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Sunday, 2 September 2012





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Observer-Mobitel cricket contest gives inspiration to young cricketers

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.

Roger Wijesuriya

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 Test cricket.

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.



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