Observer-Mobitel Cricket Awards....:
Amalgamation of umpires’ Associations good for game
OBSERVER-MOBITEL CRICKET: The Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of
the Year contest is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable shows which
is a source of inspiration for the up and coming schoolboy cricketers in
the country today.
The importance of the show is, selection of the nominees and the
accuracy in picking the winners in the respective categories which is
easily depicted if one goes through the number of recipients who have
represented the country at the highest level of the game.
Nihal Pathirage - President of The Association of Cricket
Umpires (Sri Lanka)
“ From Ranjan Madugalle to Roshan Mahanama, Arjuna Ranatunga and to
the recent Dinesh Chandimal the list could go on and on and it will be
certain that more and more talented cricketers not only in Colombo but
also in the rural areas will be discovered through this show,” said
The President of The Association of Cricket Umpires Nihal Pathirage
who is no stranger to shows of this nature. He, too was in the running
for the Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer in the Year 1986 as a schoolboy
at Nalanda College. Pathirage was heading the list then in the Most
Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year All-Island for a couple of
His contemporaries former Test players Roshan Mahanama, Asanka
Gurusinha, and during the latter stages of his career Kumar Dharmasena
all have won the prestigious award while wicket-keeper Gamini
Wickremasinghe was a good enough player to be in the contest. Pathirage
was closely linked with school cricket while he was a Director at Mass
Communication at Lakbima as they were closely connected to school
In 2003, Pathirage decided to go on his own and started his Apparel
Industry, but he is still directly involved with school cricket on a
request by Thilanga Sumathipala who is also one of his contemporaries
while at Nalanda.
There are about 20,000 cricketers in schools playing in all grades in
the Island and the first to see these players in action are the umpires
and he regretted that most of the people still do not realise the role
played by the umpires and the players who are the main actors in the
The umpires monitor the players at the tender age of under-13 and
they get the opportunity to see them in action very frequently. In the
selection process the umpires play a vital role and very often their
choice has been justified as most of the winners have ended up as Test
Pathirage has all the credentials to be the head of the ACUSL. He
captained Nalanda College in 1986 and excelled as an all-rounder.
He was a member of Colombo Schools XI and later represented
Bloomfield where he captained the Sara Trophy team and also captained
the BRC in the under-23 tournament. Pathirage who was elected
uncontested as the President of the ACUSL merged a split in the umpires
fraternity by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the newly
formed Association of Professional Cricket Umpires headed by former Test
player Asoka de Silva.
The MOU should help the standard of the umpiring specially at school
matches, as there has been a serious lapse in umpiring at school level.
Now that the two sides have merged, the standard of umpiring should
improve and it is good for the game.