Anandian Malith Gunatileka wins both top awards
Anandian Malith Gunatileka, the Schoolboy Cricketer of The Year 2007
has achieved something unique in the Sunday Observer/Mobitel Most
Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of The Year contest by becoming the only
player to win both the top awards ,the main award of Schoolboy Cricketer
of The Year, selected by a panel of top umpires from the Association of
Cricket Umpires, Sri Lanka and the Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer
Award (All-Island) through voting by the readers.
Malith Gunatileka wins two top awards
Besides these two top awards he also won the prizes for the Best
Bowler, Best Allrounder and Best Captain and took major honours at the
Gunatileka a more than useful right hand batsman, showed plenty of
talent while bowling too, which made him a blossoming allrounder.
His left-arm leg-spin was his main weapon which mesmerised the
batsmen and had brought him a rich harvest of wickets and as a batsman,
he could wield the willow at any batting position.
It was unfortunate that he could not continue with the game soon
after leaving school and playing in the major domestic tournaments due
He continued his studies to become a Management Trainee and
succeeded. Later he joined the Chilaw Marians and played in the Under 23
and Premier Tournaments and fared well.
He said that he loved the game of cricket very much which has taught
him many lessons, and his dedication has brought him rich results.
He thanked the ANCL and the Sunday Observer and the sponsors Mobitel
for organising an excellent job to recognise the young schoolboy talent
which are the future players for the country.
It is no exaggeration to say that there are a good number of players
who have won awards and gone to represent the country at the highest
The additional segment of the competition for schools playing in
division 3, mostly from outstations will no doubt give more
opportunities to display their talents. In the recent past we have seen
more players emerging from the rural areas and coming into the
All credit should be given to the Sunday Observer and Mobitel for
finding new avenues in promoting cricket in the country.
Malith Gunatileka became the sixth Anandian to win the prestigious
award in 2007, with world conquering captain Arjuna Ranatunga twice
(1980 and 1982), Sanjeeva Ranatunga (1988), former Sri Lanka captain and
the present batting coach Marvan Atapattu (1990), Thilan Samaraweera
twice (1994 and 1995), Muthumudalige Pushpakumara (1999).
Eight years later Gunatileka won the award in 2007 and the last
Ananda players to be crowned was the present vice captain and the T20
captain Dinesh Chandimal in 2009.
In the 2007 school cricket season Gunatileka had an impressive season
taking 90 wickets. The other Anandians who had taken over 90 wickets in
a season were Anurudha Polonowita, Palitha Premasiri, Ajith de Silva and
Sonny Yatawara. Gunatileka’s great season was underlined when he was
instrumental in beating Royal after 47 years. The main architect in this
memorable win was Gunatileka who had the startling match figures of 13
for 58 and he led the team judiciously.