Rise of British School Colombo Lions | Sunday Observer

Rise of British School Colombo Lions

While the nation is losing its spirit for cricket, on the other side of the coin is a different story altogether. School boy cricketers are carrying on the legacy of their mentors and trying to fill their big shoes. The spirit of the game has diminished but these youngsters are a ray of hope to the dying game. Since the inter school cricket tournament the British School Colombo (BSC) flag has flown high.

To take a closer look at the young, multi talented players who are bent on bringing glory to their Alma mater, Young Voice spoke to their coach, Aruna Batapolaarchi and newly appointed director of Physical Education Simon Newbold who was very eager to talk of his team.The secret to the team’s success was ‘unity and team work’, he said. Aruna has nurtured the boys for the last 13 years and is very proud of their success.

The BSC team comprises Ordinary Level and Advanced Level students juggling with exams to bring in success on and off the field. The lion heroes are Salman Akbar Ali (skipper), Rahul Chigulapalli (batsman), Pradyun Saika (batsman), Thishan Kahandawalaarachchi (bowler) and Vishnu Praven (bowler).

These five players are considered the backbone of the team. They set their own records.

“In the last six to seven years we have made it to seven finals, we won one championship. For the first time we were allowed to participate in the All Island Tournament. We made it to the semi-finals. The under fifteens too made a great impact by reaching the quarter finals”, said Aruna.

International matches, inter-international school competitions, all-island competitions and friendly matches are games that the BSC cricket team participates in.

Cricket is a game of passion for the team and the mantra it teaches daily is about team work.The captain Salman, said “ We are good friends. As players that is why we are doing really well. As individuals we kind of slack at times, but because we have that team spirit we pull through.”

“What’s best about Salman is that he is a very good man-manager. When something goes wrong he can handle it without hazzle. From the under 13 to under 19s, he has captained all teams”, said Pradyun Saika.

“He builds-up team confidence during a critical match and never fails to show his appreciation in the field verbally or with a pat on the back” said Rahul Chigulapalli. Dedication is an aspect in cricket that determines the development of our abilities. The levels of dedication the boys display are enormous.

Pradyun Saika is a good fielder and bowler who broke the national school record this year scoring a total of 1299 runs, which has not been achieved by an international school student. He is the first school boy from the under17s to have scored over 1000 runs. Along with this record he has scored a triple century not out in the first match. His grand total includes 6 hundreds as well.

Pradyun has a good batting average of 163. Simultaneously his average in studies is also 98. “You can see how good he is in both and that’s because of his dedication. And he understands what dedication is. Getting these scores are not easy but he did, and like I said he has a very good future as a batsman”, said captain Salman.

Vishnu Praven runs the pace department of the team. He does not think about taking wickets but focuses on getting the ball in the right zone which is most important for a pace bowler. His best record of 6/25 in a10-over spell against Tzu Chi National School, took BSC lions U-17 team into the quarterfinals of the All Island Competition, paving chances for more achievements.

“Thishan is the best left arm spinner we have in school. He did well in every tournament played and in the most recent he was the highest wicket taker (26 wickets). At a critical match, when he gets the ball he producesresults. That’s what matters finally,” said Vishnu.

Wicket keeper-batsman Rahul Chigulapalli is the opening batsman. He is our best run getter. His career in cricket began at age 10 under the leadership of Aruna Chigulapalli.

His smashing 148 runs against Stafford International School in U-19 earned him the three awards - ‘best batsman’, ‘best fielder’ and ‘player of the match’. In inter- international school U-15 tournament he scored three successive centuries and won the ‘best batsman’ award which is his most memorable achievement.

“We don’t do regular practices like national schools. Rahul is the best cricketer I have seen in the school . Not only in the recent tournament, average wise he is the best run scorer that I have ever seen. In the arena of international cricket, during the last 5 years he is the best batsman this school has got. I think he will make it to national level and make us proud. I hope he does”, said Aruna.

The goal of the lions is to win the 19/19 All Island Tournament. 

Pix by Ranjith Asanka