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Sunday, 4 August 2013

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'One drop' bat - the best batsman in side - Asanka Gurusinha

The Sunday Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of The Year Contest 2013 is a eagerly awaited contest and it's a known fact , that in cricket the number three batsman or as some describe as the 'one drop' bat, plays a very important role in a batting line up ,and people say that the place spoken usually about should be where the best batsman comes in.


Asanka Gurusinha very active cricketer in his young days

Sri Lanka has been having many top class number three batsmen in the past , and in the recent past ,two batsmen who invariably come into the minds are former captain Anura Tennekoon who has claimed many accolades home and abroad for his impeccable technique from who ever saw him batting during the pre-Test era, and Roy Dias who belonged to both eras who also displayed his batting artistry .

Asanka Gurusinha , the stockily built left -hander should be considered as one of Sri Lanka's most prolific 'one drop' batsman in the side who played a pivotal role when Sri Lanka won the 1996 World Cup under Arjuna Ranatunga. Based on a 125-run partnership between Gurusinha (65) and Aravinda de Silva who hammered an unbeaten century, the pair restored the innings for Sri Lanka as they beat Australia in the final which paved the way for a new dawn in Sri Lanka cricket.

Born on September 16th ,1966, Asanka Pradeep Gurusinha was selected as the Sunday Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of The Year 1985 ,the year he captained Nalanda College. At the tail-end of his school cricket career, Gurusinha, went further to stamp his class as a future Test prospect when he scored an unbeaten century in the 56th Ananda-Nalanda 'Big' cricket encounter and immediately followed it up by scoring a century for a Board President's XI against a touring Indian team captained by Kapil Dev.

The Indian team included players like Sunil Gavsaskar, Dilip Vengsakar, Krish Srikanth, Maninder Singh and Ravi Shashtri to name a few. His century against the tourists, virtually opened the 'gates' for Gurusinha to win representative honours.

In 1984, Gurusinha played under Roshan Mahanama who had already won the Schoolboy Cricketer of The Year Contest twice ( 1983-1984). The following year (1985) Gurusinha was elected as captain and Roshan Mahanama was a member of that strong outfit. Soon after leaving school, Gurusinha joined SSC and later NCC. His illustrious international cricket career began when he made his Test debut against Pakistan in the 3rd Test at Karachi in 1986.

Gurusinha 41 Tests

Gurusinha played in 41 Test matches and 147 ODI's and was the 32nd Test 'cap' for his country. His has seven Test hundreds and eight Test 50's. He has scored centuries against Pakistan (1), New Zealand (3), Australia (2) and Zimbabwe (1). Against Pakistan, Gurusinha batted at number three and gradually cemented his place. Being a strongly built left-hander Gurusinha, provided the much needed solidarity in the side's batting. He soon became an important 'cog' in Sri Lanka's batting machine which included players like Aravinda de Silva, Arjuna Ranatunga, Roy Dias and Roshan Mahanama etc.

Gurusinha now domiciled in Australia brought back nostalgic memories, saying that the Sunday Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of The Year Contest during his time time was a highly competitive one with highly talented schoolboys in many schools vying for honours.

So it was a eagerly looked forward to event in the school cricket calendar at the end of the season. Most of the school cricketers ,let it be in the All-Island Contest or the Outstation Contest have gone on to win representative honours and wished all success for the future.

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