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Sunday, 6 October 2013





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Observer schoolboy cricketers Madugalle, Mahanama now ICC Match Referees

Both Ranjan Madugalle and Roshan Mahanama who have won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year on two occasions each were of the view that school cricket is the cradle of Sri Lanka cricket and both believe that Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel and Sunday Observer will sponsor young cricketers in the future too, so that the youngsters will be able to come to the top.

First-ever Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 1979 turned ICC Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle

Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 1983-1984 turned ICC Match Referee Roshan Mahanama

Ranjan Madugalle who has been a popular figure at this competition won it in 1978 and 1979. He is now the Chief Match Referee of the International Cricket Council. Roshan Mahanama, the former Nalanda and Sri Lanka star batsman, won the top award in 1983 and 1984. He is a Match Referee of the ICC.

Madugalle and Mahanama is on par with Arjuna Ranatunga who won the contest in 1980 and 1982 and Thilan Samaraweera won the contest in 1994-1995.

Ranjan Madugalle said it was one of the best things that happened to me in 1978 and 1979 when I won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Award. He said playing for Royal brought him immense joy. The school cricketers must be motivated and the outstation cricketers must not be neglected. This contest will give all encouragement to the school cricketers. Ranjan added that winning the contest gave him a lot of satisfaction and spurred him on and he was able to reach the top because of inter-school cricket.

At the start there were only a few schools playing cricket but the game has spread to all towns and villages in Sri Lanka. School cricket is the stepping stone to become a national and international cricketer.

Roshan Mahanama said that over the past three decades the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest has made an immense contribution for the promotion of school cricket. It has produced many Sri Lanka cricketing legends. This contest has been a source of inspiration to Sri Lanka's budding schoolboy cricketers and is bound to produce more champion cricketers in the future. I'm thrilled by the resounding success of the contest which has always been an important event in local sports calendar.

The Sunday Observer have been in front of sports promotion and with the partnership with Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel would add more strength to Sri Lanka's premier sports contest for schoolboy cricketers, Mahanama said.

Madugalle who showed early promise as a schoolboy at Royal College, became a top Sri Lanka cricketer. He was the first winner of the Schoolboy Cricketer 1978 and went on to captain the Sri Lanka cricket team and now occupies the prestigious seat of Chief Match Referee of ICC.

He was one of the finest allrounders produced by Royal. Besides captaining Royal and then Sri Lanka under-19, he played a vital role against Pakistan to achieve success winning the `Ali Bhutto Trophy' with his allround performances. Madugalle led the Reid Avenue school at the centenary Royal-Thomian cricket encounter and in the same year he won the most prestigious schools cricket title. He went on to captain NCC and Sri Lanka with distinction. As a stylish batsman, Madugalle played 21 Tests and 63 one-day internationals until 1988 and also led in two Tests. After his playing days were somewhat over early in his career, Ranjan Madugalle was associated in decision making, not as an umpire but as a match referee.

Mahanama - many good knocks

Roshan Siriwardena Mahanama of Nalanda College who won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Award for 2 years in 1983-1984, is another Sri Lankan who has acquitted himself well as Match Referee.

Mahanama's contribution to Nalanda in cricket is remarkable. He has played several match winning innings for the college. The high point of his school career was his splendid unbeaten knock of 145 runs in 1984 in the `Big Match' against Ananda which established a record. He was the captain of the team that year.

Roshan's illustrious international career started when he played in the ODI against Pakistan team led by Imran Khan in 1986. Roshan has been the regular opening batsman for the country until 1995. He also led Sri Lanka on a tour to Sharjah in 1994.

His best and most memorable match was undoubtedly in the 2nd Test against India in 1997 played in Colombo. Roshan together with the former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya put on a world record partnership of 576 runs. He made his highest score of 225 runs in that match in a world record team total of 952 for 6 wickets. Jayasuriya went on to score a mammoth 340. The mammoth partnership of 576 runs between Mahanama and Jayasuriya was surpassed in July 2006 in Test by Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena who put on 624 against South Africa.Altogether Mahanama played in 52 Tests and 213 One-Day Internationals scoring 2,576 runs in Tests and 5,162 runs in ODIs. In Tests, he had four centuries and II half centuries, the top score being 225 while in One-Day Internationals his top score was 119 not out.He was also one of the best fielders in the word.

(Reproduced from the Sunday Observer of June 28, 2009)



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