Chandana Mahesh outstanding talent from Moratuwa | Daily News

Chandana Mahesh outstanding talent from Moratuwa

Chandana Mahesh
Chandana Mahesh

The former old boy of Moratu Vidyalaya, Cricketer, Athlete, Senior Cadet, House Captain and Schools Games Captain, Prefect, Club Cricketer, Cricket Umpire and present Match Referee and Banker Chandana Mahesh spoke to the Daily News Sports at his residence at Laxapathiya, Moratuwa.

Q. Can you tell something in brief about yourself and your family?

A. My full name is Singakkarage Chandana Mahesh Wickramasinghe and I was born on 23 September 1965 and my father is Singakkarage Wickramasinghe. He was a businessman and my mother is Thiramunige Iranganee Fernando and she was a housewife. I have one younger brother and a younger sister and my wife is Nisha Irani Wijewickrama. She is also a housewife and a Social Worker and we have one son and two daughters and we hail from Moratuwa.

Q. What is your first school?

A. I had my entire education at Moratu Vidyalaya from Grade One to Advanced Level and when I was admitted to school my Principal was K. S. Fernando and my first class teacher was Mrs. Sisily Fernando. I entered college in 1971.

Q. Did you participate in sports whilst at school?

A. I played Cricket, Elle and I did Athletics and Cadeting.

Q. Did anyone influence you to play cricket?

A. As a small boy I used to play softball cricket with my neighbouring friends and at during school intervals. When I was eleven years I attended under 14 cricket practices and I got selected as a number 8 batsman. I was encouraged to play cricket by our under 16 cricket captain Sri Anura. In my first match versus St. John’s, Panadura I was unbeaten on 38. In the following year I played for the under 14 team under Vijith Priyantha and I was the gloveman of the side and my captain was Anil Fernando, coach former Adastrian Sarath Fernando and Master in Charge Captain Raj Fernando. The following year I played for the under 14 team under Vijith Priyantha and in the same year under 12 cricket commenced at our school and I was appointed as the captain. Our first match was with Carey College and I got 9 and 91 not out. The following year under Athula Wickramatilake I played for the under 15 team and Bernard Perera took over as coach and I played for two years.

Q. Did you continue to play cricket?

A. In 1982 I played for the under 17 team and in my first match I scored exactly 100 runs against Gampaha Bandaranayake and passed the 250 mark that season. The following year I captained the team and I passed the 300 mark. As an under 15 player I played in the Big Match in 1979 and I dismissed 13 victims (6 and 7) behind the stumps which is still a record. In my second year under Bandula Fernando I scored 800 runs and my third year under Athula Wickramathilake I scored 1316 runs with four centuries and 13 fifties. I became the first cricketer from Moratuwa and second from the all island to pass the 1000 run mark. The first was Ashley de Silva of St. Joseph’s. I also captured 5 for 14 in the big match. In 1983 I could not play under Chandranath de Alwis due to illness and played only in the big match. I scored 50 and 40 runs. In 1984 I was appointed as captain and I scored 1114 runs with one century and 9 fifties and became the first cricketer to score 1000 twice. Later Vidyalian Sanka Ramesh achieved this rare feat. Altogether I played in five big matches.

Q. Did you play club cricket?

A. As an under 15 player I played for Moratuwa Sports Club in the Daily News Trophy under Vernon de Mel and it was Leslie Mendis who introduced me to Moratuwa SC. Then I played in division two under Nihal Thenuwara and the following year I played in the Sara Trophy under Bandula de Silva from 1977. In my first ever Daily News match I scored a century and again in division two I got another century against Baduraliya Sports Club.

I played in division one upto 1986 and my captains were Bandula de Silva, Daya Sirisena and Hemal Mendis. Under Hemal I got 800 runs with 9 fifties. Then I joined Saracens Sports Club and played under Lionel Fernando and Mevan Peiris. Under Mevan I got 4 fifties.

Q. Then what happened?

A. Again I came back to my old club and played upto 1990 and in that season I captained the team. Then I joined Sebastianites Sports Club and in 1996 and 1997 I captained the team.

Q. What is your employment?

A. Because of cricket I got several jobs commencing from Tyre Corporation, Water Resources Board, Hiddique Finance. There my team mates were Angelo Liyanage, Gamini Wickramasinghe and Dileepa Wickramasinghe.

I must not forget Marian Cooray. He came to my place and took me to Nawaloka Group and I played under Asoka Silva in the Mercantile Tournament Division One.

Q. When did you joined the HNB?

A. In 1992 and I played for the Inter bank and Mercantile for ten years and I am grateful to Sathya Jayasooriya, Suresh Samaranayake, Gamini Wickramasinghe, Chris Obeysekara, Upali de Silva, Nilan de Silva and all others who always helped me at all times.

Q. At any time were you involved in Sri Lanka Cricket administration?

A. I am a qualified cricket umpire. I have officiated in all formats of Sri Lanka Cricket. I have officiated in unofficial test matches between Sri Lanka “A” against Pakistan ‘A’, England, West Indies and was a standby for the New Zealand game.

I have also officiated in Sri Lanka under 19 matches against Bangladesh and Pakistan and since 2013 I am a match referee to- date.

Q. Are you helping to promote your cricket at your school?

A. There was a setback in junior cricket at our school due to financial difficulties. Immediately Prasanna Dissanayake, Anil Fernando, Ruwan Rupasiri and Padalal Fernando and I with the past cricketers we formed Old Moratu Vidyalians Sports Club and in 1998 we came up to the semi-finals in 1998. In division three under Lucky Rodgers we were Colombo District joint champions with Nomads and Ajantha Mendis played for us. Our present captain Nishan Madushka with the under 19 team toured Malaysia, India and New Zealand (World Cup). Our club is the livewire for cricket in our alma mater.

Several of our past cricketers are representing the club. In 2007 Ajith Cooray invited me to play for Sebastianites and I joined them and played in the limited over tournament.

Q. Did you represent any other games whilst at school?

A. I was the under 12, 15, 17 and under 19 Athletic champion and House Captain too. I represented the school in divisional tournaments and I could not go beyond due to my involvement with cricket at school. I was the Games Captain, Senior Cadet and a member of the Elle Team and a Prefect.

Q. Who is the best schoolboy batsman during your time and the best club batsman?

A. Wirantha Fernando and Roy Dias.

Q. What is the advice you can give to young cricketers?

A. Cricket is a mental game and you have to improve and control it yourself.


Note: Chandana can be contacted on 0773500279


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