Past award winners speak out in ecstasy | Sunday Observer

Past award winners speak out in ecstasy

Former Trinity College captain of 2012 Niroshan Dickwella is one of the three Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year main award winners in the current Sri Lanka team which is currently touring the West Indies. The other two are captain Dinesh Chandimal (2009) and Kusal Mendis (2013).
Former Trinity College captain of 2012 Niroshan Dickwella is one of the three Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year main award winners in the current Sri Lanka team which is currently touring the West Indies. The other two are captain Dinesh Chandimal (2009) and Kusal Mendis (2013).

The Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest, over the past four decades, has turned out to be an integral part of Sri Lanka’s school cricket, considered to be one of the best in the world.

Since its inception way back in 1979, the country’s first and the foremost school cricket awards show has turned out to be one of the most sought-after events in local sports calendar. That is mainly due to the fact that the Mega Show has produced some of the legendary cricketers who have played for Sri Lanka with distinction.

Here are some of the views expressed by former Sri Lanka captains and star cricketers in recent times:

Chief Match Referee of ICC and former Sri Lanka captain, RANJAN MADUGALLE:

“It was great to feel that your hard work as a schoolboy cricketer is appreciated at the end of the season. It is a great inspiration and a satisfaction to feel that your performances are recognized. It is not merely for individual glory but your performances as a team. I was honoured and privileged to be adjudged the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer at its inaugural show in 1979. In fact, we even didn’t know that there was such an award on offer. We played traditional friendly matches to enjoy the game and not for competition or personal glory”.

Sri Lanka’s World Cup-winning captain turned Cabinet Minister, ARJUNA RANATUNGA:

“Winning the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award at the end of a season is the dream of every schoolboy cricketer. It’s great for the Sunday Observer 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 delighted to see 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”.

Former Sri Lanka captain and ex-ICC Match Referee ROSHAN MAHANAMA:

“Becoming the best schoolboy cricketer and being honoued for our hard work was a great encouragement. I was privileged to achieve one of my dreams. That was my stepping stone. Becoming the best schoolboy cricketer made me even more determined to work harder to reach greater heights. As a kid, I had watched former Nalanda players such as Bandula Warnapura in action. We had full houses for all those inter-school games. It was a passion.”

Sri Lanka cricket manager and ex-national player ASANKA GURUSINHA:

“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. 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.

“We should also thank school coaches and masters-in-charge who render a yeoman service”.

Ex- Sri Lanka captain and current Sri Lanka U-19 coach HASHAN TILLAKARATNE:

“There is a great feeling when you know that your hard efforts would be rewarded at the end of a school season. Appearing at the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer victory podium is a great feeling for any schoolboy cricketer. The organisers the Sunday Observer of Lake House and its present sponsor SLT Mobitel deserves credit for recognizing the school talent. School cricket is the stepping stone for club cricket and to the Sri Lanka national pool thereafter. It is important that we encourage and inspire them to march to the next level”.

Former Sri Lanka captain and ex-Chairman of Selectors SANATH JAYASURIYA:

“Winning the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title has been the dream of every schoolboy cricketer from the good old days. When I won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year outstation title, I thought I should stand a greater chance of playing for Sri Lanka, if I continue to focus on the game with dedication and devotion. It inspired me to go places. Once you win this coveted title, you only need commitment and dedication to find a place in the Sri Lanka team,”

Former Sri Lanka captain and ex-national coach MARVAN ATAPATTU:

“As a student at Ananda, playing junior cricket, I witnessed the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year awards show in 1982. I saw our school captain at that time Arjuna Ranatunga emerging out of a huge cricket ball, erected on stage, to receive the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award. That was a great inspiration to me and I thought that I too could make my family, the team and my school proud if I could emulate that feat one fine day. Things worked well for me to bring that honour to Ananda eight years later. Almost all those who have won top awards at the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year show have stepped into the national team in next to no time and many of them have established their mark as top national players”.

Former Sri Lanka cricketer turned ICC Elite Panel Umpire, KUMAR DHARMASENA:

“The Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title which I won in 1989 inspired me to step into the international arena with confidence. 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. If you don’t enjoy the game and dedicate yourself towards it, you won’t be successful. Believe in yourself, work hard with dedication and you will find success”.

Current Sri Lanka cricketer NIROSHAN DICKWELLA:

“It gives me great pleasure to find that the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest has been held for four decades. This important event has produced a galaxy of national stars. Most of the recipients of this prestigious award are doing well in their chosen professions, be it in cricket or otherwise. My best wishes for a successful run of the contest in the future. Winning the award was a great encouragement for me when I was playing for Trinity College.”

Meanwhile, voting for the most popular segments of the 40th Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contests continues under three divisions. Voting for the Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contests could be made through voting coupons which continue to appear in the Daily News, Sunday Observer, Dinamina and Thinakaran.

It is heartening to see the Mega Show is completing its 40th anniversary this year. Most importantly, the country’s national mobile service provider has been associated with Sri Lanka’s first-ever school cricket awards show for 11 years.

Together with Sri Lanka Telecom and SLT Mobitel management headed by its Chief Executive Officer Nalin Perera are extending the fullest support to make the ‘Mother of all Shows’ a resounding success once again as it continues to remain the dream of every schoolboy cricketer! 

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