School and players didn't have money, 'home players'
spent night at temple visiting players agreed to purchase own lunch:
Harangala MV, Kotmale play cricket the hard way
CRICKET: Harangala Maha Vidyalaya, Kotmale, is the first school from
King Dutugemunu's refuse at Kotmale to play cricket at senior level this
However, the way they are playing the game is amidst great hardships
which many would hardly believe and they need to be helped out.
Coach Saman Jayantha and his ever willing cricketers at
Harangala Maha Vidyakara, Kotmale. Pictures by S.M. Jiffrey
Abdeen – Kandy Sports Corr.
This small school, a few kilometres off Nawalapitiya at a place
called Kotmale, where King Dutugemunu took refuge and planned his
mission to defeat King Elahara and free the country from foreign
It is on the Nawalapitiya - Talawakelle Road, lying amidst tea
plantations and the area goes dead after 6 p.m. With hardly anybody seen
on the main road.
The school started playing a few years ago at junior level and the
cricketers, though coming from very poor families, shared the expenses
and the master-in-charge, a very keen cricket enthusiast also helped
them financially whenever the necessity arose. But now he has come to
his tether's end.
Two year's ago they had a windfall in the form of cricket materials
distributed to them by Sri Lanka Cricket through the then Presidential
Advisor in cricket D.S. de Silva in keeping with Mahinda Chinthanaya
taking cricket, to lesser known areas or 'Gamata Kreedawa' (Sports to
the village). Over 400 schools benefited from this programme.
Harangala MV, too, received two bags of cricket materials on the
recommendation made by the Central Province cricket coach Sunil
Shashika Prabath – vice-captain
These two cricket material bags were worth their weight in gold, for
the cricketers from this school.
Skipped last year for want of money
Last year, they entered the schools under-19 division III tournament
but could not play any match as they did not have the money and did not
know where to start.
The school is too poor to give them any money, not even the umpires
fee or the cost of the cricket balls. But the boys were determined. The
closest town is Nawalapitiya but there is no ground there good enough to
play school cricket at present. Thus the closest place where there is a
ground is Kandy and the demand for grounds here is also great.
Thus, they were compelled to play their home matches at the Open
Prison Camp grounds, Pallekele which is nearly 50 kilometres from
They have no playground to practice. The boys who could afford the
expenses, played in the matches though there were a lot of talented
cricketers turning up for practices in the small ground of the school
devoid of grass. The boys who played in the matches had to share the
umpires fees, ground hire charges, cost of transport from Kotmale to the
venue, the cost of the balls, the cost of the meals and other incidental
Prapesh Kantha – the captain and wicket-keeper
A clear example is the case when they, as the home team, played their
match against Poramadulla Central College, Hanguranketha at the Prison
grounds Pallekele last week.
They had just 11 players who could find the money to play this
schools under-19 cricket tournament match. Their opponents agreed to
meet purchase their lunch and tea but the cricketers from Harangala
could not find the money for their meals. They spent the night at a
Buddhist temple and they managed to find a little money to have bread
and dhal as dinner. In the morning, they had a few pieces of bread and a
little pol-sambol and plain tea to wash down as breakfast.
They took the field and played the match. Came the lunch break but
there was no lunch for them as they did not have the money to purchase
the lunch packets. They came to the pavilion and rested for 45 minutes
and drank a glass of water and took the field again. Hungry stomach's
could not stop them from giving out their best. Their opponents were 180
for 3 at the 'break' but they managed to dismiss them before the tea
break after having glass of water their meals. During the lunch break,
their coach Saman Jayantha was missing as he had gone out looking for
money to purchase lunch or at least a substitute for lunch for the
hungry cricketers .
Empathy stomach but Lakshan scored 182
But with all these hardships their batsman Samith Lakshan scored 182
runs with 21 fours and 4 sixes and the boys were alert on the field.
Some could hardly run to field the ball for the fear of falling down
unconscious and they were giddy alright. Can anyone believe this?
Playing cricket without lunch. That's the hardship these cricketers from
Harangala MV face. For them any footwear makes the boost as they do not
have the money to purchase the usual boots. The team is packed with
talented cricketers who are playing the game the hard way. There is no
practice matches for them. 'Sir please find some money for us to
continue playing in this tournament. Each player has to find around Rs.
1,200/ per match to meet all the expenses. Those who could find the
money play and the others stay back. Our parents are very poor and they
borrow money or pawn goods to find the money said the skipper of the
side Prapesh Kantha.
The team is led by wicket keeper batsman Prapesh Kantha who is the
first centurion of the side, having scored 102 runs against Diyatillake
Central College. A very steady bat and a fine leader who can get the
best from cricketers with hungry stomach's.
The vice-captain of the side is Shashika Prabath, another top batsman
and a fast bowler.
The batsman in the side are Shashika Lalinda, Janitha Jayawickrema,
Nalaka Sampath, Nadeera Chanaka, Udara Dananjaya, Chalaka Sandaruwan,
Cricketers deserve help
The pace attack comprises Nalaka Sampath and Gayan Kasanka who will
open the attack followed by Nadeera Chanaka and Nalinda Wickremasinghe.
There are two off-spinners in the side in Madusanka Ratnayake and
Prabath Wijesinghe. The others in the squad are Udara Dananjaya, Sumedha
The team is coached by Saman Jayantha whose services is also
honorary, with the cricketers at times making a small payment to meet
his travelling expenses. Any sports benefactor interested in helping
this school could contact the Master-In-Charge, Saman Jayawardena on
mobile no. 078-3406800.
These school cricketers deserve to be helped both financially and
morally, before they fall by their wayside. They cannot go on this
journey into cricket without assistance!