Contest that produced the best | Sunday Observer

Contest that produced the best

The Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest, ever since its inception way back in 1979, has produced many top Sri Lanka cricketers who had made their mark in international cricket. That include several legendary Sri Lanka cricketers including the world’s highest Test wicket taker Muttiah Muralitharan, World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga and ICC’s Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle.

Here are some of the observations made by the past winners in recent times on the country’s first-ever school cricket awards show which has now turned out to be the Mother of all Shows.

RANJAN MADUGALLE (Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 1979): The Lake House and the Sunday Observer should be complemented for keeping the show going for all these years. Sponsors are essential to keep the show going.

In the past, most of the winners of the top awards came from Colombo and its suburbs, but now, the outstation schools have come in a big way and it is a positive sign for the game. May the show continue for many years to come!

ARJUNA RANATUNGA (Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 1980 and 1982):

It is the dream of any schoolboy cricketer to win the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award.

It’s great to conduct the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest since 1979 to encourage the budding schoolboy cricketers. I was particularly happy to see that the Northern Province joining with the others in the competitions at the contest.

I am happy at the improvement of outstation cricket as the game has spread far and wide in the country. 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 won other awards at the contest.

ASANKA GURUSINHA (Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 1985): When Roshan Mahanama won this award twice in 1983 and 1984, I felt how prestigious it is to win the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award. It is not an award that everybody could win.

One has to perform exceptionally well and be consistent right throughout a season to win that – work really hard to reach the pinnacle of school career.

The Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year show has not only produced top cricketers but some international level umpires such as Kumar Dharmasena who serves in the ICC elite panel.

SANATH JAYASURIYA (Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year – Outstation 1988): It is hard to express that great feeling. Not only me but also my parents, brother, relatives, coaches and school masters, they all enjoyed that cherished moment. It was a great feeling. All past winners before me, be it the All-island or Outstation, had made their mark in Sri Lanka cricket. So, when I won the title, I felt that I am getting closer to earning a place in the national squad.

KUMAR DHARMASENA (Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 1989): It was one of the greatest moments in my career as a cricketer. Winning the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title was a big inspiration.

That helped and encouraged me to play for Sri Lanka. Winning such a mega award gives a huge image and confidence to a schoolboy cricketer to go places. We were determined to reach the top of the ladder and did so with dedication.

MARVAN ATAPATTU (Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 1990): I consider the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title I won in 1990 as a ‘certification or a guarantee’ that I would play for Sri Lanka. When I had been performing well and scoring constantly for Ananda as a schoolboy cricketer, many considered me as a future Sri Lanka prospect.

Although I too had felt that I had a chance, there was no guarantee. All those who had won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title before me had gone on to play for Sri Lanka with distinction. So, when I won the title, I knew that I too could join that select band.

NAVEED NAWAZ (Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 1993): It is an encouragement for schoolboy players who are hoping to represent the country at the highest level. Looking back, the contest has provided a good filtering , as a good number of recipients have ended as national players.

When I won the award I felt as it was my greatest achievement. The winning of the title inspired me a lot and gave me lot confidence. I represented the Schools under 19 team which toured Singapore and Malaysia in the same year I won the coveted award. Although cricketwise the tour was not the ideal one, we had top players who later represented the country at the highest level.

NIROSHAN DICKWELLA (Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2012): It gives me great pleasure to learn that the contest has lasted for nearly four decades. This has produced a bunch of some great cricketers in the All Island and Outstation competitions. Most of the recipients are doing well in their chosen professions may be cricket or otherwise. My best wishes for a successful run of the contest in future. Winning the award was a great encouragement for me.

THARINDU KAUSHAL (Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year – Outstation 2012):

I am happy that the schools in the rural areas like Devapathiraja Vidayalaya has been recognised. I hope many more players from the rural schools will get the opportunity to represent the country via this contest which has lasted for nearly 40 years. My best wishes for a successful run of the show.

The national mobile service provider, Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel continues to provide that ‘smart connection’ to the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest. Under the directions of the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Telecom and SLT Mobitel P.G. Kumarasingha, the Chief Executive Officer of the SLT Mobitel Nalin Perera has made a great contribution towards the success of the event during the past decade.

The Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year continues to enjoy the longstanding association of the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA) and the Sri Lanka Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association under the blessings of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

Comments

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.