Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 26 June 2016





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16 days more for the Mega Show

The Countdown has begun for the moment thousands of schoolboy cricketers across the country have been dreaming of! It is just 16 days to go for the grand finale of the 38th Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year awards ceremony to be held in Colombo.

Needless to say what a memorable moment it has been for schoolboy cricketers in all corners of the country. It is the big occasion where the most outstanding schoolboy cricketers of the season would be richly rewarded for their hard work during the season. Holding aloft that glittering Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Crickcter of the Year trophy is the ultimate dream of any schoolboy crickcter but only the champion of champions would become lucky to do that and join the select band of cricketers who have won this prestigious title since 1979.

Flashback: When Ranjan Madugalle returned to Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year stage as the chief guest eight years ago - Umesh Karunaratne of Thurstan College, Colombo, Observer Mobitel School Boy Cricketer of the Year 2008 received his award from chief guest Madugalle at the BMICH.

When one looks at the list of proud recipients of the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title, it is evident that this great show has been the stepping stone for some of the top cricketers who had excelled for Sri Lanka in international cricket.

From the first ever winner of the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer title – Ranjan Madugalle, the captain of Royal College team in 1979 to the vice-captain of the current Sri Lanka team Dinesh Chandimal, who won the top award for Ananda in 2009, many outstanding Sri Lanka cricketers have come to limelight through the mega show. Among the galaxy of Sri Lanka stars who had come to limelight through the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year show are Sri Lanka’s world cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga, former Sri Lanka captains Sanath Jayasuriya, Roshan Mahanama, Marvan Atapattu, world record holder for most number of wickets in Test cricket Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lanka’s world champion team members Asanka Gurusinha and Kumar Dharmasena to name a few.

Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel’s entry to the show with a lavish sponsorship package has further improved the quality and the standard of the event during the past decade. Chief Operative Officer of SLT Mobitel Nalin Perera, with his passion for cricket, has always extended his fullest support for the event under the blessings of the CEO of SLT Mobitel and Chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom.

Some of the top past award winners and former Sri Lanka cricketers , including Ranjan Madugalle, Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Marvan Atapattu, Sidat Wettimuny and Russel Arnold, have graced the recent awards shows as the chief guests. There is no exception this time around and another former Sri Lanka captain who had won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the title will be the chief guest at this year’s awards ceremony.

Going by the great success of the show over the past four decades and its contribution to Sri Lanka cricket, this is how some of the past award winners had expressed their views on the event in recent times:

Former Sri Lanka captain and ICC Chief Match Referee RANJAN MADUGALLE: The Sunday Observer should be complemented for keeping this great show going since 1979. Sponsors are essential to keep the show going. May this event continue for many more years.

In the past, most top awards were won by schoolboy cricketers from Colombo and its suburbs. But now, the outstation schools have come in a big way and it is a positive sign for the game Sri Lanka’s world cup-winning captain ARJUNA RANATUNGA: “You may go places and win many other awards at higher levels subsequently, but an award won at Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year event remains the most memorable in any cricketer’s life. Winning the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award twice remains the most cherished moment in my life. That gave me tremendous inspiration and confidence when I stepped into the big league. When a schoolboy wins a key title, that is a big boost for that youngster, who could then aim at club level and national level thereafter.”Former Sri Lanka captain and ICC Match Referee ROSHAN MAHANAMA: “It has always motivated schoolboy cricketers at the end of each season, recognizing their hard work. These events motivated us as youngsters. It is always a great motivation when you know that your achievements are being recognized.”

Former Sri Lanka captain and ex-national coach MARVAN ATAPATTU: “When I was a student at Ananda, I witnessed the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year awards show in 1982. I saw Arjuna Ranatunga emerging out of a huge cricket ball, erected on stage, to receive his top award as the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year. That was a great inspiration to me and I thought that I could make my family, the team and my school proud if I could win that top award one fine day. The things worked well for me to emulate that feat eight years later.”

Former Sri Lanka spinner and the world’s highest Test wicket taker MUTTIAH MURALITHARAN: “Schoolboy cricketers are the future players of Sri Lanka who will keep Sri Lanka’s flag flying wherever you go. I was very happy to be back at the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year show as the chief guest, some 20 years after I won that award as a schoolboy cricketer from St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota. We must pay a tribute to the Sunday Observer for its role in rewarding the outstanding schoolboy cricketers.”

Former Sri Lanka captain and Chairman of Selectors, SANATH JAYASURIYA: “The winner of the Observer Schoolboby Cricketer of the Year award stands a good chance of representing the country, if they continue the game with dedication. If you win the top award, you stand a big chance of playing for Sri Lanka in near future. When you see the star schoolboy cricketers who had won this prestigious award in the past, it is evident that most of them have ended up with the national team and underlined their supremacy in the international arena. Once you win the title, you only need commitment and dedication to secure a place in the Sri Lanka team.”

Former Sri Lanka all-rounder and ICC Elite panel umpire KUMAR DHARMASENA: “Winning the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title in 1989 was the biggest turning point in my cricket career. In fact it was a big blessing to my school career when I stepped in to club cricket and international arena after representing Nalanda in school cricket. When you win such award, you are always a step ahead. It was the most rewarding thing that a schoolboy cricketer could ever dream of, after all the hard work during a strenuous season of over seven months. The Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award was a source of encouragement for me to go places in international cricket.

Sri Lanka cricketer DINESH CHANDIMAL: “I thought if I win the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer award, I would definitely be selected to the Sri Lanka national squad in future. Going through the history of past school cricketers, who had won this top award, it was evident that most of them have represented Sri Lanka with distinction.”


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