Sanjeeva has kept the Ranatunga name on for 3rd time
Sunday Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year: Sanjeeva
Ranatunga, the fourth in a distinguished cricketing Ranatunga family won
the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award and was the 6th Anandian to
win the coveted award in 1988.
In an era where Ananda produced a number of cricketers who later went
on to represent the country, Sanjeeva Ranatunga was one of those players
who went on to stamp his class at the highest level, after being crowned
as Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 1988.
Emulating the feat of his brother Arjuna who achieved in 1980 ,eight
years later Sanjeeva was crowned with the title which was a dream come
true for any schoolboy. His elder brother Arjuna, won it twice in 1980
and 1982 in the same year that Sri Lanka played the first ever official
Test match against England in February 1982.
Arjuna Ranatunga was a member of that historic team led by Bandula
Warnapura and had the honour of scoring the first half century in Test
match cricket for his country.
Arjuna, as a schoolboy, had the privilege of facing one of the best
left-arm spinners in the world during that time - Derek Underwood in
that inaugural Test and faced him confidently while on his way to his
half century before he was finally caught by wicket-keeper Bob Taylor.
The eldest of the Ranatunga’s Dammika was also a Test player while
Nishantha represented the country in a ODI series. Sanjeeva Ranatunga
paid a rich tribute to the Sunday Observer and the sponsors Mobitel for
conducting the contest for 35 years spending their valuable time and
money to support Sri Lanka cricket. The contest over the years have
produced a good number of cricketers who have represented the country at
the highest level.
Sanjeeva was pleased with the progress of the contest which has
benefited many cricketers. He said that there are more opportunities for
the schoolboy cricketers from the rural areas with the contest being
held in three categories.
This competition recognises the efforts of the schoolboys through out
the years, and finally the deserving one’s will be recognised and
There is an abundance of talent in the rural areas which has surfaced
and the contest will no doubt put them on the right track to forge ahead
for the future of cricket in Sri Lanka.
In the recent past cricketers from lesser known schools like Tharindu
Kaushal from Devapathiraja, Ratgama and Akila Dananjaya from Mahanama
Vidyalaya, Moratuwa have been recognised as potential spinners for the
Sri Lankan team. In fact Dananjaya played in an international T20 series
while Tharindu Kaushal was included in a Sri Lankan squad to meet New
Zealand after performing impressively at the Under 19 World Cup held in
Australia. But both Tharindu Kaushal and Akila Dananjaya have not got
the adequate exposure to display their true talent.
There is more talent coming from the outstation schools which augurs
well for the future of Sri Lanka cricket.
Sanjeeva Ranatunga represented the country in nine Test matches in an
era when Sri Lanka played a fewer number of Test matches.
However, he displayed his batting prowess scoring back to back
hundreds against Zimbabwe.