36th Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest 2014 :
Grand finale on October 15
The grand finale of the 36th Sunday Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy
Cricketer of the Year contest will be held on October 15 at the Oak Room
of The Cinnamon Grand Hotel from 5.30 pm.
The show of shows brings out the cream of schoolboy cricketers. It
has continued for over three decades and provided the platform for young
aspiring cricketers. It has brought out the inherent talent of players
who have represented the the country at the highest level.
The first Sunday Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the year show was
held at the Galle Esplande, in 1978.
The contest was held away from the metropolis for the benefit of
outstation schoolboy cricketers. The show was a tremendous success with
former Royal College, Colombo Captain Ranjan Madugalle winning the main
award and a memorable occasion for Upul Sumathipala of Mahinda College,
Galle who was crowned the Outstation Schoolboy Cricketer. It was also a
novel beginning for most winners as many represented the country at the
Since then, the show which was first sponsored by Warner Hudnut (Ltd)
has gone from strength to strength with many others joining the stream
of sponsors from time to time to make it a huge success.
From the 1978 Schoolboy Cricketer contest two players went on to
represent the country at the inaugural Test match against England in
February 1982. The duo were Ranjan Madugalle (Schoolboy Cricketer) and
Ashantha de Mel (Royal) who won the Best Bowler’s prize.
Later Hemantha Devapriya (Nalanda, Best fielder), Roger Wijesuriya (St.Sebastian’s,
Moratuwa, Best-all-rounder and Schoolboy Cricketer runner-up), Prasanna
Amarasinghe (Ananda, runner-up best batsman) and Vinothan John (St.Peter’s
who was a nominee for the Best Bowler’s award) played in Tests and ODIs.
Thereafter it has been a steady influx of Test and ODI cricketers who
won some segment or the other at the contests. Arjuna Ranatunga who won
the contest in 1980/81 was a member of the inaugural Test team against
England in 1982 and captained the World Cup winning team in 1996.
A former recipient Kumar Dharmasena will be the chief guest
at this year’s 36th Schoolboy Cricketer of the year contest.
He not only won the main award, but also carried away the Best All-rounder’s
and Best Bowler’s award’s after a highly successful school cricket
career at Nalanda College. Soon after leaving school he joined
Bloomfield C&AC and played a pivotal role as an all-rounder in premier
cricket tournaments. He won his Test ‘cap’ in 1993 against South Africa
after a gutty performance against the Proteas in a warm up game.
Dharmasena took to umpiring due to his love for the game and also to
give something in return for the game. In 2010 he made his debut as an
umpire in a Test match when India played New Zealand in Ahmedabad. He
has played in 25 Test matches and 54 ODIs.
Dharmasena was a member of the 1996 World Cup winning team and after
a successful Test and ODI career he took to umpiring after retiring from
cricket and has reached the zenith of international cricket umpiring. He
is in the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires and probably the most sought after
cricket umpires in international matches.
Reaching the top of the two segments of the game playing and umpiring
is no easy task, but being a Test cricketer (31 tests and 141 ODIs)
coupled with his unwavering confidence has made him a top notch umpire.