OBSERVER-MOBITEL School cricket show has unearthed latent talent-
Former Sri Lanka cricketer Jayantha Seneviratne was full of praise
for the Sunday Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer Show. The contest
has spanned over three decades and thereby given young school talent all
the encouragement it needs to go forward.
Jayantha Seneviratne – the Observer-Mobitel Cricket show has
given all the opportunities to the young cricketers.
Seneviratne is one person out of many who could speak on the subject
of school cricket as he has served in several administrative capacities
where Sri Lanka cricket or school cricket is concerned. He has a close
rapport with almost every school cricketer, let it be at Nalanda or
elsewhere which has given him the opportunity to manage school cricket
teams in many age groups while on tour.
“This competition is a real moral booster and a valuable one for the
young cricketer. “This competition has given and will continue to give
all the encouragement to the young boys to improve one’s game. Having a
competition of this nature gives the young boys, the chance to forward
in their endeavours,” said Seneviratne.
Seneviratne, after his playing days at Nalanda College, from 1968 to
70 joined Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club and represented the
country from 1973 to 80’ playing in five unofficial Test matches against
India, Pakistan and the West Indies. He will be best remembered for his
fighting 98 n.o. against Pakistan in an ‘unofficial Test’ in 1974 match
during the period when Sri Lanka were striving hard to obtain full Test
He said that the understanding between the coach and the
Master-in-Charge plays a vital role in the success of a school cricket
team at both junior and senior levels. Such partnerships between key
officials have hit-it-off smoothly in some schools.
And one such combination was the A.T. Nugegoda (Prefect of Games and
Master-in-Charge, Cricket) and Jayantha Senevirantne (Coach) at Nalanda
College for eighteen consecutive years (1986 to 2003). This combination
has no doubt helped the school immensely in producing top class
cricketers. Nalanda has won the Sunday Observer Best Team Award several
times and also have produced a number of Test cricketers.
The two most outstanding cricketers produced by Nalanda during the
Nugegoda - Seneviratne era was Kumara Dharmasena who was the Schoolboy
Cricketer and Mahela Jayawardene who won the Best Batsman’s award in
1995. Jayawardene has created a big impact as a cricketer and captain in
the Test arena.
Like many others, both Dharmasena and Jayewardene were trusted
students of the Nugegoda - Seneviratne tenure.
Jayantha Seneviratne, commending the role played by Trevor Nugegoda,
the Master-in-Charge, during his coaching days at Nalanda, said that he
(Jayantha) joined Nalanda in 1961 - 1970 and during that period of nine
years, there have been several masters who have been in charge of
cricket and Nugegoda was one of the best. His discipline, punctuality,
cooperation and administration was simply outstanding which made his
task as the coach much easier.
Nugegoda was a gentleman to the most literal sense and led by
example, which helped the school to maintain a high degree of discipline
Test players Chamara Dunusinghe, Kumar Dharmasena, (Schoolboy
Cricketer 1989. Now in Elite Umpiring Panel), Mahela Jayawardene, Ishara
Amarasinghe, Shantha Kalavitigoda and prospective Test players
Priyankara Wickremasinghe, Gihan Rupassinghe, (Schoolboy Cricketer
2006), Ashan Priyanjan, Dilshan Munaweera were some of the cricketers