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DateLine Sunday, 11 May 2008





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A great trier Kaushalya won Observer Schoolboy Cricketer award in 2000

Kaushalya Weeraratne the schooboy cricket star who won the Obsever Cricket Award in 2000.

CRICKET: One of the outstanding schoolboy cricketers from Kandy, Trinity College’s Kaushalya Weeraratne who recently represented Sri Lanka in the three one-day internationals against the West Indies was the winner of the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of Year Award in 2000.

Performances in two-day inter-school matches during the September 1999 to April 2000 season and national participation were taken into consideration by the panel of umpires when deciding the winners and runners-up.

Allrounder Kaushalya Weeraratne born on 29th January 1981 in Gampola who was picked as the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year, captained Trinity College, Kandy, (the only school in the world to own a Test class cricket stadium) for two consecutive years.

He also won national representation, playing in the Asia Cup Tournament in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1999.

Kaushalya was also a member of the under-19 Youth World Cup team and he captained Sri Lanka under-19 cricket team’s tour of England. Besides winning the top award, Kaushalya Weeraratne was also picked as the Best Bowler and Best Allrounder by a panel of umpires from two associations - the Association of Cricket Umpires (Sri Lanka) and Central Province Cricket Umpires Association, Southern Province Cricket Umpires Association failed to turn up for the selections.

The 27-year-old Weeraratne is a left-handed batsman and a right-arm medium fast bowler. He had plenty of success at school cricket and proved his capabilities with the bat and ball for Trinity in the year 1999 and 2000.

In both years, he topped 1,000 runs and also had the best bowling performances, claiming 72 and 69 wickets respectively. Kaushalya Weeraratne played two key roles in the 1999 and 2000 ‘Big-Match’ against St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota, the traditional rivals. He won the prestigious ‘Lion’ award for Excellence in cricket.

After his school career, Kaushalya has played for major teams Bloomfield, Colts CC, NCC, Kandurata and Ragama CC in the premier league tournaments and Twenty-20 tournaments.

Waiting for Test-place

Kaushalya Weeraratne has yet to play in a ‘Test’. He made his debut in the one-day international against Bangladesh in Dhaka on 29th May 2000. He has already played in eleven one-day internationals, scored 41 runs at an average of 10.25.

He has plenty of potential in him though, bowled 408 balls captured 6 wickets. He doesn’t have any big scores. His highest has been 14 and he has just six wickets to his credit, with 3 for 46 as his best and he has held one catch.

He was part of the Sri Lankan under-19 World Cup squad in 2000 and was selected for that year’s Asia Cup in Dhaka. Since 2005, he has played Twenty-20 cricket. He holds the record for the fastest ever 50 beating Englishman Adam Hollioake’s record by 3 runs in a 12-ball effort. His innings for Ragama CC included a 34-ball over with 5 successive sixes.

A right arm medium pacer whose stock delivery is the out-swinger, Kaushalya was earmarked early as an allrounder for the future. His bowling was stronger than his batting during the initial stages, but he had the ability to hit the ball cleanly. He was an integral part of Sri Lanka’s under-19 World Cup squad in 2000 and his 12 wickets at an average of 13 a piece, helped him along to the senior team.

Weeraratne made his ODI debut in the Asia Cup 2006. However, poor form and injury resulted in Weeraratne failing to cement his place in the team and he spent nearly five years on the sidelines after his 11th ODI in 2003.

He forced himself back into reckoning after successfully adjusting his action. He scored a blistering half-century off 12 balls which was the fastest fifty in one-day cricket during a domestic match in 2005. He received a call up to the national squad for the tour of West Indies in April this year.

Weeraratne had a very good run in England, playing for Potter Bar Club along with West Indies wicketkeeper - batsman Patrick Browne. In his first game for Bar against Heartford back in 2006 he showed the difference between good club cricketers and a professionals as he blasted an amazing 118 not out from just 92 balls.

He finished the 2006 campaign as leading scorer in the division with 837 runs to his name at an average of 55.80 after hitting two centuries and six half-centuries. Kaushalya also took 22 wickets during the season. Last season, Weeraratne took 8 for 27 with the ball when Potters Bar faced Sawriddeworth at The Walk.

Barbadian Browne, 26 was called into the West Indies pre-tour squad ahead of the 2007-2008 South Africa trip and made his One-Day International debut as a specialist batsman. A Potters Bar cricketer in 2004, Browne, played in three matches in South Africa and finished the series with a batting average of 59.

Wicket-keeper batsman Browne who was called up by the West Indies and Kaushalya Weeraratne faced each other. It was the first time that two players who have represented a Herts Club cricket side have met at international level.

Changed action

Weeraratne spent five years on the sidelines of the Sri Lanka team, but he has forced himself back into the reckoning after successfully remodelling his action.

With the cricket season fast approaching Potters Bay players will be keeping a keen eye on the fortunes of Kaushalya Weeraratne despite the allrounder being unavailable for selection for their 2008 campaign.

Weeraratne’s aim is to represent Sri Lanka in Test Cricket. Many Sri Lankan cricketing giants of the past and the present have won awards at coveted Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year awards show, organised by the Sunday Observer.


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