Observer-Mobitel cricket contest gives inspiration to young
SCHOOLBOY CRICKETER CONTEST: Sebastianite Roger Wijesuriya had the
honour of being the runner-up Sunday Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the
year in 1979 to Ranjan Madugalle who became the ultimate winner.
Both Madugalle and Wijesuriya were selected to represent the country
as schoolboys with another Royalist Sudath Pasquel for the 1979 second
World Cup held in England.
In that World Cup, Sri Lanka being a non-Test playing country, beat
India in a group match.
India was captained by S. Venkataraghavan and Sri Lanka was captained
by Deputy Bandula Warnapura in the absence of Anura Tennekoon who was
sidelined by injury. Although Wijesuriya did not play in that game,
Madugalle and Pasqual did, and made a fair contribution towards the win.
The left-arm leg-spinner Roger Wijesuriya commenting on the Sunday
Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest said that the contest
gives great inspiration for the young cricketer who is looking forward
for a career in cricket. “It gives an opportunity for the winners to
look back at your achievements during your school days.
It is encouraging to note that a good number of recipients have
represented the country at the highest level and I am sure it will
continue in the future as well.
Cricket contest something to remember
Every school boy should try to achieve something to remember while at
school and this contest is no doubt a memorable one for a school boy to
do so,” he said.
Wijesuriya said that the credit should also go to the panel of
umpires who do a great job in selecting the winners judging, by their
performance during the school cricket season.
Most of the umpires officiate during the cricket season and they are
better equipped to do a good job in making the final decision.
Wijesuriya played in a fewer number of Test matches during an era
where many Tests were not played. He played a couple of Test matches
against Pakistan in Pakistan and came to know the gravity of all about
After being the runner- up to Madugalle in the 1979 contest, both
Ranjan Madugalle and Roger Wijesuriya were thrown in to the deep end
when they were included in the 1979 World Cup Squad. Wijesuriya being a
spinner, feels that spinners mature as time goes by and he feels that
his exposure at a tender age as a schoolboy was a bit too early. He had
to compete with spinners like D.S. de Silva, Lalith Kaluperuma and Ajith
de Silva at that time who more superior and more experienced.
Many talented youngsters
Spinners should be caught young like any other player and they should
undergo vigorous training. They should play for clubs for some time and
play in the ‘A’ teams prior to playing at the highest level.
There are many talented youngsters ,but one should be able to spot
the player who will make the grade and pursue with him. It is a fact
that we come across some exceptional players also coming through to the
top grade,” Wijesuriya said.
Roger Wijesuriya is a professional coach attached to the SLC Academy
and is in charge of an important sector coaching the under 15 and under
17 national cricket squads. Prior to that, he was in charge of the-under
19 national team.
He was also the coach of St. Benedict’s, St. Peter’s and Royal, in a
coaching career spanning over a decade producing champion outfits.