Navod Paranavithana confident of entering national team soon | Sunday Observer

Navod Paranavithana confident of entering national team soon

10 May, 2021

The awards ceremony of the 42nd Observer-SLT-Mobitel School Cricketer of the Year contest took place at the BMICH recently.

The Youth Observer met Navod Paranavithana of Mahinda College, Galle who was picked as the Observer-SLT-Mobitel School Cricketer of the Year, to discuss how he achieved it.

Q: You are the first student from Mahinda College to win this award. What do you feel about it?

A: I am very proud about it especially as a student of Mahinda College. The award will encourage me to reach national level in cricket.

Q: How did you come to take up this game? Was this your first sport or was it something else?

A: My first sport was soccer. That was my favourite in my younger days. But, suddenly I had a chance to change my sport. I took to playing cricket and gave up football.

Q: What motivated you to take to cricket and give up football?

A: My father was the main reason. He was a cricketer in his school days. I used to play soccer on the grounds when cricket practises were on and sometimes I bowled at the nets. One day when I was bowling, my father saw me and asked me whether I would like to play cricket. I agreed to his suggestion and began playing cricket. That is how my cricketing career began.

Q: Are you the first member in the Paranavithana family to play cricket for Mahinda College?

A: No, I am not the first. My brother played cricket for Mahinda. That was another reason for me to take up cricket.

Q: Does your brother still play cricket? Or has he given it up?

A: After I started going for cricket practises my brother gave up cricket because it would not be easy to bear the expenses of two members of the same family playing cricket and my father too had high hopes regarding my cricket career.

Q: At what age did you begin to play cricket in school?

A: I was in Grade 6 when I first began to play cricket for the school.

Q: What were your achievements in your early days?

A: I played the under-13 team in 2015. That year I scored over a thousand runs (1,182) as a batsman. That was the highest number of runs for an under-13 player in this tournament. I also continued the run-streak in the under-15 tournament as well and scored 1,023 runs in 2017. I was the best batsman and most outstanding cricketer in 2015.

Q: Is it correct to say that you were selected to play in the under-13 team of the Galle district and the Southern Province?

A: Yes. It was an achievement for me as a junior cricketer and I am very proud about it.

Q: You were also a member of the under-19 national team?

A: Yes. That was in 2018. It was a milestone in my cricketing life.

Q: You also set up a new record as the first schoolboy to score 400 runs in a single innings?

A: I achieved that feat in the 2019/20 season. That is the highest score that a school cricketer has ever scored. The match was against Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda.

Q: That was a remarkable achievement. You showed your talent as an under-13 player?

A: Yes. I represented the first XI team while being an under-13 cricketer. At that time I was 13 years and 10 months.

Q: Tell me something about your family?

A: We are a five-member family. I am the middle one of three boys. My father is a retired Army official.

Q: How about your schooling?

A: I have been studying at Mahinda College since Grade 1. My school encourages me to perform well in cricket. I am now in the Advanced Level class and my teachers help me to cover the syllabus.

Q: How about your experiences in the under-19 Sri Lanka cricket team?

A: While being a school cricketer I represented Tamil Union Cricket Club. Then I was selected to play in the under-19 team and was also nominated to play in the LPL (Lanka Premier League) cricket tournament.

Q: Have you represented the under-19 national school’s team in overseas tournaments?

A: I have travelled to Bangladesh, the West Indies and to South Africa as a member of the under-19 team.

Q: To end the interview could you tell me what your future plans are and who helped you to reach this stage in your cricketing career?

A: I hope to become a member of the national cricket team soon. That is my main dream. I am determined to achieve it.

The principal of Mahinda College Gamini Jayawardahana, former masters-in-charge of cricket, Wasantha Gammuduwatha and Aravinda Rathnayaka, present master-in-charge Y. Nisantha Kumara and all staff members helped me on this journey. Old boy of the school Nalin Herath, Anil Gunasekara of Australia and several old boys of the school help me.