Two Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketers of the Year main title winners -Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal, have shown impressive form in the first two Tests against the West Indies during the Sri Lanka team’s current tour of the Caribbean. Mendis, who won the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title in 2013 as the then captain of the Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa, is the leading run-getter for Sri Lanka in the ongoing three-Test series against the West Indies. He has aggregated 238 runs after the first two Tests with a century and a fifty.
Former Secretary of the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA), B.S. Perera said more schoolboy cricketers are stepping into the Test arena now, than in the past, but only a few have been able to cement their places. Comparing the golden era of Sri Lanka’s school cricket – 1979 to 1991, during which legendary Sri Lanka cricketers in the caliber of Ranjan Madugalle, Arjuna Ranatunga, Roshan Mahanama, Asanka Gurusinha, Aravinda de Silva, Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan, Marvan Atapattu, Kumara Dharmasena, Chaminda Vaas, to name a few, to present day school cricket, the veteran school cricket official said a greater number of schoolboy cricketers are being produced at present although most of them have failed to retain their places.
The Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest, over the past four decades, has turned out to be an integral part of Sri Lanka’s school cricket, considered to be one of the best in the world. Since its inception way back in 1979, the country’s first and the foremost school cricket awards show has turned out to be one of the most sought-after events in local sports calendar. That is mainly due to the fact that the Mega Show has produced some of the legendary cricketers who have played for Sri Lanka with distinction.
It will be a fitting tribute to Sri Lanka’s first-ever schoolboy cricketer of the year award winner when the ICC’s Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle graces the 40th Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year grand finale to be held shortly. The 59-year-old former Sri Lanka captain has accepted the invitation and confirmed his participation at the Mega Event as the chief guest. It is a great honour to have Madugalle as the chief guest, exactly 40 years after he became the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 1979.
Sri Lanka team, which has just commenced their tour of the West Indies, is studded with three former Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year main award winners. The Lankan team, which is currently engaged in their three-day tour opener which ends at Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, Trinidad on Friday (1), is led by Dinesh Chandimal, the 2009 winner of the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title. Chandimal and his men will meet the West Indies in the first Test which is due to commence on June 6 at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain, also in the same island of Trinidad.
The 40th Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer Awards ceremony will be held shortly at the Colombo Hilton on a grand scale. Officials from the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association, Association of Cricket Umpires and Scorers and the Ministry of Education met at the Colombo Hilton on Monday to finalize the nominations for awards after several hours of deliberations.
The 2009 Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year main award winner Dinesh Chandimal will lead Sri Lanka at the forthcoming away-series against the West Indies. The team left for the Caribbean Islands last Friday.
Apasiri Singhabahu Tillakaratne, who heads women’s cricket of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), hailed the Sunday Observer and SLT Mobitel’s decision to accommodate special awards for girls’ schools at the forthcoming 40th Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year mega awards ceremony.
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!