Award winners who played for Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

Award winners who played for Sri Lanka

Ranatunga reached immortality in leadership

Sri Lanka’s World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga was first ever to win the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title twice in 1980 and 1982.

A reliable middle order batsman who had aggregated 5,105 runs including four centuries and 38 fifties and captured 16 wickets in 93 Tests, Ranatunga said winning the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year prize is a life-time experience for any cricketer.

“It’s a tremendous boost for a schoolboy when he is adjudged the Best Batsman, Best Bowler, Best Allrounder or the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year. He could then aim at club level and international level,” said Ranatunga.

When he was a schoolboy cricketer playing for Ananda, Ranatunga had the honour of representing Sri Lanka at the country’s inaugural Test against England in 1982. He not only played for Sri Lanka while still being a schoolboy cricketer but also made it a memorable occasion by becoming the first Sri Lankan to score a half century (54) in Test cricket. Ranatunga has come a long way since his early days as a junior schoolboy cricketer to go places to end his sporting career as a legend in world cricket and has proved his class in limited over cricket too aggregating 7,456 runs in 269 ODIs, including four centuries and 49 fifties.

Despite achieving loads of success as a cricketer, including his dynamic leadership to pilot Sri Lanka to win the 1996 World Cup, Ranatunga still admires the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer trophies he had won in 1980 and 1982 as a school cricket star from Ananda College.

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Madugalle the first trend setter

Former Sri Lanka captain Ranjan Madugalle was the first to win the Sunday Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest in 1979 and is now playing the all-important role of ICC’s Chief Match Referee.

Up to the last India-Bangladesh World Cup match in 2019, Madugalle has officiated in a record 356 ODIs, apart from the 187 Tests and 99 T20 Internationals as ICC Match Referee.

Ranjan Senerath Madugalle was born on April 22, 1959 in Kandy and was an ever-present fixture during Sri Lanka’s formative years in the Test arena. He was a stylish right-hand batsman but unfortunately his career record did not reflect his talent.

Madugalle was a solid performer during his career though at Test level the large scores eluded him. His only Test century was made against India in 1985-86 at the SSC ground and he was far more comfortable on home wickets averaging a healthy 42.76.

Only once he had been in a winning Test side while Sri Lanka had lost both Tests he had captained – one each against Australia and England.

Madugalle became an ICC Match Referee in 1993 and in 2001 he was elevated as the Chief Match Referee, replacing West Indian Clive Lloyd. His easy-going exterior and charming personality are masks for someone who has a reputation as a strict disciplinarian to remain as match referee for 26 years.

Madugalle who celebrated his 60th birthday on April 22, represented Sri Lanka in 21 Tests, scoring 1,029 runs which includes a brilliant 103 and seven half centuries. In 63 ODIs, he aggregated 950 runs with three half centuries and was a member of the first Sri Lanka Test team.

 

In fact, Madugalle (65) and another Observer Schoolboy Cricketer Arjuna Ranatunga (54) were the first Sri Lankans to score half centuries in Test cricket in the historic first match against England at the P Sara Oval in February 1982.

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Murali: The unmatched Test bowler

Muttiah Muralitharan is the world’s highest wicket taker in Test cricket with 800 scalps and he first came to the limelight through the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer contest some 28 years ago. A highly successful bowler in school cricket at that time, Murali was adjudged Observer Schoolboy Cricketer in 1991 when he was playing for St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota.

The election of Muralitharan to the elite band of cricketers is a golden moment in the four-decade-old history of the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest which has given that much-needed inspiration and motivation to the country’s budding schoolboy cricketers to extend their playing careers beyond school level.

Though there has been many outstanding players who aggregated over 1000 runs or captured over 100 wickets during a season, only a few have taken such performances to the next level. Playing for a reputed club after ending their school careers and winning the Sri Lanka cap thereafter has been the dream of every schoolboy cricketer but only a handful would eventually make that dream come true.

Undoubtedly, one such outstanding player who not only had achieved that goal in style, but had also gone to erase world records in Test cricket.

The early 90s belonged to a magical off spinner who had shattered the dreams of all batsmen in inter-school cricket during that period. He came to the limelight to enjoy rich harvests of over 100 wickets each on successive seasons and eventually became the highest ever wicket-taker in Test cricket, establishing several other world records in international cricket.

Muralitharan looked emotional when he went down memory lane while addressing the 33rd Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year awards night as the chief guest. “You are the future Sri Lanka players. You must keep the Sri Lanka flag flying wherever you go. Play hard and dedicate yourself, then success is bound to come,” he told the gathering then.

Murali was born on April 17, 1972 and achieved loads of records which would be hard to emulate. He is the only bowler to capture 800 wickets in Test cricket. Representing Sri Lanka in 133 Tests, Muralitharan has accounted for 800 scalps with an attractive average of 22.72.

Muralitharan’s deadly off breaks brought him bags of ten wickets or more on 22 occasions which too is a world record. No other bowler has captured five wickets or more on 67 occasions in Test cricket. His one day international record too is equally impressive. In 350 ODIs, the master spinner has captured 534 wickets with an average of 23.08.

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Aravinda to grace the show as chief guest

By Dinesh Weerawansa

It will be another red letter day in Sri Lanka’s sports history when the 41st Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest takes place at the Grand Ballroom of the Colombo Hilton starting from 5.30 pm on Friday (20).

Adding spice to the grand finale will be former Sri Lanka captain Aravinda de Silva, better known for many a sparkling innings both in Tests and ODI cricket, as the chief guest.

He is best remembered in ODI for his match-winning century against Australia in the 1996 World Cup final that enabled Sri Lanka to win the title under the captaincy of Arjuna Ranatunga, incidentally the second person to win the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer in 1980.

Apart from his majestic 107 not out in the 1996 World Cup final, he also played a prominent role with his bowling, capturing 3 for 42 which included Australian captain Mark Taylor.

Beside Ranatunga (1980 and 1982), there were players in that champion team who were winners in the grand final - Roshan Mahanama (1983 and 1984), Asanka Gurusinha (1985), Kumara Dharmasena (1989), Marvan Atapattu (1990) and Muttaih Muralitharan (1991). In addition, 1988 Observer Schoolboy Cricketer outstation contest winner Sanath Jayasuriya was also a member of that world champion team and played a decisive role to be Man of the Tournament (Most Valuable Player of the Tournament). De Silva had a peculiar stance that surprised close followers of the game. However, when facing he was in line with the ball and executed some lovely and elegant strokes. But all of them were not from the book and some of them were exclusively his innovations.

During that golden era, he faced bowlers of class and mastered them all with his quick eye and twinkle toed footwork and not very many of them showed a likeness to fire at him.

When in full cry he was often compered to West Indian great Sir Vivian Richards. In a Test match he had the spectators baying for more when he hooked the first ball bowled by the now prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan for six. Widely considered as one of the all time greats produced in Sri Lanka, Pinnaduwagwe Aravinda de Silva was born on October 17, 1965 and represented Sri Lanka in 93 Tests scoring 6,361 runs at an average of 42.97 with 20 centuries and 22 half tons. His highest innings in Tests was 267 against New Zealand at the Basin Reverse, Wellington in 1991. He made his Test debut in 1984 at Lord’s against England..

In 308 ODIs for Sri Lanka, de Silva scored 9,284 runs at an average of 34.90 with 11 centuries and 64 fifties with a top score of 145 against Kenya in the 1996 World Cup.

With his occasional off breaks, De Silva captured 106 ODI wickets and 29 Test wickets. In addition, he has over 15,000 first class runs to his credit.

Considered as one of the best entertainers with his willow, de Silva was better known for his technique, strong in cutting and hooking that made him an irrepressible attacker.

Beside his role with Kent in English County Championship, he also played first-class and club cricket in England, South Africa and Australia. His international career ended with the 2003 World Cup.

He had his initial education at Isipathana before switching on to D.S. Senanayake College playing in the company of Hashan Tillakaratne, a runner up in the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year who now serves as Sri Lanka’s Under-19 Head Coach.

It will be a memorable occasion when a new schoolboy star is baptized by one of the best Sri Lanka cricketers that the country has produced.

 

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Gura an architect of a World Cup

Asanka Gurusinha is one of those cherished Sri Lanka cricketers who have shown his might and achieved that distinction and is only the second Nalandian to be adjudged ‘Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year’ after Roshan Mahanama.

Gurusinha said that the ‘Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year’ title he won in 1985 was the turning point in his cricket career.

In a recent interview, the 52-year-old ex-Sri Lanka World Cup winning star said the year 1985 turned out to be a memorable year for him after winning the most sought-after title in school cricket.

“When Roshan (Mahnama) won this award twice in 1983 and 1984, I realized how prestigious it is to win the ‘Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year’ award. ‘It is a rare honour and an award that not every schoolboy cricketer had the fortune to win. One has to be outstanding and be consistent right throughout a season to win that award,” he said.

Following an outstanding 1984/85 season for Nalanda, with a rich harvest of over 1,000 runs with the willow, young Gurusinha was adjudged the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer in 1985 and was called up to the Sri Lanka team at 19 years of age as a wicket-keeper, a role he performed in a further two ODIs and one Test. He gradually established himself as a one-drop batsman in the national team with many responsible innings that was taken notice of by the selectors.

The technically sound left-handed top order bat, who eventually turned out to be one of the most dependable ever produced by Sri Lanka, made his ODI debut on November 3, 1985 in Sri Lanka’s fourth ODI against Pakistan in Hyderabad.

Representing Sri Lanka in 147 ODIs, Gurusinha has aggregated 3,902 runs inclusive of two centuries and 22 fifties to average 28.27. Just four days after making his ODI debut, Gurusinha won his Test cap on November 7,1985 to play for Sri Lanka in the third Test against Pakistan in Karachi.

The reliable left-handed batsman has represented Sri Lanka in 41 Tests to aggregate 2,453 with seven centuries and eight half tons, including a fluent 88 in his farewell Test innings. He has a Test average of 38.92 with a career-best score of 143. Gurusinha said outstanding performances by star schoolboy cricketers too prompted cricket fans to come in their numbers, irrespective of their school affiliations.

He was an architect of Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup triumph, aggregating 307 runs – the sixth highest among all teams, with three half centuries in six matches to average 51.16. At the last match of his Test career, he made a patient 88 off 239 balls against Zimbabwe at the SSC ground in September 1996.

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Dharmasena from champion to champion

Current International Cricket Council elite panel umpire and former Sri Lanka all-rounder Kumara Dharmasena won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest in 1989.

Born on April 24, 1971 in Colombo, he won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title in 1989 and stepped into the international scene in 1994 against South Africa.

Dharmasena’s quickish off spinners, with a slightly unorthodox action, were invariably accurate making him an ideal one-day bowler, especially on slow wickets in the subcontinent. He also became a useful middle order batsman, which guaranteed him a regular place in 141 ODIs to score 1,222 runs with four half tons. That includes his valuable contributions at the 1996 ICC World Cup tournament which Sri Lanka won.

Dharmasena has also aggregated 868 Test runs in 31 matches to his credit with three half centuries.

He retired from competitive cricket in November 2006 to pursue a career in umpiring and made his international umpiring debut in 2009. He was part of the panel of 18 umpires selected for the World Cup in India in 2011, officiating in the tournament opener between Bangladesh and India in Mirpur and later the same year was promoted to the ICC Elite Panel.

At the ICC awards show held earlier this year, Dharmasena won the David Shepherd Award for the ICC Umpire of the Year for the second time. Earlier he won the same award in 2012.

“It has been a very satisfying year for me and this award from the ICC is a great honour and privilege. This comes six years after I was first named for the award and will inspire me to keep doing the job I love so much.

“I have always been passionate about cricket, both as a player and an umpire and look forward to keep working hard and challenging myself in order to meet the demands of this great game,” Dharmasena was quoted as saying after being voted the best elite panel umpire for the second time.

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‘My brother influenced me’

Former Sri Lanka batsman Sanjeeva Ranatunga was keen on becoming Observer Schoolboy Cricketer after seeing his elder brother Arjuna winning glory for the second time in 1982.

“I was there to witness my elder brother winning this unique title once again, emerging out of a cricket ball. That inspired me to achieve the cherished dream in 1988,” he said.

He made his Test debut for Sri Lanka on August 26, 1994 in Kandy against Pakistan and his short nine-Test career had an aggregate of 531 runs but included two centuries and an equal number of fifties.

Ranatunga’s ODI debut for Sri Lanka was on August 3, 1994 also against Pakistan and his career-best innings in Tests was 118 while his top knock in ODIs was 70.

Unlike his famous elder brother Arjuna, Sanjeeva hardly hit mighty sixes at international level, but he was a talented left-hand batsman at domestic level.

He scored heavily at inter-school level for Ananda to be adjudged Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 1988, six years after his elder brother became the first to win the title twice. He then represented Sri Lanka ‘A’ on several occasions, after which he was picked for the home series against Pakistan in 1994.

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Mahanama created history with two titles

Roshan Mahanama was the first to win the prestigious title in successive years in 1983 and1984.

He first won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title in 1983 with a rich harvest of runs with the willow and continued to let his bat to do the talking in the following year too and his superb form won him the title for the second successive year in 1984.

Mahanama worked hard to achieve his targets in a disciplined manner, maintaining the high traditions of the game and it was his late father Upali Mahanama who had been a tower of strength behind the celebrated cricketer’s success story.

“He was a great source of encouragement to me. He stressed the importance of adding values and discipline to our lives. Then I was lucky to come under the watchful eyes of Lionel Sir (Lionel Mendis). He set us targets as young players and groomed us well,” said Mahanama.

Mahanama is of the view that his crowning glory as the ‘Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year’ in 1983 and 1984 was a major milestone in his career.

“To be adjudged the best schoolboy cricketer and be honored for the hard work during the season was a great encouragement. I was privileged to achieve it as one of my dreams”, he said.

Mahanama, 53, represented Sri Lanka in 52 Tests had an aggregate of 2,576 runs with four centuries and 11 fifties. His career best innings of 225 was registered against India in 1997, sharing a record partnership of 576 runs with Sanath Jayasuriya (340) at Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

He made a half century in his last Test for Sri Lanka which was against South Africa at Centurion Park in 1998 has played in 213 One Day Internationals for Sri Lanka to enjoy an aggregate of 5,162 runs with four centuries and 35 half centuries.

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Atapattu: the technician par excellence

Former Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu was one of the most technically sound batsman that Sri Lanka produced. From the early Test era of Sri Lanka, Atapattu earned a prominent place when it came to technicality after Sidath Wettimuny, Ranjan Madugalle, Roshan Mahanama and Hashan Tillekeratne.

Young Atapattu was playing junior cricket for Ananda when his school’s first X1 captain Arjuna Ranatunga was adjudged the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 1982.

“I was a junior cricketer at Ananda. I happened to witness the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year awards show in 1982. I saw our then school captain Arjuna Ranatunga emerging out of a huge cricket ball erected on stage, to receive the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award,” Atapattu said in an interview.

Atapattu’s achievement was a classic example on how such cherished moments could inspire even a junior cricketer witnessing the mega show, which has been rewarding to Sri Lanka’s schoolboy cricketers since 1979. Atapattu achieved that dream in 1990 and a few months after winning the prestigious Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award in 1990, was selected to make his Test debut for Sri Lanka on November 23 the same year, against India in Chandigarh. His ODI debut came a month later - on December 1, 1990 also against India in Nagpur.

The dependable opener has scored six double-hundreds in Tests, a feat bettered only by Don Bradman (12), Kumar Sangakkara (11), Brian Lara (9), Mahela Jayawardena and Wally Hammond (7 each). Virendra Sehwag, Javed Miandad, Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar too have scored six double centuries each but had played more Tests than Atapattu.

Atapattu said Sri Lanka could still get back to old glory if they concentrate on improving school cricket with a new approach. Explaining how the country’s school cricket could regain its glorious past, Atapattu said coaches should be careful about the developing of schoolboy cricketers.

“We must go back to where we were. Coaches must teach the basics properly, the correct technique and not instruct them merely to win matches at any cost. What coaches do now is to try out modifications at a very early age. Coaches expect the boys to react.This should be changed,” he explained.

Atapattu aggregated 5,502 runs including 16 centuries and 17 fifties in 90 Tests. He has proved his class in limited over cricket too, aggregating 8,529 runs in 268 ODIs at an average of 37.57 with 11 centuries and 59 half ‘tons’.

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Samaraweera: The rock solid wall of Sri Lanka

Thilan Samaraweera won the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award twice in 1995 and 1996. Born on September 22, 1976 in Colombo, Samaraweera is a product of Ananda College who later played for Sri Lanka.

He played for the national team as a permanent member in the Test squad and was in the side primarily for his rock solid right-handed batting.

Samaraweera has a proven track record as a classy batsman right from his school career and his outstanding performances in successive years earned him the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year titles in 1994 and 1995.

In the four decade long history of the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest, only six players have been fortunate enough to win the coveted award twice each and exactly half of them had been from Ananda.

In less than three years after winning the title for the second time, Samaraweera made his Sri Lanka debut in the Champions trophy ODI against India in Sharjah on November 6, 1998 and although he did not get an opportunity to bat, he had Indian wicket keeper bat Nayan Mongia (51) as his first ODI scalp.

He made a debut Test century in Sri Lanka’s third Test against India at the SSC ground in August 2001 as a late order batsman making 103 not out facing 175 balls in a 201-minute stay at the crease hitting ten fours.

Despite making his debut, Samaraweera showed the class of a seasoned batsman and was associated in an unfinished 194-run partnership for the seventh wicket with Hashan Tillakaratne as Sri Lanka emerged victorious by an innings and 77 runs.

Samaraweera’s rock-solid batting and tantalizing off spin bowling enabled him to cement his place in the Test team.

Representing Sri Lanka in 81Tests, Samaraweera aggregated 5,462 runs with 14 centuries and 30 fifties and is among the top Sri Lankan batsmen who had maintained an impressive Test average of 48.76.

Although Samaraweera was better known as a Test batsman, he had also represented Sri Lanka in 53 ODIs with a top score of 105 not out.

In 2013, he had a successful season with Worcestershire in the English county championship and made a top score of 144 not out against Leicestershire at Leicester on August 28, 2013.

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Chandimal the batsman who deserved more

Former Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal is one of the many Sri Lanka star cricketers produced by Ananda College to win the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award in 2009.

Chandimal is one of the most experienced and technically sound batsmen to win the prestigious Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title when he was representing Ananda College, Colombo exactly ten years ago.

Twenty nine-year-old Chandimal has represented Sri Lanka in 53 Tests aggregating 3,768 runs with an attractive average of 41.86 cracking 11 centuries and 17 fifties that included a career-best knock of 164. In 146 ODIs, Chandimal has aggregated 3,599 runs with an average of 32.42 with four ODI centuries and 22 fifties for a career-best knock of 111.

Following in the footsteps of most other past recipients of the prestigious title, Chandimal made his Sri Lanka debut just months after he was crowned the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 2009.

Chandimal is one of the most technically accomplished batsmen to serve in the Sri Lanka team capable of hitting the ball to all corners of the ground with a wide range strokes. Ever since his Sri Lanka debut, he has shown maturity at the crease with good temperament to build and pace an innings.

Unfortunately Chandimal missed out as he was omitted from Sri Lanka’s 2019 World Cup squad on the grounds that he dropped in form. The omission was highly criticized by many, including Arjuna Ranatunga.Although Chandimal deserved a place at least in the tour squad, the national selectors had other ideas. He has aggregated 863 runs in 27 matches across the three formats since 2018 at an average of 31.96 with one hundred and three fifties. He had scored 3,033 runs in 108 innings at an average of 34.46 till the end of 2016 and all his four ODI hundreds and 20 of his 22 fifties came in that period.

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Kusal Mendis: The most promising young player

Promising Sri Lanka batsman Kusal Mendis was adjudged Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year six years ago in 2012.

More importantly, Mendis was called for Sri Lanka duty after only 16 first class matches due to immense contributions he had made as a top cricketer from Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa.

He was adjudged the 2013 Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year and captained the national youth and the Prince of Wales teams in his formative years.

Usually batting at number three in all formats, Mendis was named the One Day International (ODI) Batsman of the Year in the 2016-17 season at Sri Lanka Cricket’s annual awards presentation.

He captained the Sri Lanka team in the 2014 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup immediately after his final season for Prince of Wales and became the 132nd Test player for Sri Lanka, gaining his Test cap during the second Test of the Sobers-Tissera Trophy series against the West Indies.

He made a modest Test debut in the second Test of the West Indies tour of Sri Lanka in 2015, scoring 13 runs in the first innings and 39 runs in the second but he was included in the Sri Lanka squad for the tour of England and in the first Test he made a ‘duck’ but scored his maiden Test half-century (53) in the second innings.

He heralded his One Day International (ODI) career with a bang on June 16, 2016, scoring his maiden ODI fifty and made his Twenty20 International debut against England in the following month.

Mendis scored his maiden Test century on July 28, 2016 during the first Test against Australia at the Pallekele Cricket Stadium. Incidentally, he became the youngest Sri Lankan to score a century against Australia and also the highest score against Australia on home soil.

His blistering form enabled Sri Lanka to win the match by 106 runs, which was only their second Test win against Australia and Mendis was awarded the Man of the Match prize for his wonderful performance.

In the fifth ODI of the three-nation tournament, which also featured Zimbabwe against the West Indies, Mendis scored 94 and Sri Lanka won the match by a solitary run with Mendis being adjudged Man of the Match.

Mendis’ all-round performances in the series gave him his first Player of the Series award.

In the first Test against Bangladesh at Galle, Mendis scored his second Test century, a marathon knock of 194 but missed a double century.

Mendis had a memorable feat in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, scoring a match-winning 89 runs against India to seal the match as Sri Lanka chased a daunting 321 runs recording the highest successful run chase in the Champion’s Trophy history.

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Dickwella the Lion who hunts all over

Sri Lanka wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella is another cricketer who won the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest.

The attacking left-hand and unorthodox wicket keeper-batsman first came to the limelight when he won the prize in the year 2012 after a splendid school season for Trinity College, Kandy.

Dickwella made his Test debut in July 2014 at the age of 21 but could not hold his place for long and his second comeback to international cricket was in 2017 that brought him better success behind the stumps and the ability to play shots all-round the wicket.

Dickwella was born on June 23, 1993 and in November 2017 he was named the Emerging Cricketer of the Year for 2016–17 at Sri Lanka Cricket’s annual awards presentation. The outstanding Trinity Lion has so far represented Sri Lanka in 31 Tests, scoring 1,626 runs inclusive of 11 half centuries with a top score of 83 averaging 30.11 and in 51 ODIs he has aggregated 1,571 runs with two centuries and nine half tons with an average of 32.74 that gives him an impressive strike rate of 93.56.

He made a dream Test debut exactly two years after winning the Obserer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year with a majestic 72. Coming in at No.7 and making his Test debut in Sri Lanka’s second Test against South Africa at the SSC ground in July 2014, he played like an experienced batsman to score 72 off 116 balls in 195 minutes with one six and eight fours in Sri Lanka’s first innings.

He made his Twenty20 International (T20I) debut for Sri Lanka against India on February 9, 2016 and scored his maiden T20 fifty which was a match-winning knock in the third match that ensured the first series win against South Africa.

Dickwella was adjudged both man of the match and player of the series for his match-winning batting performances.

He scored his first ODI century on July 6, 2017 against Zimbabwe at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium as Sri Lanka chased 310 to win the match which was the first 300-plus successful chase by Sri Lanka on home soil.

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