19-plus schoolboy. Prior to making his Test debut for Sri Lanka in July this year, young Wellalage captained Sri Lanka Under-19 with distension. When the voting for the most popular contests concluded a fortnight ago, Wellalage and Chushadi Kaushalya of Dharmapala College, Pannipitiya headed the respective Observer SLT Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy and Schoolgirl Cricketers of the Year 2022 with convincing margins.
Dunith Wellalage of St. Joseph’s College, Colombo and Chushadi Kaushalya of Dharmapala College Pannipitiya emerged Observer SLT Mobitel Most Popular School Cricketers of the Year 2022. When the voting for the most popular contests concluded last week, Wellalage and Kaushalya headed the respective Observer SLT Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy and Schoolgirl Cricketers of the Year 2022 with convincing margins. Sri Lanka Under-19 skipper Wellalage polled 44,564 votes to head the Observer SLT Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy of the Year 2022 – 4,567 votes ahead of his closest contender Rusanda Gamage of St. Peter’s College, Colombo with 39,997 votes.
Little over a decade ago, then Royal College captain Bhanuka Rajapakse won the Observer SLT Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title in back to back years. Having won the prestigious titles in 2010 and 2011, the first Royalist to get that rear honour, he became the man of the final in Sri Lanka’s 23-run triumph over Pakistan in Dubai last Sunday. Rajapakse, an aggressive left-handed batsman, faced just 45 balls to score an unbeaten 71 with three sixes and six fours in the final. Thus, he had a commanding strike rate of 157.77.
The Sri Lanka Under-19 team concluded their three-week tour of England with the third Youth ODI in Leicester yesterday. Although Sri Lanka U-19 won their two-Test Youth series, England U-19 bounced back to take the U-19 ODI series. England U-19 had an exciting three-wicket win over Sri Lanka U-19 in the first Youth ODI played in Worcester earlier this week. Sri Lanka U-19, put into bat, did well to continue their batting form from Youth Tests to limited overs making 248 for 9 in their game reduced to 48 per side game.
The Sri Lanka Under-19 team, comprising the most outstanding schoolboy cricketers in the recently concluded 2021-2022 inter-school season, showed their class by winning their two-match Youth Test series against England Under-19 last week. The Lankan lads began their tour of England by winning the first Under-19 Youth Test by three wickets in Chelmsford. They drew the second Youth Test taking major honors. Thus, Sri Lanka Under-19 beat England Under-19 one-nil in their two-Test Youth series with one drawn.
It was nice to see the cream of schoolboy cricketers in the recently concluded 2021-2022 inter-school season being rewarded for their hard work with a tour of England. The touring Sri Lanka Under-19 team began their assignments with the first Youth Test against the England Under-19, concluded in Chelmsford last Wednesday. The Lankan team, led by Nalanda and Tamil Union batsman Raveen de Silva, did well to score 407 all out in their first innings with Katugastoda Antonian Asitha Wanninayake making a top score of 132 off 315 balls with 19 fours.
When spin wizard Muttiah Muralidaran as a promising schoolboy cricketer from St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota completed back to back years capturing over 100 wickets each in the1989-1990 and 1990-1991 seasons, it always seemed a tough record to better. But within the next five years, yet another spinner emerged – this time from St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa, bettered those schools records by capturing a total of 264 wickets in two seasons. Modara Muthugalage Don Nimesh Randika Gayan Perera, born September 5 in 1977 in Colombo, was a genuine all-rounder - an aggressive left-handed middle to lower order batsman and a leg spinner.
Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning captain, Arjuna Ranatunga was appointed the new chairman of the elite National Sports Council last week. The appointment letter was handed over to him by Minister of Sports, Roshan Ranasinghe. Addressing the distinguished gathering which included Minister Ranasinghe and Secretary to the Ministry of Sports Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva, the former Sri Lanka cricket captain turned ex-Cabinet Minister at one time said it was an honour to chair the distinguished committee on the invitation of the Minister.
Last year’s Observer SLT Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year, Sadisha Rajapakse produced a superb performance with the bat and ball to guide Royal to a convincing eight-wicket win over S. Thomas in their 45th Mustangs Trophy encounter at the SSC ground last week. Rajapakse (2 for 45) and Damith Kappagoda (2 for 19) produced two lovely spells as Royal restricted their opponents to an unimpressive 190 for 8 wickets in 50 overs.
The 143rd Battle of the Blues between Royal College and S. Thomas’ College ended in a tame draw at the SSC ground last week. Thus, almost all key big matches were concluded, but with only the Battle of the Maroons between Ananda and Nalanda producing a result. S. Thomas’ lost five early wickets but late fight backs by Senesh Hettiarachchi (55) and Charuka Peiris (51) helped them to make 242 in 106.2 overs. Gishan Balasooriya (3 for 56), Sandesh Ramanayake (2 for 16) and Ramiru Perera (2 for 36) shared the wickets for Royal.