Maharoof: Wesley’s first international star | Sunday Observer

Maharoof: Wesley’s first international star

Former Sri Lanka Test and One Day International player Ferveez Maharoof was yet another promising star to emerge through the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer contest, sponsored by Mobitel.

Following the unveiling new millennium stars of the Mega Show with Trinity’s Kaushalya Weeraratne in 2000 followed by Kaushal Lokuarachchi of St. Peter’s in 2001 and Sahan Wijeratne of Prince of Wales in 2002, Wesley College produced its first ever Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 2003.

Born on September 7, 1984, Maharoof won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 2003 following a highly successful school career for Wesley College.

Young Maharoof took to cricket when he was eight years old and also showed interest in football and touch rugby until he was twelve years. But from that age, little Maharoof continued his cricket career seriously as a wicket keeper-batsman. He began bowling regularly from under-13 level.

In one match, the hidden talents of Maharoof came to light when five regular bowlers of his school team were down with flu. Maharoof was called upon to bowl and rose to the occasion by capturing six wickets, including a hat-trick and from then on concentrated on fast bowling.

His rich harvest for Wesley was crowned with a highest innings of 243 and best bowling figures of 8 for 20. Having won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 2003, he was immediately called to make his debut in the following year. Also in 2004, he was appointed captain of the Sri Lanka under-19 World Cup team.

Immediately after winning the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award in 2003, he was picked to represent Sri Lanka ‘A’ in a tri-series with India ‘A’ and Pakistan ‘A’ in India in December-January 2003-2004.

He came out with flying colours, capturing nine wickets in the series at an average of 11.77, the best average of the tournament. Maharoof was named Man of the Match in the tournament’s final, which Sri Lanka ‘A’ won. A month after this, he was appointed captain of the Sri Lanka Under-19s for the Under-19 World Cup.

He had a memorable experience and in the game against Australia, he scored 56 to help his team to victory, an effort which earned him the Man of the Match award.

Maharoof was a member of the Sri Lanka team that toured Zimbabwe for five ODIs and two Tests in April-May 2004.

Two players, including Maharoof, made their ODI debut in the third match of the series while three of the Sri Lankan regulars were rested.

He grabbed the opportunity by taking three wickets as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 35, the lowest score in ODI history. In the last two matches of the five-match series, Maharoof took another two wickets, finishing the series with five at an average of 16.60 and made his Test debut on the same tour. Across the two matches, he scored 40 runs in the Test and took four wickets.

Delhi Daredevils bought him for USD 225,000 in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008.

Maharoof did justice for the deal by capturing 15 wickets in the tournament at an average of 16.60, making him the joint ninth-highest wicket-taker in competition.

The six foot three-inch all-rounder represented Sri Lanka in 22 Tests, scoring 556 runs with three half centuries including a career best 72 and captured 25 wickets.

Batting at number nine, he had scored 40 runs on his Test debut on May 6 in Harare against Zimbabwe which the visitors won by an innings and 240 runs.

Maharoof had played 109 ODIs for Sri Lanka, aggregating 1113 runs with an unbeaten 69 as his career best. He made a memorable ODI debut for Sri Lanka, with a magical spell of three overs, one maiden, three runs and three wickets in Sri Lanka’s nine wicket win over Zimbabwe in Harare on April 25, 2004.

It was Chaminda Vaas (4 for 11), Maharoof (3 for 3) and Dilhara Fernando (2 for 18) who produced tight spells to destroy Zimbabwe for a record 35 runs in 18 overs.

Maharoof took 4 for 23 against Bermuda to start the 2007 World Cup and became the first Sri Lankan to capture a four wicket haul on his World Cup debut. On 7 October 2007 Maharoof took his 100th wicket in his 75th ODI; at the time he was the fastest Sri Lankan to reach the landmark, beating off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan by one match, however this record was later grabbed by paceman Lasith Malinga in 2010 who reached 100 wickets in 68 matches.

Maharoof took his first hat trick in One day Internationals against India in the Asia Cup 2010 on June 22, 2010.

The Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year is organized by the Sri Lanka’s oldest national newspaper the Sunday Observer and sponsored by the national mobile communication provider SLT Mobitel. This is the 12th consecutive year in which Mobitel is providing its financial support.

Mobitel’s financial support has taken the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest to great heights and has not only helped to improve the quality of the contest with lucrative price money but also has helped to reward coaches and masters-in-charge of champion teams.

In a unique gesture of goodwill and fair play, a special award for the best behaved team too is on offer. This award was added to the glorious award list on a suggestion made by none other than the first recipient of the most sought after award in school cricket Ranjan Madugalle, the current Chief Match Referee of the ICC, who won the title in 1978-79.

Chief Executive Officer of Mobitel Nalin Perera has done a splendid job towards the success of the show under the guidance of the Chairman of Sri Lanka Telekom and SLT Mobitel Kumarasinghe Sirisena.

Chairman and Managing Director of Lake House, Krishantha Cooray has always guided the organizing committee of the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year with positive ideas.

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