Observer Schoolboy cricketer of the year:
Bhanuka going great for Sri Lanka U-19
Last yearís Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year and
former Royal captain Bhanuka Rajapaksa once again lived out to
expectations by making a marathon knock of 149 runs for Sri Lanka
Under-19 in the first youth Test against the touring England Under-19
team now in progress at Galle International Stadium.
Rajapaksa, who is leading the Sri Lanka youth team, played a truly
captainís innings, hitting the English bowlers to all corners of the
picturesque Galle International Stadium. The aggressive top order
batsman had four huge sixes and 16 fours during his magnificent innings
which led Sri Lanka Under-19 team to a healthy first innings total.
It was nice to see young Bhanuka Rajapaksa in full cry, maintaining
the high traditions of the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year
awards ceremony which has produced champion Sri Lanka cricketers for
over three decades.
Rajapaksa will continue to play for Royal in the new inter-school
season too under the leadership of Ramith Rambukwella. Both these
explosive Royal batsmen, who are playing for the Reid Avenue boys in the
2011 inter-school season too, are currently playing for Sri Lanka
Under-19 in the home series against England Under-19. Incidentally, both
Rajapaksa and Rambukwella have secured places within the top ten after
the first round voting for the Most Popular Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy
Cricketer of the Year All-Island contest.
Meanwhile, votes continued to pour in for the Most Popular Observer-Mobitel
Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year All-Island and Outstation contests.
As Sri Lankaís World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga has pointed
out,it is the dream of any schoolboy cricketer to win the Observer
Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award. Ranatunga, who won the coveted
title twice in 1980 and 1982 before making it to Sri Lanka team for the
inaugural Test against England at Sara Stadium, commended the role
played by the Sunday Observer at the previous ceremony and noted that
the show continues to encourage the budding schoolboy cricketers.
Many Sri Lankan cricketing giants of the past and the present are
those who have either won the prestigious and coveted Schoolboy
Cricketer of the Year Award or one of the many awards presented at the
Born on December 1st, 1963 Arjuna Ranatunga led Sri Lanka to World
Cup glory in 1996, 14 years after he won the Observer Schoolboy
Cricketer of the Year for a record second time. At a time the World Cup
returns to Sri Lanka after 1996 and our national team is looking forward
to regain the title, its worth having a look at that champion side which
humbled Australia by seven wickets in the final played in Lahore on
March 17, 1996. Sri Lankaís team on that historic day comprised Arjuna
Ranatunga (Capt), Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Asanka
Gurusinha, Aravinda de Silva, Hashan Tillekeratne, Roshan Mahanama,
Kumar Dharmasena, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan and Promodaya
Out of that team, six members - Ranatunga, Gurusinha, Mahanama,
Dharmasena, Muralitharan and Jayasuriya had been previous award winners
at the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year. That alone speaks
volumes of rich traditions the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year
has maintained for over three decades.
Ranatungaís first international century came just two years after
winning the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title. The stylish
left-handerís maiden international century was recorded in February,
1984 against Central Zone in Faisalabad. Ranatunga was a member of the
Sri Lanka under-23 team that played against Pakistan under-23 team in
two Unofficial Tests (new Series). He scored a delightful century, 114
not out. Ranatunga took only 89 minutes to compile his century which was
the first for Sri Lanka on the tour. He had sixteen fours in his knock.
With skipper Brendon Kuruppu, he added an unfinished second wicket
partnership of 164 runs.