The super powers of SLT Mobitel and the Sunday Observer have been able to build up a super stage once more to reward the country’s outstanding school cricketers this week. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic threatening to disrupt all events worldwide for almost two years, the Sunday Observer and its principal sponsor SLT Mobitel were extremely lucky to beat all overwhelming odds to host both the 2020 event and now the 2021 extravaganza.
Former two-time winner of the Sunday Observer School Cricketer of the Year contest and ex-Sri Lanka cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga will be the chief guest at the 43rd Observer-SLT Mobitel School Cricketer of the Year grand finale at the BMICH on December 14, commencing at 5.15 pm. The event is sponsored by SLT-Mobitel for the 15th successive year. Ex-Cabinet Minister Ranatunga who won the prestigious Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year titles in 1980 and 1982, is best remembered for leading Sri Lanka to win the 1996 Cricket World Cup tournament.
Sri Lanka’s World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga will grace the 43rd Observer SLT Mobitel School Cricketers of the Year grand awards ceremony to be held at the BMICH, Colombo on December 14, commencing at 5.15 pm. More than any of the past top award winners, Ranatunga has maintained a strong affiliation with the oldest and only uninterrupted schools awards ceremony ever since he first won the highest award way back in 1980 – some 41 years ago.
Former Sri Lanka captain and ex-Chairman of Selectors Sanath Jayasuriya was the chief guest at the 42nd Observer-SLT Mobitel School Cricketers of the Year mega awards ceremony at the BMICH last April. Here Jayasuriya, along with his son Ranuk, was welcomed to the venue by ANCL Chairman W. Dayaratne PC, along with Director Operations Canishka G. Witharana, Director Finance Janaka Ranatunga, Director Legal and Administration Rakhitha Abeygunawardhana, Director Editorial Dharma Sri Kariyawasam (partly covered), Editor-in-Chief Dinesh Weerawansa and Acting General Manager Sumith Kothalawala.
Tentative arrangements have been made to host the 43rd Observer-SLT Mobitel School Cricketers of the Year annual mega show in the middle of next month. However, it will be subject to the final clearance of the health authorities and Covid-19 guidelines. Despite the global pandemic striking the world early last year and still continuing to disrupt day to day activities, we were fortunate in 2020 to host the 42nd Observer-SLT Mobitel School Cricketers of the Year contest last April.
The Selection Panel that picked the winners of the 43rd Sunday Observer-SLT Mobitel Cricketer of the Year awards pose for a ceremonial picture at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo on Friday. Seated from left: Oshara Panditharatne (deputy president- SLSCA), Thilak Waththuhewa (president SLSCA). W Dayaratne (President’s Counsel and Chairman ANCL) Shiang Wong (Head of Products-Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd), Asitha Jayasekera (SLT DGM Brands and Marketing Research), Premanath C Dolawatte (Member of Parliament and President -Association of Cricket Umpires Sri Lanka) and UILD Wewage (general secretary-ACUSL). Middle row from left: NA Saman Mohan (secretary, Southern Province ACUSL), Manjula Vaas (treasurer-SLSCA), PA Leelananda Kumarasiri, (tournament secretary-SLSCA), JAKS Indrajith (general secretary-SLSCA), DMAN Dissanayake (secretary Central Province ACUSL), Palitha Kulatunga (secretary Western Province, ACUSL). Back row from left: Kumar Gamhewage (MD Batsman.com), Y Nishantha Kumara (under-19 tournament secretary-SLSCA), Champika Weeratunga (girls tournament secretary SLSCA), Viraj Chaminda de Silva (technical officer SLSCA), Saman Hewavitharana (assignment secretary ACUSL) Pic by Wimal Karunathilaka
Sri Lanka has been looking for talented cricketers to fill vacancies in the national team. But that has not been an easy task, unlike in the past mainly about three decades ago, where extraordinarily rich talent directly marched into the national team from school level. But after a long wait, it seems that Sri Lanka has found a number three batsman who displays some sort of class. Although it is too early to make a full review, it seems that the ICC T20 World Cup which concludes in the UAE today has given Sri Lanka some hope in batting.
Five Sri Lankans who had won the Observer SLT Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of Year awards are featuring in the ICC T20 World Cup tournament now in progress in the UAE. Among them, three are representing the Sri Lanka team while the other two are representing the ICC as the Chief Match Referee and an elite panel international umpire.
It is heartening to see three past Observer SLT-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketers of the Year main award winners showing their might in the ongoing T20 World Cup tournament in the UAE. They are Dinesh Chandimal, who emerged the Observer SLT Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 2009 and two-time winners of the big award - Bhanuka Rajapakse (2010 and 2011) and Charith Asalanka (2015 and 2016).
The ICC Twenty 20 World Cup tournament is in full swing with its first round matches in the United Arab Emirates. After the qualifying round matches among the minnows to pick four teams that would join eight direct qualifiers, which ended on Friday, the main tournament matches got underway yesterday.