Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 2 January 2011





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For the 33rd year in succession..... :

School Cricket's Mega Show again

CRICKET: Sri Lanka’s first-ever schools cricket awards ceremony which has been recognising young talent for over three decades is on once again. The 33rd Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest will be launched once again with the dawn of the New Year.

Ranjan Madugalle, the first recipient of the Observer  Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title, at last year's Mega Show

The show to beat all shows in recognising schoolboy talent in cricket will be continued for the 33rd year. Coupons to pick the Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year All-Island and Outstation contests will be published in the ANCL (Lake House) group of newspapers - the Sunday Observer, Daily News, Dinamina and Thinakaran, from today and would be continued until the end of the inter-school first XI season. The end of the season would be marked by that mega show which richly rewards the most outstanding as well as the most popular schoolboy cricketers from all over the island.

The proud sponsor of the Mega Show for the fourth successive year will be Sri Lanka’s national mobile service provider - Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel, which has been in the forefront of the cellular telephone industry.

Incidentally, the SLT Mobitel is also the proud sponsor of Sri Lanka’s national cricket team.

Thanks to the untiring efforts of SLT Chairman Nimal Welgama and the CEO of SLT Mobitel Suren J. Amarasekera and its board of directors, the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year show would be on once more to inspire the budding cricketers, who need a helping hand to step into the big league.

It was way back in 1979 that the Sunday Observer, Sri Lanka’s flagship English newspaper with the largest circulation and No. 1, rating, organised the inaugural Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year show, sponsored by Halliborange. Subsequently, Bata Shoe Company stepped in as the sponsor of the show before SLT Mobitel stepped in 2008 with a lavish sponsorship package which provided big cash incentives not only to the outstanding schoolboy cricketers but also to those men who have been playing a praiseworthy job behind the screen to produce them - coaches, masters-in-charge, umpires and other officials.

The Sunday Observer, the undisputed market leader as Sri Lanka’s most sought-after English newspaper for over eight decades since 1928, identified the need to recognise the raw talent and inspire them to do even better at club and national level. With these goals in mind as a true corporate citizen, the Sunday Observer embarked on a landmark project in 1979 to salute the most outstanding schoolboy cricketers, years ago even before even the schools cricket body ever thought of rewarding schoolboy cricketers or conducting a first XI Tournament for Under-19 cricketers.

Former Royal, NCC and Sri Lanka captain Ranjan Madugalle, the present Chief Match Referee of the ICC, was the first recipient of the inaugural Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year show held at Nawarangahala in 1979.

The prestigious Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year show has gone from strength to strength, producing the cream of Sri Lanka cricketers who have excelled at the highest level.

Apart from Madugalle, the other recipients of the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year awards who went on to captain Sri Lanka are Arjuna Ranatunga, Roshan Mahanama and Marvan Atapattu.

Sri Lanka’s heroes at the 1996 World Cup triumph Sanath Jayasuriya and Asanka Gurusinha are among the galaxy of former Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year star recipients, along with spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan.

That alone speaks the high volumes of credibility the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year show has earned over the past three decades, going from strength to strength.

The Sunday Observer’s new partnership with the SLT Mobitel made it even a greater show of high magnitude with enhanced prize money and high-quality trophies which eventually become lifetime memories for the outstanding schoolboy cricketers.

Subsequently, several award shows have emerged to reward schoolboy cricketers and the Sunday Observer is happy that its initiative has paid rich dividends to those outstanding schoolboy cricketers.

As the proud host of Sri Lanka’s most prestigious and the oldest schools cricket award show, the Sunday Observer is happy to see several other organisers stepping in to conduct schools cricket awards shows.

What matters is the game and its development. Our aim has always been to inspire those outstanding schoolboy cricketers and give them a helping hand to step into the big league.

It is not the individuals that matters but how we recognise the talents of schoolboy cricketers and recording them.

As the Mother of all School Cricket Shows continues its rich traditions for the 33rd year, we are extremely delighted to see several other awards shows coming up to reward those deserving heroes of school cricket. Let the wonderful game of cricket become the ultimate winner!

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