Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 2 June 2013





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Observer-Mobitel contest has given cricketers all encouragement

The Sunday Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest will no doubt give the hard working schoolboy cricketers the confidence they need for their future endeavours during their march towards national recognition.

Chaminda Vaas – the bowling coach

For over three decades this competition has been conducted smoothly and the outcome of it has been very productive. Going down memory lane it is heartening to learn the number of top class cricketers coming through the process. The very first two players Ranjan Madugalle (Royal) in 1978 and there after Arjuna Ranatunga twice went on to captain the Test side with distinction. There after a steady influx of ODI, Sri Lanka and Test cricketers were seen pouring in.

The number of outstation cricketers who have won awards and gone on to represent the country is also too numerous to mention. The competition has opened the ‘doors’ widely by including a silver segment which looks exclusively for the cricket playing schools in the remotest areas.

This was the view of the former Sri Lanka Test fast bowler Chaminda Vaas, the most successful Sri Lanka fast bowler during his 111 - Test match career where he took 356 Test wickets and scored over 3,500 runs. Vaas who was a member of the World Cup winning team under Arjuna Ranatunga in 1996 further said that winning the coveted Schoolboy Cricketer award could be at times an advantage as well as a disadvantage.Some think that winning the award is everything and their their composure. Instead they should have a vision that some day they are going to represent the country. More than half a dozen of past winners like Ranjan Madugalle, Arjuna Ranatunga, Asanka Gurusinghe, Roshan Mahanama, Thilan Samaraweera and Kumar Dharmasena to name a few have reached the top.

These players had a vision and they achieved it by ending at the highest level of the game. They went one step further as Madugalle had the honour of being the ICC Chief Match Referee and Mahanama, too, was selected as a Match Referee while Kumar Dharmasena was selected to the Elite Panel of Umpires.Vaas further said that the present day generation think that they know everything on the cricket field. They should try to emulate the more experienced players like, Arjuna, Mahanama, Mahela, etc. which will help them to improve their cricket.

We see more and more talented players emerging from the outstation areas, which is a good sign for future cricket. Chaminda Vaas who is the second highest Test wicket taker (356) in the country besides Muttiah Muralitharan (800) is presently the national bowling coach and left for England with the Sri Lanka team who will be playing in the Champions Trophy. His expertise bowling in English conditions will surely help the young fast bowlers when they start playing. At the moment there is a dearth of genuine fast bowlers in the country. The only left-arm fast bowler Chanaka Welegedera who looked good on English conditions had to skip the Champions Trophy due to an ankle injury. He is exploring the possibility finding fast bowlers for the future.

Recently there were five bowlers from the North specially brought down to Colombo for one of Vaas’ bowling clinics and two looked very impressive. Vaas concluded saying that the path making into to the Sri Lankan team is a vigorous one and the players will have to train hard with one hundred percent commitment.


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