Sri Lanka’s batting star Thilan won Observer top Schoolboy award in
1994 and 1995
CRICKET: Thilan Thushara Samaraweera who became the tenth Anandian to
represent Sri Lanka in Test cricket, was twice winner of the Observer
Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award in 1994 and 1995 and on both
occasions, he also won the Best Batsman and Best All-rounder awards too.
A batting star in Sri Lanka team.... Thilan Samaraweera - the
Ananda College batting star who crowned himself with glory,
being picked Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 1994
and 1995 acknowledges the cheers of the spectators to a fine
Thilan has carried his early promise as a outstanding cricketer to
higher levels and is presently in the West Indies representing Sri Lanka
against the Windies in Tests and one-day internationals. He has appeared
in his 40th and 41st Tests against the West Indies. He stroked a fluent
54 in the First Test and followed it up with a fine knock of 125 in the
Second Test, which, however, ended with a Windies victory.
Born on September 22nd in 1976, Thilan took a liking for the game of
cricket from his young days and his devotion to the game brought him
It was a success story all the way from his early days at Ananda and
he never looked back and his perseverance brought him rich rewards which
brought him his place in the Sri Lanka team in 2001.
At Ananda, Thilan had a number of successes. He captained the under
14 team and went on to lead the under 16 team too with distinction. His
talent as a cricketer was spotted by a familiar name in cricket,
Anuruddha Polonnowita who has served the country well in cricket and
then as coach too, Polonnowita’s name ranks high on the list. Thilan was
fortunate that he had the guidance of Polonnowita and this pair worked
Ananda cricket has flourished by leaps and bounds today and no Sri
Lanka cricket team is complete without an Anandian in it. Writing from
memory of the Anandians who won Test caps were (all coached by Anuruddha
Polonnowita) World Cup winning captain and Observer award winner in 1980
and 1982 Arjuna Ranatunga, Ajith de Silva, Sidath Wettimuny, Charith
Senanayake, Dhamikka Ranatunga, Sanjeewa Ranatunga Observer award winner
in 1989, Brendon Kuruppu, Chandika Hathurusinghe, Thilan Samaraweera,
Dulip Samaraweera brother of Thilan, former Sri Lanka skipper Marvan
Atapattu, the Observer Award winner in 1990, Avishaka Gunawardena, Dinuk
Thilan was prolific scorer in 1994-1995 school cricket season. He
topped 1,000 run mark in both years with five centuries and equal number
of half centuries. Thilan actually started his career as an off-spinner.
He captured 72 wickets in the 1994 season and claimed 64 wickets in the
1995 school cricket season.
Thilan’s contribution has been of great significance for the progress
of the Anandians in the years he was playing for them. His success
enabled him to go places in his school cricket career.
Once his school days were over, he came into the club scene
automatically. He was a regular player for he champion Sinhalese Sports
Club in the BCCSL conducted cricket tournaments. He has played several
valuable innings for the side.
Thilan made three centuries recently for the SSC. He celebrated his
selection to the Tests in the West Indies with a typically workmanlike
184. Together with Thilina Kandamby, Thilan figured in a double century
partnership, putting on 248 for the fourth wicket to guide SSC to the
top in the Premier League Tournament against Colts CC.
Samaraweera with his recent fine performances, has gained a permanent
place in the team for his solid right handed batting, but he is also a
capable off-spinner. He started his career as an off-spinner, but he
couldn’t find a way into the side due to the presence of Muttiah
Muralitharan. He managed a handful of ODI games in 1998, but didn’t play
Test cricket until August 2001.
Having worked on his batting considerably, he got his reward by
scoring a century on debut against a strong Indian side, helping Sri
Lanka to win the series 2-1. Thilan, at his best is a stubborn and
talented player, sure in defence and also equipped with several
attractive stokes. He has monumental patience and an unperturbed
temperament few will forget. His century against India at the SSC
grounds in 2001, will bear ample testimony.
He continued to occupy the stage with another three centuries in his
next five Tests all on his home ground, the SSC. This stunning start to
international cricket cemented his place in the middle order, a spot
which had ‘holes’ to fill with the retirements of Aravinda de Silva and
After a somewhat poor Test Series in England in which he failed to
reach double figures in any of his four innings, he was dropped from the
side. He was made captain of Sri Lanka ‘A’ team before earning a recall
for the first Test against Australia in Brisbane. He scored 13 and 20
and was promptly dropped when Kumar Sangakkara returned to the side for
the second game in Hobart. This was followed by his non-inclusion in the
squad to play England in the first Test in Kandy.
Thilan is one player who never gives up without a fight. He fought
his way back to the Sri Lanka Test side with fine batting form in the
Premier League Cricket Tournament for SSC and earned a place to tour
West Indies where he batted with great courage and determination to
score a valuable half century and century in the two Test matches.
Thilan has played 41 Test matches and has scored 2,268 runs at an
average of 42.78. He has notched six centuries and fifteen half
centuries in Test cricket.
His highest score is 142 against India. As a bowler, he has delivered
1,285 balls and claimed 14 wickets, best figures 4 for 99 against
Bangladesh. Thilan has held 30 catches.
He has played in 17 ODIs and has scored 199 runs, captured 10
wickets. Top score in one-day games is 33 and best figures 3 for 34 has
taken three catches.
Speaking about the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer Contests,
Thilan said that he gained much enthusiasm from the contests and the
other schoolboys too have gained much.
Thilan also said that cricketers from lesser known schools like
Ginigathhena MV, Poramadulla MV both from Nuwara Eliya District,
Kularatne MV, Ambalangoda, Revatha MV, Matara and Ananda Maithriya
College, Balangoda to name a few, are now playing competitive cricket
due to the interest shown in the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the
Year Contest sponsored by Mobitel.
He said that about 90 per cent of Sri Lanka cricket team have won
awards in this contest. Thilan further said that the game of cricket is
not confined to the popular schools, the game has spread throughout Sri