Bhanuka Rajapakse joins elite band of cricketers
OBSERVER-MOBITEL SCHOOLBOY CRICKETER: Former Royal College Captain
Bhanuka Rajapakse achieved the unique feat to join the elite band of
schoolboy cricketers when he was judged The Sunday Observer/Mobitel
Schoolboy Cricketer of the year for the second successive year (2010 and
2011) at a glittering ceremony held at the Hotel Galadari Ballroom
amidst a distinguished gathering last Monday.
Sanka Ramesh (Moratu Vidyalaya) Schoolboy Cricketer of the
Year (Outstation). receives his award from Media Minister
Prior to Rajapakse, only former Sri Lanka World Cup winning captain
Arjuna Ranatunga (1980-1982), Roshan Mahanama (1983-1984), Thilan
Samaraweera ( 1994-1995) and Lahiru Pieris (2004-2005) have won the
contest on two occasions. In the 33-year-old history, ,Bhanuka Rajapakse
became only the third Royalist to win the coveted award. Previously
Madugalle (1979) and Roshan Jurangpathy (1986) now domiciled in
Australia, won it.
Jurangpathy made his Test debut against India when Ranatunga and
Madugalle were also members in the same team under Duleep Mendis.
First a swimmer
Bhanuka Rajapakse, speaking to the Sunday Observer soon after he had
won the school cricket crown, said that he excelled as a swimmer in his
younger days, but had to give up the water sport due to a life
threatening illness. “ I was down with meningitis, a brain effecting
disease and doctors advised me not to dive. So I took up to cricket. I
have studied right throughout at Royal and represented the schools under
19 team which has really opened the doors for me. I will concentrate
more on cricket but I hope to live a balanced life, without mixing up
cricket and studies” he said.
He represented the Under 19 Team at the last World Cup in New Zealand
and played a prominent role which has helped him to captain an Under 19
team when their counterparts from England arrived last year. Bhanuka, in
the two ‘Tests’ that he played, scored 309 runs with a top score of 149
averaging 103 runs. Among the other players in that team who were
recipients in this year’s Schoolboy Cricketer Of the Year competition,
were: Amila Aponso who won the Best Bowlers Award (All Island),
Dhananjaya de Silva _ Best All- Rounder and Runner-up Schoolboy
Cricketer Of the Year (All Island), Lahiru Abeyratne (Runner-Up Best
Fielder, All Island) and Shehan Jayasuriya (Runner Up Best Batsman, All
(All-Island): Akila Jayasundera of Trinity College receives
the award from Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella. ANCL
Chairman Bandula Padmakumara is also in the picture.
Most Popular Schoolboy
Cricketer of the Year (Outstation): Keshan Gamage of
Vidyartha College, Kandy receives his award from Senior
Associate Editor Sunday Observer Pramod de Silva and Senior
Chief Sub Editor Sunday Observer Dudley Jansz on left.
Schoolboy Cricketer of
the Year 2011 Bhanuka Rajapakse (Royal College, Colombo)
fourth from left with VIP officials from left Mahindananda
Aluthgamage - Minister of Sports, Dinesh Weerawansa the
Editor-in-Chief Sunday Observer, Wijesiri Ambawatte Director
Telecom/Mobitel, Bandula Padmakumar Chairman/Managing
Director , Muttaiah Muralitharan(chief guest) and Media
Minister Keheliya Rambukwella.