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Observer-Mobitel Contest shows the path to success in cricket - Vaas

The Sunday Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest is a show of a life time for young aspiring cricketers who are hoping to pursue with the game and to represent the country.


Chaminda Vaas

The former Josephian and Sri Lanka left-arm paceman Chaminda Vaas who is now the bowling coach of the national team, has never won an award at a contest , but will go down in Sri Lankan cricketing history as the most successful medium pace bowler besides spinner Muralitharan being the highest Test and ODI wicket taker.

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.

Thereafter, 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 open the 'doors' widely by including a Silver Segment which looks exclusively for the cricket playing schools in the remotest areas.

Vaas 356 Test wickets

This was the view of former Sri Lanka Test fast bowler Chaminda Vaas who bowled his heart out 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 Observer Schoolboy Cricketer Award could be at times an advantage as well as a disadvantage. Some think that winning the award is everything and lose 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 Gurusinha, 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 and others who which will help them to improve their cricket.

Talent emerging from outstations

We see more and more talented players emerging from the outstation towns, 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 a two Test series and five ODI's and a T20.

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. He is exploring the possibility of finding fast bowlers for the future.. Vaas concluded saying that the path making into the Sri Lankan team is a vigorous one and the players will have to train hard with one hundred percent commitment, to get in there.

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