Another hero is born
Ruwantha Fernandopulle 30th Observer-Mobitel
Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest:
It was a star studded memorable night at the BMICH and another
cricketing star was born. July 18, 2008 will always be remembered. He
was the cynosure of all eyes.
The unassuming lad Ruwantha Fernandopulle, the Skipper of St.
Joseph’s College Colombo and fifth year couloursman made an indelible
mark at the first ever Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year
contest with an overwhelming victory of 103,076 votes after seventeen
weeks of voting, setting a record for the highest number of votes ever
to be secured at the contest during the past three decades to be
nominated the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year.
The previous record of 28,000 votes which was held by Thushan
Amarasuriya, Skipper of Royal College who won the All Island Title of
Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 1999, securing 23,504
votes which was broken in just the tenth week of voting when Ruwantha
marked 40,615; yet another feat of triumph and glory in the annals of
the prestigious contest.
Victory was quite apparent as the weeks went by and the count was
being announced. Ruwantha’s closest rival was Naveen Kavikara of D. S.
Senanayake College, Colombo who secured 47,363 votes while Rasitha Dilan
of Bandaranaye M.V., Gampaha topped the Outstation contest with 59,090
votes to win the Outstations title.
‘The Sunday Observer’ editorial was inundated with coupon entries as
counting continued; three readers prizes and three Mobitel Smart
connections winners were picked weekly amidst much enthusiasm.
Meanwhile, Ruwantha Fernandopulle a talented batsmen and skipper in
an interview with Sunday Observer said his love for cricket was a
childhood aspiration in so much that he had begun playing at the age of
seven. He first played for College when he was eleven-years-old with
much inspiration from his father, a former cricketer himself and his
mother who was his biggest fan.
My mother Marina never failed to be at every match I played. She
cheered and gave me immense encouragement and so did my young sister. I
used to some times call her my private coach. I am also proud that I
have brought honour and fame to my alma mater; Fruits of virtue and
knowledge Ruwantha said smiling.
Correction does much but encouragement does more. Encouragement after
censure is as the sun after a shower it is said. And so it was for
Ruwantha; his innate talent and the encouragement he received saw a
dream come true. Before long, his commitment for the game took him to
He was made the Vice Captain of the Under 13 side, the Captain of the
under 16 side in 2004 and subsequently became the Under 19 Captain and
most outstanding cricketer too. The last Joe-Pete Big Match was yet
another feat in Ruwantha’s cricketing career when under his stewardship
St. Joseph’s College recorded a sensational win against St. Peter’s
College after a lapse of 36 years. This was a great accomplishment for
“I also made another record; a school’s opening partnership record of
263 between Dumuthu Karunaratne and myself against St. Anthony’s
Katugastota and an any wicket partnership against Trinity College at
Asgiriya in February,” he said.
“In 2007/2008 fifteen matches were played of which four were outright
wins while 11 were first inning wins. But, we unfortunately lost the
I was sad, but, winning and losing is all part of the game and I
believe the game should be played in the correct spirit”. He was also
given the Captaincy of the Sri Lanka Under 17 Tri Nation side, winning
the Golden Hope Challenge Trophy. “I also played a little Club cricket
in Australia,” he said. Last year he had played for the Under 23 Chilaw
“Much tribute should go to the epitome of my success, Harsha de
Silva, the Josephian coach and Kumar Sangakkara who even gave me his bat
and took time off his busy schedule and Chaminda Vass a Josephian and
national player who coached me on the finer points and Charlie
Warnakulasuriya, Nishantha Hennayake, Kapila Manohara, Wasantha
Jayasekera and Thishan Nonis who helped me make all my cricketing
endeavours a great success.
All these simply proves that “Victory belongs to the most
persevering. You have to believe in yourself and not be afraid to make
mistakes; failures are the pillars of success they say. I gave my team a
spirit of faith”, he said smiling.
Ruwantha’s sound progress and accomplishment as an outstanding young
cricketer has inspired him to reach greater heights: his aspiration is
to play for the Sri Lanka team too.
A youngster of repute, Ruwantha has successfully combined sport and
studies. Having done well at the Advanced Level Examination Ruwantha
hopes to concentrate on Finance and Accounting as a career. Apart from
his busy schedule Ruwantha enjoys listening to music and playing the
guitar; a wonderful form of relaxation, he says. Congratulations and
good luck from all of us and your fanclub, Ruwantha!