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Sunday, 27 January 2013

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‘Oscars’ for young schoolboy cricketers

This annual contest could be described as the ‘Oscars’ for young schoolboy cricketers who could walk with their heads held high looking at their cricketing future. In an era where fewer contests were held to recognise schoolboy cricketers, the Sunday Observer took the initiative to felicitate young talented cricketers, and up-to-date this particular contest remains undisputed as school cricket promoters, these sentiments were aired by former Sri Lanka fast bowler Wendell Labrooy, the runner-up Schoolboy Cricketer of The Year 1991 (Outstation) who also carried away the runner-up awards for the best batsman and best all-rounder.


Wendell Labrooy

Wendell presently a match Referee in the domestic cricket circuit had the unique distinction in topping the 1,000 run mark in a season and during his playing days at Maris Stella College, Negombo no other batsman had achieved this feat since the inception of the school in 1922. Taking 75 wickets with his lively medium pace made him one of the top all-rounders in the school cricket arena.

In the year that champion off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan became the Schoolboy Cricketer of The year (1991) from St.Anthony’s College, Katugastota and Eric Upashantha from Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala took the Outstation Schoolboy Cricketer award.

Wendell is the third from a highly talented cricketing trio. His older brother Greame, Maxwell and Wendell hailed from Negombo and represented Maris Stella College. All three went on to captain the college team. Wendell was an automatic choice for five years and a more than useful batsman for Maris Stella. Besides his bowling, his ability to bat helped him to win the runner-up award of the best batsman and all-rounder in that year’s contest. Greame was energetic paceman who represented the country at Test level while Maxwell was batsman.

There father, Donald Labrooy, boxed for St. Sylvester’s College, Kandy along with Malcolm Bulner. Both Labrooy and Bulner represented the country at boxing and made a name for themselves.

After an impressive stint at club level, Wendell was selected to tour Sharjah in 1995 with the national team for a limited overs series under Arjuna Ranatunga. He could not play in a single match at the tourney, but Sri Lanka won the championship defeating the West Indies. This was Sri Lanka’s first away win. He has represented the country in several ‘A’ team tours and at the Honk Kong and Singapore six-a-side tournaments.

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