Nalin Perera says fair-play and discipline matters most | Sunday Observer

Nalin Perera says fair-play and discipline matters most

CEO of SLT Mobitel, Nalin Perera
CEO of SLT Mobitel, Nalin Perera

Chief Executive Officer of the Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel, Nalin Perera said the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year mega awards ceremony has remained one of the most looked forward to events in the local sports calendar for the past four decades that has helped produce some of the most celebrated Sri Lanka cricketers since 1978.

Perera, a veteran in Sri Lanka’s mobile communication industry and playing a leading role since its introduction to the country, has also been a great promoter of sports.

“It has always been a motivation and inspiration for the schoolboy cricketers to feel that their achievements are being rewarded at the end of each season. Most schoolboy cricketers do not pursue cricket as a career. But for those outstanding players who would continue with the game

after their school careers, this type of recognition and awards would be a real motivation. Awards of this nature would be a tremendous boost for them when stepping into the next level,” he said. He said the entry of schools in the Northern and Eastern Provinces has been a positive sign. “It was a far-reaching decision to accommodate schools in the North and the East at the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest since the dawn of peace. The game in those two provinces has shown a marked improvement,” he said.

Speaking on the presence of Chief ICC Match Referee, Ranjan Madugalle as the chief guest, Perera said: “He is the most respected figure in international cricket, heading the ICC’s panel of match referees and to have him as the chief guest was a great honour. He was the first recipient of the prestigious title and even graced the awards ceremony ten years ago as the chief guest. There he stressed on the importance of fair play and suggested to offer a special award for the most disciplined team. Since then, we introduced a special award for the most disciplined team. It is not winning or losing that matters but how one played the game. Winning at any cost should not be the motto. We have to make this game more meaningful”.

Perera was a versatile sportsman during his school career having captained the 1986 St. Joseph’s rugby team, one of the best teams produced by the Darley Road school that year.

He stressed the importance of schoolboy cricketers paying more attention to district and provincial level competition. At present, there is a huge gap between school cricket standards and that of club level.

Perera said that SLT Mobitel has sponsored many sports events in the past, including the national cricket team, and would continue to foster local sport. “We have a social responsibility to give back something to society. Sport makes a healthy mind and body. Academic activities should be blended with sport to make a complete citizen,” he said. Perera also said that the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year entered a new chapter since its 40th anniversary celebrations by venturing into schoolgirl cricket. “It was yet another significant milestone this year as we accommodated schoolgirl cricketers. Women’s cricket is showing a tremendous development with the promotion of the game among girls’ schools. I am glad that we found a place for schoolgirl cricketers at the awards ceremony from this year”, said Perera.