Make use of all opportunities to prove your worth – Sanath
Observer/Mobitel Cricket contests Dedication, discipline, commitment
and hard work is the key to success not only for a successful cricket
career but also in one’s day-to-day life.
These sentiments were expressed by Sanath Jayasuriya when he spoke
about cricket in general and the Sunday Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy
Cricketer Of the Year Contest which is now in progress.
Jayasuriya, went on to advise the young aspiring cricketers to
concentrate and to be consistent in whatever they do to reach the top in
any format of cricket that they play and take every given opportunity to
prove your worth.
The flamboyant left-hander Jayasuriya, was a bowlers’ nightmare
during his hay days and made his Test debut in 1991 against New Zealand
in Hamilton. He represented the country in 110 Test matches and 444
He has 6,973 Test runs with 14 hundreds and 13,428 ODI runs including
28 centuries with a highest score of 189 against India. He has an
amazing tally of fours (1,500) and (270 sixes) in his 432 ODI innings
while representing his country for two decades. He captained Sri Lanka
from 1999 to 2003.
This popular contest which has lasted for more than three decades, is
no doubt a beacon light for the young cricketers. Most of the recipients
have represented the country at the highest level and Jayasuriya was
proud to be one of them.
Jayasuriya won the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year (Outstation) plum
in 1988 in addition of winning the Best Batsman and Best All -rounders
awards, when he played for St. Servatius College.
In that year, the All Island Contest was won by Anandian Sanjeeva
Ranatunga. If St.Servatius College had been eligible to participate in
the All Island Contest, Jayasuriya would have been a strong contender
for the title. However, Sanath Jayasuriya and Sanjeeva Ranatunga the
winners of the main awards that year, made their international debuts
almost at the same time.
Jayasuriya after his illustrious school cricket career was quickly
identified as a potential player for the country in double quick time
and after representing Bloomfield C&AC was selected to tour Pakistan
with the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team. He hammered two double hundreds in the
unofficial Test series against a strong Pakistan ‘A’ team and was
included in the Sri Lanka Test squad to Australia.
Jayasuriya did not play in a Test on that Aussie tour, he was branded
mainly as a limited overs player. In 1995, Jayasuriya toured Pakistan
for a full Test and ODI series under Arjuna Ranatunga which included
players like Roshan Mahanama, Asanka Gurusingha, Kumar Dharmasena,
Muthiah Muralitharan, Sanjeeva Ranatunga and Romesh Kaluvitharana all
award winners at the Sunday Observer conducted contest.
It is quite apparent that the Sunday Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of
the Year Contest has played a significant role in encouraging players
for the future.
That 1995 tour of Pakistan was also a disappointing one for
Jayasuriya as he was not picked to play in a Test match. For the first
time Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in a away Test series (2-1). They beat
Pakistan in the ODI series, too, which Sanath Jayasuriya played a
vibrant role in victory.
The following year, Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluvitharana from
St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa who won the Best Fielders’ prize at a
contest, made the cricket world topsy-turvy with their devil- may-care
batting display following the instructions of skipper Arjuna Ranatunga
and coach Davenell Whatmore at the 1996 World Cup which Sri Lanka won.
The opening combination of Kaluvitharana and Jayasuriya which
provided the team the early advantage of the fielding restrictions to
good effect which the other teams failed to capitalise. The duo was the
most feared opening pair that pulverized the bowlers.