Weak in bowling but Thomians determined to retain shield | Daily News


 

141st Battle of the Blues

Weak in bowling but Thomians determined to retain shield

S. THOMAS’ COLLEGE, MOUNT LAVINIA 1ST X1 CRICKET TEAM 2020: Standing in front (from left): Gavin Boteju,  Shamilka Wickramathilake, Mohamed Ishaq, Deoan Fernando, G. Caniston, Yasiru Rodrigo, Bathiya Gunathilake, Anuk Palihawadana, Romesh Mendis. Standing in back row (from left): Ryan Fernando, Dilmin Ratnayake, Shalin de Mel, Thevin Eriyagama (captain), Umayanga Suwaris, Kishan Munasinghe, Maneesha Rupasinghe (vice-captain), Ravindu de Silva. Picture by Herbert Perera
S. THOMAS’ COLLEGE, MOUNT LAVINIA 1ST X1 CRICKET TEAM 2020: Standing in front (from left): Gavin Boteju, Shamilka Wickramathilake, Mohamed Ishaq, Deoan Fernando, G. Caniston, Yasiru Rodrigo, Bathiya Gunathilake, Anuk Palihawadana, Romesh Mendis. Standing

S. Thomas’ College will start tomorrow with the morale boost, as the shield holders, packed with batting but with a less impactful bowling playing to defend the Rt. Hon. D.S. Senanayake Shield against traditional rivals Royal College in the 141st Battle of the Blues cricket encounter at the SSC grounds from March 12-14.

However though, theirs was also a far-off from smooth-sail, including an off-colour run and suffering an elimination from the knockout stages of the U-19 two-dayer, particularly, after ending runners-up, last season.

S. Thomas’, a prestigious name in schools and sports, led by Thevin Eriyagama this season, is usually a force, but has lacked making strides. That comprised being knocked out of the two-day tournament, though they have reached the quarterfinal stage in the limited-over format.

In the U19 two-dayers of the 16 matches completed, they have won four outrights without a single loss and drawn the remaining dozen. This was subsequent to the dream run of last year, winning the highly-hyped Royal-Thomian, bagging the U19 limited-over tournament and runners-up at the two-dayer. In addition, they also bagged an umpteen number of awards for their stellar show.

“Our boys are confident. But, I prefer going for the big match as underdogs. We have a very good experienced side, this year,” said Dinesh Kumarasinghe, their head coach.

Kumarasinghe giving a glance on his team went on that they couldn’t play a few matches in third-term due to rain, but in the first-term the team had performed.

“It’s an all-round side. But this year, our bowling is a bit weak. The reason is Kalana Perera, Dellon Peiris, Shannon have all left. So, we have young bowlers coming in and putting them for the future, giving them the exposure,” Kumarasinghe added.

In spite of losing close to half-a-dozen seniors, this years’ team has got the likes of two players, who have featured in the SL U19 squad, including the Asia Cup.

One is the left-arm quick Yasiru Rodrigo and the other Ravindu de Silva. The latter, in addition to topping the runs for the country in the recently concluded U19 World Cup, has also finished as the second highest in the tournament itself. From the wickets department, it is Dilmin Ratnayake, right-arm leg-spinner, the leading wicket-taker for the Thomians with 64 wickets. Royalist will have to keep him at bay. Ryan Fernando seems to have done the talking with the bat, having accumulated 564 runs. Kumarasinghe sounded and appeared all systems ready to repeat the Thomian triumph for the second-year in-a-row. Touching on their game plan, he mildly let the cat out of the bag, “As an all-round side, we have done well during the season. Trying to play positive cricket but I don’t underestimate the Royal team.”

“We are a well-balanced side. Batting is stronger than bowling. So, I prefer to lose the toss this year, not to win,” he said laughingly.

He did concede, since quite a number of players have left from last’s year’s winning-side, a problem does lie there.

“We are equipped with batsmen till no.9. But bowling has been the problem. So, we have to put two young bowlers a 16-year-old young blood from the Sri Lanka U-19 has featured in the Asia Cup. Another fast-bowler is Canistan Gunaratnam, he is also really good. So, those two boys can play for another three years.”

He, however, credited Kalana, Dellon et al for the experienced bowlers they were.

“The spin department is a bit weak this year. So, we are trying to put some young boys into that,” Kumarasinghe, as a coach for STC since 2013 concluded.


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