SLC invests whopping Rs. 26 million on U19 cricket | Daily News

SLC invests whopping Rs. 26 million on U19 cricket

Sri Lanka Cricket president Thilanga Sumathipala, secretary Mohan de Silva and Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews chatting to the captains of the respective provincial under 19 teams at SLC headquarters yesterday. Picture by Ruwan de Silva


Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) in its endeavour to uplift the standard of under 19 cricket are investing in a massive budget of Rs. 26 million while launching its Super Under 19 provincial tournament which is scheduled to commence after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year on April 19 and conclude on May 12.

Ten teams are due to take part from eight provinces in two groups namely Western Province North, Western Province Central, Uva Province, Northern Province and North Western Province forming Group A, and Western Province South, North Western Province, Eastern Province, Central Province and Southern Province forming Group B.

The matches will be of two days duration and the final will be played over three days.

The teams will be competing for prize money worth Rs. 500,000 with Rs. 300,000 going to the winners and Rs. 200,000 to the runner-up in addition to Rs. 10,000 for each man of the match and Rs. 25,000 for the Man of the Final.

However the big draw card of the tournament is that one outstanding player will be picked from it to the national team. This move according to Sri Lanka Cricket president Thilanga Sumathipala will be an ongoing process for the future.

"At least one outstanding player will be picked out of this tournament by the national selectors and he will be part of the Sri Lanka team to England," said Sumathipala.

"We can send 16 players but we are only sending 15 initially leaving room for one schoolboy cricketer from this tournament to be included. We intend to keep that practice going until the end of the South African tour in December," he said.

"We will include a schoolboy cricketer in the national squad for the home series against Australia and for the tour to South Africa in December. This will be an ongoing process so that the under 19 cricketer gets used to becoming part of the national team."

Speaking on the criteria of selection Sumathipala said, "We will pick a player who will be suitable for the particular tour and for the requirement of the team. Our intention is not to give him a tour just to sit on the bench, we want him to try and play. He has to be in the squad with a chance of playing not a bench player. Then only the pressure will come to the national team. That's our intention.

"This tournament is our future and we are looking at continuous investments in it. The 2019 World Cup in England is something we are looking at having a majority of these players in the team."

Sumathipala said a tournament of this nature was essential because today no longer do the schools turn out players in the caliber of Aravindas and Mahanamas.

"We have invested into this segment which we haven't done so far. Unlike in the past we don't see a lot of schoolboy cricketers playing at national level or knocking on the door to the national team like Aravinda de Silva and Roshan Mahanama did during their time playing as schoolboys," said Sumathipala.

"We have expanded our quantity of cricket. We have over 600 under 13 schools playing, more than 500 in under 15 and under 17 and more than 400 at under 19," he pointed out. "We have more than 12,000 matches played every year and more than 20,000 cricketers playing in this country from under 13 to under 19 levels. However the quantity has not focused on the quality as much as we would like to see."

He said the whole intention of holding the under 19 provincial tournament was to overcome this lapse.

SLC vice-president K Mathivanan who is handling domestic cricket said the tournament was a good eye opener for the youngsters to showcase their talent.

"The selectors will be following the matches. We have gone into a lot of detail to make it a very competitive event. We have spoken to the curators to prepare fair tracks with grass. It's a tournament for the future and these are the boys who will be playing in our future national teams," Mathivanan said. 

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