Rambukwella keeps lead in All-Island Contest and dour
battle rages between Gamage and Vimukthi in Outstation Segment:
Observer-Mobitel Contests reach climax
By Ranjan ANANDAPPA
OBSERVER-MOBITEL: The three-cornered tussle for the most Popular
Schoolboy Cricketer of The year 2011 All Island and Outstation
competitions are gearing up for a grand finale on May 15. Coupons should
be handed over or posted on or before May 19 (Thursday) before 1.00 pm.
Please note that there will not be a readers prize (Cash or T-shirts)
in the competition from this stage onwards.
Ramith tops 200,000
for the Observer-Mobitel Most popular Schoolboy Cricketer of
the Year will close on May 19 by 12 noon.
The last set of voting
coupons will be published in the Sunday Observer on May 15
and in the Daily News, Dinamina and Thinakaran until May 18.
With little over a week to
go for the conclusion of voting for the popular contest,
Royal captain Ramith Rambukwella extended his lead and
became the first to poll over than 200,000 votes in the
33-year-old history of the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year
He strengthened his lead
with a staggering 204,102 votes. In second place is Ananda
spinner Sachithra Perera (192,217), followed by former Royal
skipper Bhanuka Rajapakse (176,476). K. Gamage of Vidyartha
(84,605) regained the lead in the Outstation contest.
However, he enjoys only a slim 23-vote lead over
second-placed Dushan Vimukthi of Panadura Royal.
The coupons continued to pour in favour of Royal skipper Ramith
Rambukwella, Anandian Sachitra Perera and the other Royalist Bhanuka
Rajapakse who have been dominating the competition from coupon number
one. Royal College captain Ramith Rambukwella has topped the 200,000
vote mark and Anandian Sachitra Perera is placed second with 192,217
votes, 11,885 votes behind Rambukwella. Winner of the third place
Bhanuka Rajapakse has polled in 176,476, but thereafter the margin of
majority between the last seven contestants is becoming bigger and
bigger and looks hard to catch up.
In the Outstation category, there is going to be a photo finish
between the first two contestants Keeshan Gamage of Vidyartha College,
Kandy and Dushan Vimukthi of Royal College, Panadura. Believe it ! the
deficit between Gamage and Vimukthi is just 23 votes and the ultimate
winner of the Outstation category will be anyone’s guess when the
For the last 33 years the Sunday Observer has provided the backbone
for young aspiring cricketers from all corners of the country. The
recipients get a terrific boost prior to their entry into the big league
journey in the cricketing world.
The majority of the winners have represented the country at the
highest level at cricket and a couple of recipients have gone beyond the
boundary, holding high profile posts at the International Cricket
Council. The first Schoolboy Cricketer Ranjan Madugalle has been
bestowed with the honour of being the ICC Chief Match Referee for some
time, ahead of twice World Cup winning captain West Indian Clive Lloyd
and other reputed cricketers. The former Royal College and Sri Lanka
cricket captain Ranjan Madugalle, a gentleman to the most literal sense,
won this prestigious award twice (1978/1979). Former Sri Lanka opener
Roshan Mahanama who was a contemporary of Madugalle, is also a ICC Match
Referee and became the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer twice in 1983 and
The latest addition to the distinguished ICC match official list is
former Sri Lanka all-rounder Kumara Dharmasena (Schoolboy Cricketer
1989) who has successfully stood as an umpire at all levels of
International cricket matches and has won the confidence of the players
in quick time. The confidence will no doubt help Dharmasena to pursue
his career far. They say that there are no short cuts to succeed in
umpiring, but Dharmasena has proved that conception is not one hundred
There is an unprecedented keenness shown by the schoolboys and all
others concerned that the running of Inter-school matches should get due
recognition. The Observer Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the year show
should be a morale booster for the future of the schoolboy cricketers.
SLT/Mobitel will be the third sponsor in the history of the Observer
Schoolboy Cricketer Contest series after Warner-Hudnut and Bata got the
show moving. Ranjan Madugalle became the first Schoolboy Cricketer in
1978/1979 when Warner-Hudnut sponsored the inaugural event.
The contest will have the usual backing of the Sri Lanka Schools
Cricket Association and the Association of Cricket Umpires in Sri Lanka.
The Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer category will be selected from the
voting process while the Schoolboy Cricketer of The Year will be
selected by a panel of umpires who have officiated in school matches and
selecting players according to their performances during the season.
Dinesh Chandimal who has been included in the Sri Lanka Test squad on
the England tour party, was the Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer
2009. Chandimal a player with immense potential, who was tipped to be in
the recently concluded World Cup squad but discarded, finally has found
a place in the Test squad. He is the seventh player from Ananda to win
the Schoolboy Cricketer plum, besides Arjuna Ranatunga (1980/81),
Sanjeeva Ranatunga (1988), Marvan Atapattu (1990), Thilan Samaraweera
(1994/95), Muthumudalige Pushpakumara ( 1999) and Malith Gunatileka
Chandimal has made steady progress to the top. He made his maiden
cricket tour with the under 15 team to Malaysia in 2006 and did not look
back thereafter. In the following year, he toured India with the schools
team for a triangular tournament and the next year toured Bangladesh for
a youth Test series with Bangladesh. Chandimal proved that he is a
player for the future by striking a fine century in a three day game
against New Zealand in 2009 for the Board XI.