Aravinda - first Rajan to capture 100 wickets
A dream of any schoolboy bowler is to capture 100 wickets during a
school cricket season and some achieve it while others fail to achieve
it as it is no easy task. The wickets should help you and at the same
time the bowler has to perform consistently which requires fitness,
dedication and to study the weakness of the opposing batsman. All these
put together, the bowler will reach his ultimate goal.
This is what seventeen year old left arm spinner Aravinda
Withanarachchi did for Dharmaraja College and he was the first bowler
from this hill country school to capture 100 wickets during its 106 year
old or more cricketing history.
He reached his goal not on an ordinary occasion but at the 106th big
match against their traditional rivals Kingswood College. It was a
memorable occasion for the Rajans embellished this fine performance by
winning the big match and the limited overs clash to complete the route.
He re-wrote cricket history at Dharmaraja College as no other bowler
had reached this Himalayan heights. The Rajans enjoyed a fine season
this year as they won five matches outright and Aravinda
Withanarachchi's bowling played a major role.
Aravinda Withanarachchi broke into the school's cricket scene about
six years ago as a left arm spinner of much promise. One of uncle's
Priyantha Weragoda too was a left arm spinner but often ‘foxed’ the
batsmen by dropping his deliveries with the right arm which baffled the
umpires and the batsman dismissed.
This was an art which he mastered and got away in the highest level
of cricket which was Sara Trophy at that time.
Some of Aravinda Withanarachchi's outstanding performances were as
5 for 27 and 6 for 12 vs Rahula College, Matara.
5 for 70 vs Royal College, Colombo.
5 for 64 vs Nalanda College.
5 for 31 vs Ananda College.
5 for 37 and 5 for 95 vs Zahira College, Colombo.
Aravinda Withanarachchi's ambition is to play for the country and he
has one more year of school cricket and he is expected to continue his
mesmerizing bowling spells next year too. He is presently coached by
former Dharmaraja College all-rounder Ananda Wijesekera who led the
Rajans to an innings victory over Kingswood College in the big match of
1971 in which spinner H S Ekanayake captured a match bag of 12 for 66.
This Rajans team also had in its ranks the present Minister of Lands and
Land Development Janaka Bandara Tennakoon who scored a fighting 74 in
the following year's big match.
Aravinda Withanarachchi is grateful to his Principal S M Keerthiratne
who has given him all the encouragement and guidance and to his coach
for chisseling his rough edges.
His master in charge for cricket Sarath Ekanayake has been one of his
mentors and has motivated him a lot, along with the Deputy Principal
Sarath Mathararachchi and the Prefect of Games Colonel Sarath