Four budding cricketers of the Northern Province | Sunday Observer

Four budding cricketers of the Northern Province

6 December, 2020

Any province, district or any village can produce a great player at any time. But the Northern Province had been unable to do so for three decades due to terrorism.

The separatists tried to divide the country by fighting against the government. However, they were defeated by the tri-forces and the people of the Northern Province won their freedom again. After three decades the youth in the North began to find ways to showcase their talent and some of them have shone in sports.

The Youth Observer met four cricketers from the North who are representing the Jaffna Stallions in the Lanka Premier League T 20 cricket tournament (LPL) now being played at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Hambantota.

It is like a miracle that four players from the North were able to qualify to play in this tournament as the Province does not have the infrastructure to play top-class cricket. But the youth of this Province are keen and never give up on their ambitions, was the view of the four players.

Sebastian Palaye Vijayaraj, a fast bowler, is the special player among them. The coach of the Jaffna team who saw him in action at a training session, included him in the team. He is like Lasith Malinga. Sebastian is a square-arm, stylish bowler and his speed is around 130 mph per hour. The 27-year-old studied at Palai Maha Vidyalaya, Kilinochchi.

The remarkable thing about him is that he had never played cricket in school. After leaving school he started playing softball cricket. He performed well with the ball and took to hard ball cricket on the advice of this mother.

It was difficult for him to enter the local cricket arena. However, after a few years the doors opened for him and Sri Lanka Cricket has taken note of his skills. He is known as the Kilinochchi Express in the North.

Nineteen-year-old Thewendram Dinotion is the second player. He is the captain of the St. John’s College, Jaffna cricket team.

He is a right-hand batsman and a right-arm medium-fast bowler. While playing in the under-15 team he scored three centuries.

As an under-19 cricketer he has played in 38 matches and scored 1,691 runs with four centuries and six half centuries.

Vijayakantha Viyaskanth is the third player.

He too is 19, and a student of Jaffna Central College. Vijayakantha is an off-spinner who hopes to perform well in school cricket. He has represented the Northern Province school cricket team as a specialist bowler and has captured 53 wickets in 16 games. He was also the hero of the school’s ‘Big Match’.

The fourth player is 21-year-old Kanagaratnam Kalbiraj who played cricket for St. John College, Jaffna. He represented the Police team in the 2017/18 under-23 cricket tournament.

Today, he is a member of the Tamil Union club. Though an allrounder today, he was the wicketkeeper of the under-13 team of the school.

Then he was asked to take up bowling. He agreed to it and performed well. He played as a right-hand batsman for his school team. In four seasons of school cricket, he has taken 112 wickets and collected 525 runs.

The four players are the ambassadors of the youth of the Northern Province. This LPL tournament is one of the most valuable events in their sports journey.