The show that produces cricketing legends is on
Observer - Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year:
The Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest, which has
produced Sri Lanka's cricketing legends for the past 29 years, has
gained national status. Sri Lanka Cricket has given its blessings to the
30th Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest which
starts today with the voting for the Most Popular cricketer - All-Island
and Outstation awards.
It is the original show that goes on and on, maintaining its rich
traditions. Over the years, the contest has produced some of the
greatest Sri Lanka cricketers - Ranjan Madugalle, Arjuna Ranatunga,
Muttiah Muralitharan, Roshan Mahanama, Asanka Gurusinha, Marvan Atapattu
and Kumara Dharmasena, to name a few.
Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket, Arjuna Ranatunga, who has twice won
this coveted award during his school days at Ananda, said it would be
the dream of any schoolboy cricketer to win the Observer 'crown'.
He thanked the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited and Sunday
Observer for the contribution made during the past three decades,
recognising the talents of schoolboy cricketers.
Sri Lanka's fastest growing mobile communication provider - Sri Lanka
Telecom Mobitel will be the new proud sponsor of the contest, organised
by the ANCL in association with Sri Lanka Cricket, Sri Lanka Schools
Cricket Association and the Sri Lanka Cricket Umpires and Scorers
Voting for the Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of
the Year - All-Island and Outstation contests would commence today.
Voting coupons will appear on page 19 and 20. Voting coupons will
also be published in the Daily News, Dinamina, Thinakaran and Kreeda
30th OBSERVER-MOBITEL Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year
by Leslie Fernando
Flashback: Marvan Atapattu - with the glittering trophy he won
as the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer in 1990
Sri Lanka's first and the original awards ceremony for teenagers -
the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest would open a new
chapter in its 30th year with the 'original show' being elevated to a
national event in association with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).
Connecting the 30-year-old Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year
to the world would be Sri Lanka's fastest growing mobile communication
provider - the Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel.
Voting for the Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year -
All-Island and Outstation, contests would begin from today as the
landmark event in the annals of Sri Lanka cricket completes its third
Voting coupons for the 30th OBSERVER-MOBITEL Schoolboy Cricketer of
the Year - 2008 most popular contests would appear in the Sunday
Observer, Daily News, Dinamina, Thinakaran and Kreeda publications of
the ANCL from today.
Readers of the Sunday Observer, who have been voting for this popular
contest for the past 29 years, will have an added advantage of sending
two votes for their favourite schoolboy cricketer as there will be two
coupons each for the All-Island and Outstation contests. One voting
coupon each would be published in the Daily News, Dinamina, Thinakaran
and Kreeda from tomorrow.
Readers could also vote for their favourite schoolboy cricketers from
International schools under the All-Island category. This is the first
time in the history of the contest that international school cricketers
would be coming to limelight.
Chief Marketing Officer of Mobitel, Nalin Perera said they are
honoured to join the original contest which had commenced way back in
Mobitel will be only the third sponsor in the history of the Observer
Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest series after Warner-Hudnut and
Bata. Former Sri Lanka Test captain and present ICC Chief Match Referee,
Ranjan Madugalle won the Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the year
'crown' when Warner-Hudnut sponsored the inaugural event in 1979.
Mobitel's presence as the new sponsor of the much looked forward to
event would further strengthen the original show which has recognised
schoolboy talent over the years. It will be the SLT Mobitel that would
provide that 'SMART connection' to the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of
the Year Contest, conducted by the Associated Newspaper of Ceylon
Apart from the new SLC association, the OBSERVER-MOBITEL Schoolboy
Cricketer of the Year contest will have the usual backing of the Sri
Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA) and the Sri Lanka Cricket
Umpires and Scorers Association.
Sri Lanka Cricket has already appointed former Sri Lanka Test leg
spinner D.S. de Silva as its representative. 'DS' as he is better known,
would add strength as he oversees school cricket for SLC.
Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket, Arjuna Ranatunga was a happy man to
see the schoolboy cricketer of the year show going from strength to
strength. He commended the Sunday Observer for recognising the talent in
the school cricket arena for decades and said the SLC would give its
fullest support to the contest which is a motivation and inspiration to
budding schoolboy cricketers.
Ranatunga is no stranger to the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the
Year contest, having won the school cricket plum twice - in 1980 and
1982, for his outstanding contribution as a versatile schoolboy
cricketer from Ananda.
The SLC chief said it would be the dream of any schoolboy cricketer
to be crowned the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the year. Sri Lanka's
World Cup winning captain said the SLC would support the Sunday Observer
and the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (ANCL) in their
endeavour to promote school cricket, giving due recognition and
appreciation for tomorrow's cricketing heroes.
The new sponsor of the show - SLT Mobitel has opened a new chapter in
the contest's three-decade old history by introducing a special segment
- the Most Popular school cricket team - All-Island and Outstation
contest, in which the winners would be picked through Short Message
Service (SMS) and Internet Voting.
However, the rich traditions of the contest would be continued as all
other winners, including the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the
Year, Best Batsman, Best Bowler, Best All-rounder, Best Fielder, Best
Captain and Best Teams (All Island and Outstations) would be picked by a
special panel of judges, which includes the umpires, schools association
officials and reputed former Sri Lanka cricketers.
It's your turn to identify tomorrow's cricketing heroes and vote for
Here's what past winners have to say...
by Leslie Fernando
CRICKET: The Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest
opened the door for budding cricketers to further their interest in the
game. The contest is a forerunner for cricketers to gain recognition at
Ranjan Madugalle was the Observer first Schoolboy Cricketer of the
year in 1979 and (earlier in 1978 Madugalle won the award when the
contest was sponsored by Warner-Hudunut Limited. Madugalle needs no
introduction in cricket, be it in Sri Lanka or in the outside world
He is a past Sri Lanka captain and what's most important is the fact
that he was the youngest in the international panel of match referees
and was in charge of 1999 World Cup final and now is the Chief Match
Referee of the ICC.
The fact that these contests cater to the very best is reflected in
the results. Arjuna Ranatunga: (Ananda College) Captain of the World Cup
team of 1996. He was the Observer Contest in 1980 and 1982. He is now
the President of Sri Lanka Cricket.
Roshan Mahanama: (Nalanda College) ICC Match Referee was crowned as
the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year twice in 1983 and 1984.
Sanath Jayasuriya: was a schoolboy at St. Servatius College Matara
and won the Outstation Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award and was
later the Sri Lanka skipper after Arjuna Ranatunga.
Marvan Atapattu: (Ananda College) Won the Observer Contest in 1990
went on to captain the Sri Lanka team with success.
Muttiah Muralitharan: (St. Anthony's College, Katugastota). The
worlds highest wicket taker. Won the main award in 1991.
Thilan Samaraweera: (Ananda) Represented Sri Lanka. On par with
Madugalle, Ranatunga, Mahanama winning the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer
of the Year on two occasions in 1994 and 1995.
Muthumudalige Pushpakumara (Ananda College) won contest in 1999.
Kaushal Lokuarachchi (St. Peter's College) won contest in 2001 and
Farveez Maharoof, (Wesley College) won contest in 2003. He is a member
of Sri Lanka team.
Comments by some of the Sri Lanka cricketers who have won the main
Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited and the Observer should be
complemented for keeping the show going for all these years. Sponsors
are essential. May the show continue for many years to come.
He said that in the past most of the winners of the top awards came
from Colombo and its suburbs, but now, the outstation schools have come
in a big way and it was a good sign for the game.
It's great for the Sunday Observer in continuing the Schoolboy
Cricketer of the Year Contest for the 29th year from 1979 to encourage
the budding schoolboy cricketers. I was particularly happy to see that
the Northern Province will join up with the others in the competitions
at the contest.
Soon I am happy at the improvement of outstation cricket as the game
has spread far and wide in the country. We should consider ourselves
privileged to be associated with the process of nurturing these young
men into the global arena of international cricket.
Many Sri Lankan cricketing giants of the past and the present are
those who have either won the prestigious and coveted Schoolboy
Cricketer of the Year Award or one of the many awards presented at the
Has taken to big-time cricket umpiring. A member of the 1996 World
Cup winning team. I must congratulate ANCL and Sunday Observer for
keeping the show going for over 25 years. Sponsors are vital for the
progress of sports in a country and ANCL has taken the lead and it helps
the authorities to build up the youth.
Development of youth is very important as the youth are the ones who
will take the country forward. The contest has been in existence for 28
years and the competition is a fore-runner in helping the schoolboy to
perform well, added Dharmasena.
The Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest gave all the
encouragement for me to forge ahead in the cricket world, said former
Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu. He was picked the Observer Schoolboy
Cricketer of the Year in 1990 and he was also picked as the Best Batsman
Marvan complimented the ANCL and Observer for keeping the show going
for all these years. Schoolboy cricketers should be encouraged on a
larger scale. This contest is sure to identify the talent and the high
performances. Atapattu was confident that the up-and-coming schoolboy
cricketers follow the same example set by those who won top awards at
Twice winner of the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Award
1994-1995. He says he owes his climb to the top in cricket due to this
popular contest. Thilan who won the plum in 1994 and 1995 also won the
Best Batsman and Best All-rounder awards on both occasions.
He endorsed this long standing contest as the best for schoolboy
cricketers. Thilan was of the view that Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of
the Year Contest proved to be one of the best in the country. "I am
indeed happy that this contest has continued for over 25 years and my
wish is that it goes on for at least another 25 years."
Thilan also said cricketers from lesser known school like Ginigathena
MV, Poramadulla MV, Kularatne MV, Revatha MV, Kalutara MV to name a few,
are now playing competitive cricket due to the interest shown for the
Won the award in 2003. He said that about 90 per cent of Sri Lanka
cricket team has won awards in this contest. The game of cricket is now
not confined to the popular schools.
The game has spread throughout Sri Lanka. It is indeed happy to note
more outstation cricketers have gained selections to Sri Lanka 'A" team
Development Pool, Under-19 squad and the National team.
He said that Observer show has been well received as the selections
made by the umpires have been good throughout.
The selections have had the desired results as those selected for
awards have gone on to represent Sri Lanka.