First big break for many cricketing legends | Daily News

First big break for many cricketing legends

Flashback: Charith Asalanka of Richmond College Galle was adjudged the Schoolboy Cricketer of the year for the second consecutive year at last year’s ceremony while his team was adjudged the best team from Southern Province. Here Asalanka receiving the trophy on behalf of his team from Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera.
Flashback: Charith Asalanka of Richmond College Galle was adjudged the Schoolboy Cricketer of the year for the second consecutive year at last year’s ceremony while his team was adjudged the best team from Southern Province. Here Asalanka receiving the tr

Top former Sri Lanka cricketers such as Ranjan Madugalle, Arjuna Ranatunga, Roshan Mahanama, Asanka Gurusinha, Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan, Marvan Atapattu, Kumar Dharmasena and Thilan Samaraweera, to name a few, and even present vice captain of the national team Dinesh Chandimal, had stepped into the international arena through one common platform – the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest.

For almost four decades, the contest has been a household name in elevating outstanding schoolboy cricketers from school level to international arena. The world class cricketers who had emerged through the contest have not only played and captained Sri Lanka with distinction but have even gone beyond that by turning out to be ICC Match Referees, ICC Elite Panel Umpires, the Chief ICC Match Referee and even Cabinet Ministers.

The first ever recipient of the prestigious award Ranjan Madugalle, the then Royal College captain, set a classic example for others to follow. He not only went on to lead Royal and NCC with distinction but also captained Sri Lanka.

He scored the second half century for Sri Lanka in Test in the first innings of Sri Lanka’s inaugural Test against England at Sara Stadium, minutes after Arjuna Ranatunga, who had won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title after Madugalle, became the first to do so.

Having retired from international cricket, Madugalle was elevated as an ICC Match Referee and was promoted later as the Chief ICC Match Referee, a post which he hold to date.

Sri Lanka’s first and the oldest school cricket awards ceremony has today become a dream event for schoolboy cricketers in the country. It not only motivates and encourages them to reach their sporting targets at the highest level but also showcases their achievements in a way that no other off-field event could ever dream of. While enabling the outstanding schoolboy cricketers to fulfill their dreams of making it to the big league through the unique platform, Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel, the principal sponsor of the mega show has been lavishly rewarding the outstanding players.

Even their coaches and masters in charge who play a silent role behind the scene too have been rewarded at the mega event. All this have been made possible with the financial backing of the sponsor of the mega event. It is heartening to see Sri Lanka’s national mobile service provider – the SLT Mobitel, giving the highest priority to boost school cricket by sponsoring the Observer-Mibitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest for the tenth consecutive year.

Thanks to the untiring efforts of the CEO of SLT Mobitel Nalin Perera, the show has gone from strength to strength. SLT Mobitel’s association with the show has been a great strength to the hosts – the Lake House. It all began way back in 1979 in an era when there had not been a single awards show for schoolboy cricketers or an organized inter-school Under-19 two-day tournament structure.

Our sister paper the Sunday Observer understood the need to inspire the country’s budding cricketers, giving birth to the country’s first-ever and the biggest school cricket awards show.

It is heartening to see that several others following the Sunday Observer’s initiative by hold similar awards shows to reward schoolboy cricketers after every season. But the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year remains the ‘Mother of all Shows’.

Needless to say how important it is for a schoolboy cricketer to win an award as recognition to their commendable achievements after a strenuous season.

It is not just appreciating their achievements but also a big inspiration for them to step into the big league.

All past winners of this prestigious title have repeatedly said what a big inspiration the award had been to their cricket careers. Since its humble beginnings at Nawaragahala in 1979, the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest has gone from strength to strengthen.

Schoolboys and their supporters young and old, still have a few more weeks left to vote for your favourite schoolboy cricketer and hail their achievements during the recently concluded inter-school first X1 season.

Voting coupons for the Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest continue to appear in ANCL newspapers, including the Daily News.


 

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