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Observer -Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year

Sanjeeva - second to win top award from same family

CRICKET: Sanjeeva Ranatunga became the second to win the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest from the same family in 1988. Previously his elder brother Arjuna Ranatunga who captained the World Cup winning side in 1996 was crowned as Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in the year 1980 and 1982 and made an indelible mark in the annals of Sri Lanka cricket.


Sanjeeva Ranatunga - Schoolboy
Cricketer of the Year 1988

Like the famous Mohamed brothers in Pakistan Hanif, Mushtaq, Sadiq and Wazir, and the siblings of other countries who have hit the top in International Cricket the Ranatunga brothers Dammika, Arjuna and Sanjeeva - all were members of the Lankan Test teams. Dammika Ranatunga the eldest brother of Arjuna and Sanjeeva, played Test cricket under Arjuna. The other Ranatunga, Nishantha too, played under Arjuna in a solitary one day international in Sharjah.

Sanjeeva after his school career, joined his brother's club SSC and was groomed to be a Test cricketer. Sanjeeva Ranatunga, although lacked the flamboyancy like his brother Arjuna, was a steady and a stylish left-hander who had played 13 Test matches and over 45 ODIs during an era where a fewer number of Tests were played.

Sanjeeva Ranatunga said that the competition is a unique one and based on merit as a good percentage of the winners too were not only in Colombo, but those in the outstation town too have won awards. It is no doubt a much look forward event during the school cricket season for the players and the family as well. He also pointed out the steady growth of young talent in the rural areas and the SLSCA officials should not neglect that area.

"The year I became the Schoolboy Cricketer All Island, Sanath Jayasuriya won the Best Schoolboy Cricketer Outstation and what a journey Sanath had been having thereafter".

The contest is certain to identify the talent and the high performances of the players who launch their forward march towards the International arena. Sanjeeva Ranatunga made his Test debut along with Chaminda Vaas and Ravindra Pushpakumara against Pakistan. Although Vaas and Pushpakumara did not win awards at a show of this nature both proved to be outstanding Test cricketers.

Sponsors play a big role for the survival of any kind of show , and whoever the sponsors are, they should be applauded for the encouragement given to the schoolboys.

The sponsors also feel that their money invested for a worthwhile cause is not wasted. Because almost every year the show produces an outstanding cricketer as we have seen along with the other talented players in other categories.

A good example is Dinesh Chandimal won the contest in 2009 and was included in the Sri Lanka team for the T20 World Cup that was held in the West Indies a few weeks later and two years after that, he made a strong claim to enter the national side and toured England this year. He wished all the success for the partnership between Sunday Observer and Mobitel for many more shows.

 

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