Chandimal going great guns in England
Two notable achievements by former Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of
the Year - Dinesh Chandimal and Thilan Samaraweera, were witnessed last
week. Incidentally, both of them are proud products of Ananda College
which has made a great contribution to Sri Lanka cricket by producing
some sterling performances for the country at the highest level..
While Chandimal is proving his class as a batsman under English
conditions, Samaraweera has been picked by Cricket Australia as a
batting consultant.Former Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the
Year award winner Chandimal is enjoying a memorable tour of England with
the Sri Lanka team. Despite his team's unimpressive performances, the
26-year-old dependable top order batsman has enjoyed a rich harvest
during the current tour. Following his blistering century (126) in the
second Test against England, Chandimal has been going great guns in the
One Day Internationals played during Sri Lanka team's current tour of
the UK. Having warmed up for the ODI series against England with an
unbeaten century against Ireland in the first ODI, Chandimal has
continued to let his willow to do the talking against English bowlers,
often resurrecting his team's batting.
It is good to see Chandimal, who had won the Observer-Mobitel
Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award in 2009, smashing the English
bowlers in the first four ODIs - scoring 37 (first ODI in Trent Bridge),
52 (second ODI in Edgbaston), 62 (third ODI in Bristol) and 63 (fourth
ODI at London Oval), at the time of writing before yesterday's fifth and
final ODI in Cardiff . One hopes that Chandimal would take his stunning
form to Sri Lanka's final match on tour - the one-off T20 International
against England in Southampton on Tuesday (5).
The Mega Show has been a great source of inspiration and
encouragement to country's budding cricketers. Thousands of schoolboy
cricketers, who dream of proudly wearing the Sri Lanka cap one fine day,
focus on their targets when they see their seniors, who had previously
won the top awards at the same contest, going great guns at
Imagine, how stylish opening bat Marvan Atapattu would have felt when
he, as a junior cricketer at Ananda, had witnessed his alma mater's then
captain Arjuna Ranatunga walking on to the stage to receive the coveted
in 1980 and 1982? That had given Atapattu a great determination and a
set a goal that he too could do the same in the years to come. Roshan
Mahanama would have felt the same when his Nalanda school team's former
captain Bandula Warnapura became the country's first-ever Test captain
in 1982. There are many such inspirational moments that schoolboy
cricketers come across when their school seniors of yesteryear making
their presence felt in international cricket. How many Ananda cricketers
at various age groups had felt the same when Chandimal followed the
great footsteps of Arjuna Ranatunga, Atapattu, Sanjeewa Ranatunga,
Thilan Samaraweera, Muthumudalige Pushpakumara and Malith Gunathillake?
Apart from Ananda, its brother school Nalanda too has produced galaxy of
stars who have accounted from the top most award in school cricket.
Heading the proud list of Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year
recipients' list for Nalanda is none other than former Sri Lanka captain
and ex-ICC Match referee Roshan Mahanama, one of the few outstanding
cricketers who had won the top award twice in 1983 and 1984. Besides
Mahanama, only Arjuna Ranatunga (1980 and 1982 for Ananda), Thilan
Samaraweera (1994 and 1995 for Ananda) and Lahiru Peiris (2004 and 2005
for St. Peter's) had had the rare honour of winning the award twice.
Apart from Mahanama, the other Nalandians who had emerged the
Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year are Asanka Gurusinha (1985),
Kumar Dharmasena (1989) and Gihan Rupasinghe (2006). Meanwhile,
39-year-old Samaraweera has been hired as a consultant for the
Australia's National Cricket Centre in Brisbane for a three-month stint
until August. He is currently working with some Australian Test players
who are preparing for their forthcoming tour to Sri Lanka. Reports from
Brisbane said that Samaraweera has already begun to work with Australian
players such as Adam Voges, Shaun Marsh, and Jackson Bird who are not
involved in the West Indies tri-series. The former Sri Lanka Test
all-rounder, domiciled in Melbourne, has also been working with
Australia 'A' team players. Samaraweera had a similar stint at the
academy with Australia's Under-19 team before.
At present, Samaraweera is working with the Australian Test players
on two turning pitches prepared at the academy with a view of
experiencing Sri Lankan conditions.
Australia team is due to begin their three-Test series against Sri
Lanka in Pallekele on July 26.