Portraits unveiled of 12 Kandy school cricketers who played Tests
CRICKET: Portraits of 12 cricketers who played for Kandy schools and
later represented the country in Tests, One-Day or toured abroad with
the national team were unveiled at the Asgiriya main pavilion by the
Governor of the Central Province Mr. Tikiri Kobbekaduwa last week.
Leading the list of cricketers is former St. Anthony's College, Kandy
United CC, Saracens and Nomads opening bat A. C. M. Lafir who
represented All-Ceylon against foreign teams and also the CCA in the
annual Gopalan Trophy matches.
Next in the list is former St. Anthony's College, Kandy CC,
University and Sri Lanka wicket-keeper batsman Mahes Gunatilleke who was
considered as one of the best wicket-keepers produced by Sri Lanka.
Then comes former Trinity College and NCC allrounder Ravi Ratnayake
who played for Sri Lanka in Tests and One-Day internationals and opened
the attack for the country. One of the finest fast bowlers produced by
the country and now lives in Australia.
Bernard Perera, a top allrounder produced by St. Anthony's College,
Kandy, who was also was adjudged the schoolboy cricketer of the year in
the early seventies, played for the Board XI and is the second batsman
to score a half century at the New Asgiriya Stadium with the first being
Ranjan Madugalle who went on to score an unbeaten century and helped the
Sri Lanka team recover after a poor start against Australia in the
inaugural match played at the Asgiriya Stadium. He also toured Pakistan
with the National Cricket Team.
Ishak Sahabdeen - a double international first played for St.
Sylvester's College before going over to S. Thomas College, Mount
Lavinia. A deadly left arm medium pacer and consistent bat played for
the country both cricket and hockey. Nilantha Ratnayake played for
Trinity in the eighties while in Australia played for Sri Lanka as a
medium pacer in the One-Day Internationals.
Ruwan Kalpage another fine cricketer to come out of the portals of
St. Anthony's College, played for Sri Lanka as a spinner and a good
middle order batsman. He played at level for NCC and is presently the
spin coach of Sri Lanka Cricket.
Piyal Wijetunga - a top left-arm spinner produced by St. Anthony's
College played for SSC and Sri Lanka in a Test match before an accident
out short his cricketing career. He is presently the Provincial Cricket
Coach for Uva Province. Muttiah Muralitharan - also an Antonian needs no
introduction as he is currently the second leading highest wicket taker
in Tests and is on the way to break the record of Shane Warne which he
may do so on English or Australian soil. He has captured at the time of
writing 694 wickets and also has the distinction of capturing 100
wickets at the Asgiriya Stadium.
Without any doubt he is the World Best off spinner.
A point of interest is that Ruwan Kalpage, Piyal Wijetunga and
Muttiah Muralitharan played together for St. Anthony's College in the
early nineties and they had the unique distinction of playing for the
country in a Test match against South Africa also together.
They were all products of Antonian cricket coach Sunil Fernando who
is termed as the discoverer of Muralitharan when he requested him to
switch from medium pacers to spinners while playing for school under 15
Kaushalya Weeraratne another medium pacer and aggressive batsman from
Trinity College who was also adjudged the Best Schoolboy cricketer of
the year a few years back. He has played for the country.
Kumar Sangakkara - another product from Trinity College and at school
was a prolific run getter, kept wickets and also opened the batting and
has represented the country as a regular member and a consistent batsman
and is one of the leading run getters for the country.
He is also the wicket-keeper for the National Team in Tests and some
times in One-Day matches.
Chamara Kapugedera is a product of Dharmaraja College and has played
for the country as a hard hitting middle order batsman.