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Sunday, 15 September 2013





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The most effective for schools – Duleep

Former Sri Lanka Test captain Duleep Mendis who is back in the Island after a short coaching stint in Oman, took a bit of his time to say that the Sunday Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of The Year Contest as one of the most effective contests in recognising schoolboy cricketers. It has recognised young schoolboy talent for the past 34 years and has produced many captains and Test and Sri Lanka cricketers in no uncertain terms during the past three decades. Mendis said that although he has not won any awards in any contests , he could faintly remember winning an award in an outstation contest while at St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa, which was categorised as an outstation school during his playing days at the Moratuwa school.

Going down memory lane from Ranjan Madulaglle who won the first contest in 1978, and there after Arjuna Ranatunga who twice won the coveted award, it has been a steady influx of the cream of Sri Lanka cricketers coming through the process. He wished all the very best for the Sunday Observer/ Mobitel Cricket Contest for the future.

The hard-hitting right-hander Mendis was a bowler’s nightmare even during his school playing days. He hammered a hurricane century in the annual ‘Battle Of The Blues’ between Royal and S. Thomas’ which kept the crowd spellbound and was quite evident that be would make the top grade in the near future.

Prior to Sri Lanka gaining full Test status in 1981, Mendis made his debut for his country in 1972 soon after leaving S. Thomas’ in an Unofficial Test match against Pakistan at the P. Sara Stadium. He was a member of the Sri Lanka’s Inaugural World Cup Team in 1975 captained by Anura Tennekoon. Although losing to Australia, captained by Ian Chapell, Mendis along with Sunil Wettimuny, both who suffered injuries while facing the ‘thunderbolts’ of Jeff Thomson, gave a spirited batting display to give the Aussies many anxious moments.

Mendis, made his Test debut ten years later in February1982, playing in the first ever Sri Lanka Test team against England. He has played in 24 Test matches and captained the team after Bandula Warnapura.

In Mendis’ 1,324 Test runs, he has four hundreds and has scored twin hundreds against India 105 in each innings at Chepauk in 1982/1983. He also missed twin hundreds against England at Lord’s by scoring 111 in the first innings and 94 in the second innings.

Mendis played another memorable century with Roy Dias who also struck a hundred when they saved the side from a certain defeat at the Asgiriya Stadium in 1985. He played his last Test in 1988, against England at Lord’s. Thereafter he served SLC in various capacities and managed the World Cup winning team in 1996.


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