Observer-Mobitel carrying on good work of former administrators
Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Officials and Umpires at the selection Of the
Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of The Year Contest
2011 at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Angsana Room. Seated from
left: Carlton Bernadus (Manager School Cricket Development
Sri Lanka Cricket), Nishan Danasinghe (President Association
Of Cricket Umpires Sri Lanka), J.H.M.W. Ranjith (President
Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association and Principal Nalanda
College), Indika Amarasuriya (Marketing Manager, Mobitel),
Seelaratne Senarath (Director Editorial ANCL), M.T.A. Rauf
(Secretary SLSCA), G.W.J. Senaratne (Vice President SLSCA),
Ignatius Anandappa (Administrative Secretary Professional
Cricket Umpires), Standing from left: J. Shantha Indrajith
(Tournament Secretary Ladies Cricket, MIC Kegalu Vidyalaya),
Nishantha Kumara (Under 19 Tournament Secretary), Kapila
Jayalath (Treasurer SLSCA), Keerthie Gunaratne (Under 13
Tournament Secretary), Dilshan de Silva (Chairman Selection
SLSCA), Sisira Weerasinghe (Junior Selector), Nihal Fernando
(Under 19 Tournament Secretary). Pic: Susantha
Observer-Mobitel Selections: After a lot of deliberation, a panel of
twelve officials connected to the school cricket fraternity, selected
the award winners at the Sunday Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of
The Year 2011 final selection. Among the official were J.H.M.W. Ranjith
(President Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association and Principal, Nalanda
College), Nishan Dhanasinghe (President of the Association of Cricket
Umpires Sri Lanka), Carlton Bernadus (Manager School Cricket
Development, SLC), S.A.K.S. Indrajith (Tournament Secretary Ladies
Cricket) Keerthie Gunaratne (Under 13 Tournament Secretary and
Master-in-Charge, Coach Anuradhapura CC), G.W.J.Senaratne
(Vice-President, SLSCA), Y.Nishantha Kumara (Under 19, Tournament
Secretary, SLCA), Sisira Weerasinghe (Junior Selector, SLSCA), Kapila
Jayalath (Treasurer SLSCA), M.T.A.Rauf (General Secretary, SLSCA) Nihal
Fernando (SLSCA), Dilshan de Silva (Chairman, Selection Commitee, SLSCA)
There were also umpires from the Association of Cricket Umpires who
have officiated in school cricket matches during the season who could be
considered the closest to a player while in the playing field.
The award winners of the Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the
Year 2011 Contest will be announced shortly and the Show will take place
Most of the Masters in Charge of schools take a keen interest in
their requirements of the school cricketers as many came from humble
backgrounds. They not only encouraged the winners in taking part in
sports, they also gave preference to studies, adding credence to the
adage of ‘Studies and Sports Should Go Hand in Hand’.
It is a known fact that in Sri Lanka, school cricket is the cradle
for the future cricketers. Sri Lanka’s school cricket has maintained a
very high standard from early days, much earlier than then the country
gained full Test status. Latent talent could be spotted very early in a
youngster and from that point it is difficult to stop him from his
During this journey and specially at school with the assistance of
the school authorities, the youngster starts developing to be a future
prospect. So there is no doubt that school cricket provides the stepping
stone to a youngster’s career in this country.
So,in whichever era the school cricket authories came into existence,
they could put their heads up and be proud of the service that they
rendered for the development of cricket in the country.
For example in the present lot of officials, there were dedicated
officials and President’s (SLSCA) in the past as well, in the calibre of
Bertie Wijesinha (St.Benedict’s) Angelo Rayer (St.Joseph’s), Christie
Gunasekera (Royal), M.W.Karunanada (Trinity/Ananda), Orville Abeynaike
(S.Thomas’), Bede Puvimanasingham (St.Benedict’s), Mr.Kandasamy, Gerry
Gooneratne (Nalanda), Trevor Nugegoda (Nalanda) Brian Seneviratne
(St.Peter’s) and Frank Cooray to name a few.
The Principals of fame P.M.Jayatileka (Thurstan), Neville de Alwis
(S.Thomas’), H.L.B.Gomes (Royal), are some school heads of yester-year
who spent their time, energy and money travelling the length and breath
of the Island to hunt for talented cricketers who went on to represent
the Under 19 National Cricket Team.
Due to their untiring efforts, Sri Lanka were able to discover
players from all parts of the Island. Finally most of these players went
on to represent the country in cricket at the highest level.
During the above mentioned gentlemen’s era in their respective
schools, specially in the year 1971, then Ceylon, the country produced
probabaly the best Under 19 Schools Cricket Team for a tour of India.
Ceylon, although not a full member with Test status, made a stunning
impact and the schoolboys by their performaces beat their strong Indian
counterparts in a ‘Test’ match in India.
This team was led by Mithra Wettimuny (Ananda) and had a strong
combination of players that included Asitha Jayaweera, Jagath Fernando
and Lakshman Thalaysingham (Royal), Duleep Mendis (S.Thomas’), Bandula
Warnapura, Leslie Narangoda (Nalanda), Ananda Jayatilleka (Ananda), Rory
Inman (St.Peter’s), Wendell Kelaart, Manik de S. Wijeratne,
(St.Joseph’s), Ajith de Silva (Dharmasoka, Ambalangoda), Priyantha
Jayasekera, Ajith Mendis (Prince of Wales) and late Dinesh Rajaratnam
Eleven years later, in 1982, Bandula Warnapura was elected to captain
the first ever official Test match against England. Duleep Mendis who
joined S.Thomas’ from St.Sebastian’s and Ajith de Silva who joined
Ananda from Dharmasoka College Ambalangoda after his successful Indian
tour, were also members in that team.
With more schools playing the game in a big way in many formats, the
school cricket authorities have a bigger task in the organising
capacity, and the present lot of officials seem capable of handling the
An efficient and dedicated set of school cricket officials were
responsible in selecting the award winners of the 33rd Sunday Observer/
Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest.
There have been no stones turned around during the selection process.
In fact, the responsibility of the selection of winners in a competition
of this nature has always been done by the umpires who have seen the
schoolboys at play. The selection was done strictly on merit without
taking into consideration school or club loyalty.