Lahiru Peiris - Observer Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer in 2004
By Leslie Fernando
CRICKET: Lahiru Peiris, the St. Peter’s College Cricket captain of
2006 who is celebrates his 21st birthday today (June 1st). He became the
first Peterite to win the Observer Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of
the Year Contest - All Island twice in 2004 and 2005. The elegant
right-hand batsman, Lahiru, was also picked as the runner-up to
Nalandian Gihan Rupasinghe in the 2006 Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of
the Year Contest.
Lahiru Peiris Observer Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer in 2004
The young and energetic Managing Director at Peumi Pharama (Pvt) Ltd,
at Moratuwa, Lahiru has started to turn out for Sebastanites SC in the
Premier League Cricket Tournament despite the big responsibilities that
he has to attend to daily.
The high point of his school career was his match-saving defiant
unbeaten century III not out with 13 boundaries for St. Peter’s in the
2006 ‘Big Match’ against the traditional rivals St. Joseph’s College
played at the Saravanamuttu Stadium.
St. Joseph’s elected to bat first and declared with a formidable
total of 335 for 5. St. Peter’s in reply were dismissed for 193 and the
Petrites were facing a big defeat as they were forced to follow-on.
Lahiru played a sheet-anchor role to pull the Peterites out of the mess.
Lahiru, coming in at number four batted with courage to remain
unbeaten at the close with that unbeaten centures. St. Peter’s were 279
for 3. He shared two valuable partnerships, first with S. Gunaratne for
the third wicket (131) and with Anuk Silva 97 for the 4th wicket.
Lahiru started playing cricket in 1999 and has captained the under-13
and under-15 and 1st XI teams. In the final round match in the under-13
tournament Lahiru scored his first century 113 with Wesley College at
Campbell Park grounds.
He toured Chennai and Bangalore with the under-13 division one
champion team in 2000. Lahiru has played in several all-island inter
district tournaments conducted by the BCCSL and has performed well. He
toured with the national under-15 team to United Arab Emirates (UAE) for
the under-15 Asia Cup and he scored two half centuries against Pakistan
He has been a member of the Peterite 1st eleven team for four years
in-a-row 2003 to 2006. He scored 560 runs and captured 13 wickets with
off-spin in the 2004 season, the highest being against Prince of Wales
College, Moratuwa unbeaten 76.
Lahiru played in the ‘Big Match’ and 50-over limited over game
against Joes and did well. Played in the Elephant Lemonade tourney and
hit a fine 70 against Lumbini MV in the final round match in 2004.
He went on a scholarship to Australia in 2003 arranged by the Sri
Lanka Cricket Foundation of Victoria. He played for Carey Baptist
Grammer School in Kew and did exceptionally well and was awarded the
Whilst in Melbourne, Lahiru also played for the Old Peterite cricket
team that won the one-day six-a-side competition conducted at the Barry
Simon Reserve Hills on Australia Day. Dr. Quntus de Zylva, the President
of the Sri Lanka Cricket Foundation of Victoria was a source of great
assistance to Lahiru when he was in Melbourne.
In the year 2005, he became the Sri Lanka Schools under-19 Best
Batsman. He was among the 25 players in the squad for the Under-19 World
Cup to England, but was unlucky not to be included in the side. Lahiru,
for the second time, went to Australia for a scholarship at the
invitation of Sri Lanka Cricket Foundation of Victoria.
On this occasion too, Dr. Quintus de Zylva together with Whinstone
Foenander, the President of Old Peterite SC arranged Lahiru’s
scholarship to Australia.
During the 2005 school cricket season, Lahiru showed his class to
score over 650 runs including four half centuries against Royal, De
Mazenod, President’s College Kotte and Gurukula MV.
He was given the opportunity to lead the Peterite team in the last 13
games due to regular skipper Hans Fernando doing national duty with the
under-19 team in England.
Lahiru performed well and led the team with authority. He guided the
Peterites to victory against Royal after a long period of time and also
helped them to gain three wins and the rest of the games ended in no
decisions. But Peterites gained first innings lead. In the annual
limited-over match against Josephians, Lahiru hit a superb half century
(55) to guide Peterites to victory at R. Premadasa Stadium at Khettarama.
His best performance in inter-school cricket was in the year 2006.
Lahiru captained the Peterite team admirably to be unbeaten. Under his
clever leadership, St. Peter’s College recorded four outright wins and
in all other games, gained first innings lead. He was well supported by
his teammates during the entire season. He scored 497 runs with III not
out being the highest score against the Josephians in the ‘Big Match’.
Lahiru was presented a special award and colours from the Sri Lanka
Schools Sports Council for his 2005 and 2006 performances in cricket.
He has been a leading figure in the St. Peter’s College cricket team
and no doubt has helped the Peterites in a big way in becoming the Best
Cricket Team in the All-Island Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year
Contest. The St. Peter’s College champion cricket team was represented
by Lahiru Peiris (captain), Uma Samsudeen (vice captain) Anuk Silva,
D.C. Udugamsooriya, Lakshan Rodrigo, Tivanka Silva, Shan Gunaratne,
Chathura Peiris, Vishal Magage, Chanaka Fernando, Angelo Perera,
Chathura Peiris, Shivanga Rangasooriya, Ruwan Wickremanayake, Jayan
Karunanayake, Mevan Samarasekera, Chevan Edirisinghe, Surnaga Rodrigo.
He had a number of successes at St. Peter’s and it was quite natural
that he was picked as the Best Batsman-All Island in the 2006 Observer
Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest. He has also picked as runner-up
for the main award. Lakshan Rodrigo won the Best Bowler’s Award and D.C.
Udugamsooriya won the Best Allrounder’s award (both Peterites) in the
2006 contest All-Island. It was a fine showing by the Peterites winning
four awards in the 2006 contest.
After leaving school, Lahiru did not find much time to continue
playing big time club cricket as he was occupied following management
trainee and administrative course.
He is ever grateful to his parents, Rev. Fr. Travis Gabriel, Rector
St. Peter’s College, Rev. Fr. Sunil Ranjith Perera, Sports Co-ordinator
of St. Peter’s, Wasantha Hapuarachchi, Master-in-Charge of Cricket who
have been a source of inspiration to Lahiru’s cricket career.
Lahiru also thanked his first coach Janaka de Silva, L.H. Sunil one
of the best junior coaches and Roger Wijesooriya.
Lahiru who made an exceptional start in his school career as a fine
batsman was unable to play for major club immediately after leaving
school. He said that he has now started playing for his home town club.
Sebastianites SC and hopes to do well.