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Sunday, 15 April 2012

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Pinnacle of a schoolboy cricketer’s career - Sri Lanka Manager

Sunday Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer Of the Year: Playing under a champion leader and a champion outfit under Arjuna Ranatunga who became the Second Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 1981, Charith Senanayake who was a member of that champion Ananda College team is now the Manager of the National Cricket Side, said that it was a great privilege for any schoolboy to take part in the much looked forward Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year event .

Although Senanayake did not receive any individual award during his era as a schoolboy cricketer while at Ananda College, he stepped on stage with great pride and that top of the world feeling as a proud member of a team which was judged the Best Team thrice.

Charith Senanayake

As a schoolboy, this type of recognition is bound to inspire a cricketer’s career. Sri Lanka may be the only country which continuously recognises the schoolboy cricketers in a such a big way by organising many shows.

The Sri Lanka School Cricket Association has done an enormous job in feeding the national team with quality players.

This has happened even in the past. Various sponsors in the past and the present one like Mobitel, rally around SLSCA and support them.

The umpires play a vital role, first officiating during a school match, then they are also entrusted in picking the ultimate winner by virtue of the players performance during the school season. It is the umpires who stand in the centre during a match and are most qualified to judge the quality of the players. Dedicated umpires usually have a close look at a player and is in a position to fathom the player’s class and could say whether he is a potential future player for the country.

Charith Senanayake, the elegant left-handed opener, who opened batting in three Test matches and nine ODIs in an era where fewer Test matches were played, endorsed the importance of a contest of this nature, saying that it is the pinnacle of a schoolboy cricketer’s career. It is not only the recipients but all the members of a team will be benefited and will receive a tremendous boost as they walk on to stage as a team to receive their awards. Charith represented Ananda College from 1976 to 1981 and was a team member in all age groups. In 1981, in his final year, Senanayake played under Arjuna Ranatunga and Ananda had the players like Arjuna Ranatunga, Brendon Kuruppu, Charith Senanayake, Dammika Ranatunga, Oshadie Weerasinghe and Kamal Dharmasiri who excelled that year and won the Best School Team All Island Award for three consecutive years.

Senanayake made his International debut against Pakistan in 1990 and won his Test ‘cap’ in 1991 against New Zealand in Kiwi land. Besides two players, Oshadie Weerasinghe and Kamal Dharmasiri, the others Arjuna Ranatunga, Brendon Kuruppu, Dammika Ranatunga represented the country at the highest level .

This competition, is highly rated as it recognises the school player and provides a firm footing for the young inspiring cricketer and at the same time gives a big incentive for the players. The successful run of the show for so many years have even provided employment opportunities for the winners and players for a secure future.

The competition is held in two categories namely All Island and Outstation. Top players have emerged from both sections and one could see the outstation player coming almost on par with the All Islanders. Besides the main Schoolboy Cricketer (All Island and Outstation) Awards, the Most Popular category (through votes) also add more glamour to the event.

 

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