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Malith Gunathileka - a record... Schoolboy Cricketer and Most Popular Cricketer



Malith Gunathilake - double win in 2007 - Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year and Most Popular Cricketer of the Year.

In the 30-year-old Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest, Malith Gunathileka, the Ananda College captain set up a record as he won both the top awards Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year and the Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Award 2007.

He was picked the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year by the umpires and the readers voted him as the Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year All-Island.This was the first time that a schoolboy got the two top awards in the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year competition. Besides the top awards, Malith was also picked as the Best Allrounder and also figured prominently in the contests of the Best Bowler and Best Captain. The 22 year-old allrounder Gunathileka, became the sixth Anandian to win the coveted award. He followed World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga (twice) 1980 and 1982, Sri Lanka ‘A’ team captain Sanjeeva Ranatunga (1988), former Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu (1990), Thilan Samaraweera (twice) 1994 and 1995, Muthamudaliage Pushpakumara (1999). Malith blossomed out as a fine allrounder. He was a right-hand bat and left-arm ‘leggie’. He was able to fit in at any position in batting and he was a clever match-winning bowler too. He caused have among top cricketers in the schools.

But once his playing days for school were over, he didn’t come into the big league immediately due to injury and he was also following a course as Management Trainee. Malith is now attached with Chilaw Marians Cricket Club in the under-23 division and Premier Tier ‘A’ First Class cricket. He has done extremely well and has performed well. He is enjoyed at Gamma Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd as an Management Trainee. The company gives me all the encouragements to play cricket freely, said Malith.

Dedication brings results

“I love cricket and I put everything to the game. My dedication has brought me results”. He thanked ANCL and Observer for organising this contest for the past 30 years. The Observer should continue the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest as this contest gave the boys much needed enthusiasm to do well, Malith Gunathileka said.There is lot of encouragement for players in the outstation towns due to a sectional contest for them too.

Malith commended the sponsors - Mobitel for extending their full support for schoolboy cricketers.

His ambition is to play for Sri Lanka in ‘Tests and one-day internationals in the near future.

Born on 29th March 1987, Malith played cricket for Ananda from the age of 10 years in various age groups. He has captained under-14, under-16 and 1st XI teams with great success.

His best performances for Ananda came in the year 2007. When he had a good season, scoring 602 runs which included a century and four half centuries.

His best innings was against Richmond where he got an unbeaten 100 and 50. His half centuries were against St. Joseph’s 74, Mahinda 76 not out and Wesley 51.

Best Anandian bowler

In bowling, he was a left-arm ‘leggie’ and captured 16 wickets during the 2007 cricket season. He set a record being the first Anandian to capture 90 wickets or more in a school cricket season. The other Anandians who came close were Anuruddha Polonowita, Palitha Premasiri, Ajith de Silva, Sonny Yatawara.

Malith’s best effort in bowling was a match haul of 13 for 58 against Royal. Due to his great bowling and able leadership, Ananda beat Royal after 47 years. The other best performance came against St. Benedict’s College (13 for 32).Malith had a match bag of 5 wickets on 13 occasions in the 2007 season. He was also a smart fielder in any position. A fourth-year coloursman, he also played for Old Anandian SC in Division Three Cricket Tournament and also played in the Under-20 Provincial Cricket Tournament with success. He was in Sri Lanka Schools spin clinic managed by former Sri Lanka player Ruwan Kalpage. Malith Gunathileka, the gifted allrounder who has performed exceptionally well in the inter-school cricket matches, is determined to achieve success in the domestic tournaments and gain selection to SL Cricket Development Pool and barge ahead.

 

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