Where is the prodigy Boyagoda? | Sunday Observer

Where is the prodigy Boyagoda?

Hasitha Boyagoda

The 40th Observer School Cricketers of the Year show held two years ago was certainly a big occasion for Trinity College, Kandy – not because it produced a champion cricketer but also the personality who gave away the top award to the winner was also a world-renowned figure who had his primary education at the hill capital school.

The 40th Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2018 happened to be a meeting between the first and the 40th winners of the most prestigious event in school cricket which was a great and memorable moment. The winner of the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2018, Hasitha Boyagoda had the rare honour of receiving his glittering trophy form the recipient of the same title in its very first year 1978/79 Ranjan Maduglle, now the Chief Match Referee of the ICC.

In fact, Madugalle had his primary education at Trinity College before crossing over to Royal College from Grade 7 in 1971. On the other hand, Boyagoda was the third Trinitian to win the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title in its four-decade long history after Kaushalya Weeraratne (2000) and Niroshan Dickwella (2012).

Boyagoda, born on December 21, 1998 is another talented Sri Lanka young cricketer. In April last year, he was named in Kandy’s squad for the 2018 Super Provincial One Day Tournament. He made his debut for Kandy in the 2018 Super Provincial One Day Tournament on May 17, 2018.

A right-hand top order batsman, Boyagoda also proved his credentials as a right arm off spinner in crisis situations. Although Boyagoda opened batting in limited over matches, he generally came in one-drop or middle order in the established version.

It took only an year after winning the mega title, for him to play eight first class matches and make a century and two half tons. Boyagoda played for the Sri Lanka youth team in the Under-19 World Cup with distinction and scored 191 against Kenya, the highest in an Under-19 match.

He scored another century in the tournament to become the only Sri Lankan batsman to score two centuries (191 against Kenya and 116 against the West Indies) in an Under-19 World Cup tournament. His superlative performance during the tournament, made the International Cricket Council (ICC) to name him as the rising star of the squad.

He made his T20 debut for Dambulla on August 21, 2018 in the Sri Lanka Cricket T20 League tournament and made his first-class debut for Nondescripts Cricket Club in the 2018–19 Premier League Tournament on November 30, 2018.

His outstaying performance enabled him to find a place in the Sri Lanka Emerging team for the 2018 ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup. He represented the Sri Lanka U-19 team on tours to Australia in 2017 and South Africa in 2016 besides playing in the Asia Cup.

Considered as one Trinity’s most successful cricket captains, he had the honour of winning the highest award on offer at Trinity College, the Ryde Gold Medal in 2017.

The Ryde Gold Medal, awarded in honour of Rev. RW Ryde the former Principal who headed Trinity from 1900 to 1902 is the highest form of recognition that Trinity bestows on the best all-round student of the school. Among the distinguished past winners of the medal were Kumar Sangakkara (1996), Lakshman Kadirgamar (1949) and T.B. Werapitiya (1943) to name a few.

The eldest in a family of three, Boyagoda was introduced to hard ball cricket at the age of eight with Harold Ranasinghe being his first coach. At Trinity, he came under the coaching of Sampath Perera, one of the proven coaches who had produced cricketers such as Niroshan Dickwella and Lahiru Kumara.

In his junior school cricket career, Boyagoda captained Trinity’s under-13, 15 and 17 teams while at the same time captaining the Central Province under-15 and 19 teams. He won the Best Batsman’s award at the 99th Kandy Battle of the Blues in 2016 and in the following year’s centenary match he was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match.

His willow kept on talking in the 101st big match against St. Anthony’s too, as he once again bagged both the Best Batsman and Man-of-the-Match awards in 2018.

He was equally brilliant in limited overs cricket as he walked away with the Man-of-the-Match award at the 2017 one-dayer against the Antonians and in the 2018 limited overs match he won both the Best Batsman and Man-of-the-Match trophies. Boyagoda thus became the first Trinitian to score a century against St. Anthony’s in a one-day match.

Boyagoda is a classic example of how youngsters balance studies and sports and has already emulated Sangakkara academically by obtaining impressive results at the GCE Advanced Level examination. Having both his parents in the medical field as Consultants would have largely influenced Boyagoda in his studies.

However, he opted for a commerce stream to obtain 3As and finish second in the Kandy district and 62nd in the island’s rankings last year. He is about to face the second year examination for his management degree at the University of Colombo.

This will be the 13th consecutive year that Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel will be sponsoring the Mega Show, the country’s first schools cricket awards show which started in an era when there had not been even a First XI inter-school cricket tournament.

Winning the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title has remained the dream of every schoolboy cricketer. Moreover, there is a common belief among schoolboy cricketers that winning the prestigious title would take them closer to a place in Sri Lanka team.

Most past winners of the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer title had made their Sri Lanka debut in double quick time. SLT Mobitel has played a praiseworthy role in the promotion of the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year event.

Thanks to the untiring efforts of Sri Lanka Telecom Chairman Rohan Fernando, the former ace rower, and SLT Mobitel Chief Executive Officer Nalin Perera who have played a dynamic role in promoting school cricket in a big way.

Lake House Chairman and President’s Counsel W. Dayaratne has always helped this event to go that extra mile, providing his innovative ideas.

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