World Cup winning captain Arjuna won Observer award in 1980 and 1982
CRICKET: Look to the Sunday Observer for your cricket stars -
you will be able to pick them quite easily. There is one cricketer who
really stands out from the rest and he is none other than Arjuna
Ranatunga who was Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 1980 and
1982 and then climbed the ladder of success in inter-club and
December 1st 1963 was the day that Arjuna Ranatunga came into this
world and from his young days the took a liking for cricket and he went
for it in a big way and there was success coming his way as he devoted
his heart and soul to the game.
At Ananda, he was a leading light and he had the fine backing from
his parents and his brothers to forge ahead in the game that he really
He had a number of successes at Ananda and it was quite natural that
he was picked for the coveted honour of Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of
the Year twice and that opened up a big future for him in cricket.
The big moment for Arjuna was undoubtedly the winning of the World
Cup in 1996 beating Australia in the final at Lahore.
Sri Lanka's team on that historic day comprised: Arjuna Ranatunga
(Capt), Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Asanka Gurusinha,
Aravinda de Silva, Hashan Tillekeratne, Roshan Mahanama, Kumar
Dharmasena, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan and Promodaya
Lanka's finest moment
Australia batted first and made 240. Sri Lanka, after a disappointing
start losing openers Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana for just 23 runs,
recovered well. Asanka Gurusinha and Aravinda de Silva made it good,
totalling 130 for 3 wickets. Gurusinha made 65, but Aravinda de Silva
batted delightfully and made 112 not out and that knock really paved the
way for Sri Lanka's fine victory at the end.
Aravinda de Silva and skipper Arjuna Ranatunga made 24 not out and
these two stalwarts made it - 241 for 3 wickets, thereby winning the
coveted World Cup. To Arjuna went the honour of scoring the winning run
when he drove Aussie paceman Glen Mcgrath to the boundary and that
stroke will long be remembered!
Ranatunga showed early promise as a cricketer at Ananda and he had
many fine knocks with his bat in inter-school cricket matches. He played
for Sri Lanka as a schoolboy at the age of 18 years and stroked a fluent
half-century in the inaugural Test against England led by Keith Fletcher
at the Saravanamuttu Stadium.
Arjuna Ranatunga was a player who inspires the younger lot. He turned
out to be a wonderful skipper in both Test matches and one-day
Internationals. India's former legendary cricket captain Sunil Gavaskar
paid Ranatunga a rich compliment when he said that Ranatunga had
exceptional playing skills at one time Gavaskar wanted him to coach the
Indian cricket team.
The stylish lefthander Ranatunga's first international century was in
February 1984 against Central Zone match played in Faislabad. Ranatunga
was a member of the Sri Lanka under-23 team that played against Pakistan
under-23 team in two Unofficial Tests (new Series). He scored a
delightful century, 114 not out.
The power and authority with which Ranatunga batted could be seen by
the fact that he took only 89 minutes to compile his century which was
the first for Sri Lanka on the tour. He had sixteen 4s in his knock.
With Brendon Kuruppu (Captain) unbeaten 86 were associated in an
unbroken second wicket partnership of 164 runs.
A lot can be said in favour of Ranatunga. His first contribution came
as a batsman as Sri Lanka set out to prove that it could hold its own on
the international stage. Throughout a long career, he was a tower of
strength in the middle order. Nimble footed and fearless, he confronted
his opponents, refusing to take a step back. In short, he was the
cricketing version of the freedom fighter required by every nation.
Ranatunga took his team to great heights. After his playing career
was over, Ranatunga won a massive vote block to enter Parliament in his
political debut in December 2001. He made a comeback too at the last
Today, Arjuna Ranatunga occupies the top seat in Sri Lanka Cricket
and said that SLC is pleased to be associated with the ANCL for the
Observer - Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contests 2008. "Sri
Lanka cricket is concentrating on School cricket to strengthen our
Ranatunga who is the Chairman of Asian Cricket Council has already
given the blessings of Sri Lanka Cricket in its endeavour to recognise
the talents and achievement of local schoolboy cricketers.