Janitha Shehan Leelaratne outstanding cricketer and athlete | Daily News


Janitha Shehan Leelaratne outstanding cricketer and athlete

Gurukula Vidyalaya, Kelaniya First Eleven Cricket Pool 2019/20 posed for a Group Photograph at Thomian Grounds Mount. Lavinia prior to their two day tournament match. Squatting L/R – Janitha Shehan, Vihanga Iranjana, Oshada Sanesh, Malshan Lakshitha, Neluka Heshan, Thushara Madushan, Abishek Jayawardene Back Row Standing L/R – Rithika Dinesh (Head Coach), Risitha Sankalpa, Sasitha Ashan, Kemira Nayanatharu, Dilshan Sasanga, Praveen Nimesh, Rashmika Mevan, Nuwantha Madushan, Sithija Chamod (Vice Captain), Dilip Chamara, Kaveesha Nadun (Asst. Coach), Buddhi Prasanna (Asst. Coach) 
(Picture by Dilwin Mendis Moratuwa Sports Special Correspondent) 

The second year first eleven cricketer, right arm medium pace bowler who opens the attack, middle order bat and safe fielder in any position Janitha Shehan Leelaratne excelled as an all rounder for his Alma Mater Gurukula Vidyalaya, Kelaniya during the last season and he has another four years to represent his school.

He commenced his schooling at Bollagala Maha Vidyalaya, Kelaniya and during his early days there was only athletics in his school but his forte is cricket from his younger days. He participated in the school Annual Athletic Sports Meet in the under 14 and 16 age groups and he was a short distance athlete and in his first attempt at the under 14 he swept the board in 100, 200 metres and long jump and in the second year he became first in 100 metres and long jump and came second in 200 metres. Doing same events in the under 16 age group he became champion winning all three events.

In the mean time he attended a Cricket Academy at Bollagala and he came under Nishantha Edirisinghe and from there he shifted to Youth Cricket Academy, Kelaniya under Lal Senaratne and Rithika Dinesh and noticing his talents Mr. Dinesh made arrangements with the Principal of Gurukula Vidyalaya, Kelaniya Anil Geethalal to admit Janitha to Gurukula and his dream came true to become a cricketer. In his first year it self he walked in to the under 15 team and scored 479 runs with a century against D. S. Senanayake Vidyalaya, Mirigama and got five fifties and also claimed 22 scalps as a seam bowler.

He got the opportunity to fit in to the first eleven team with the above performances under his belt and as an under 15 player he scored 402 runs and captured eight wickets. He was selected to the Gampaha District Zone Two Team in the Prima Cup and he got an unbeaten 42 runs in a match. Then he played for the Western Province North Outer Team in the Provincial T ournament and subsequently played against Dambulla and Kalutara and scored 32 runs versus Kalutara. He was selected to the under 15 All Island Squad consisting of 60 players and later it was reduced to 20 players and he is in the pool.

He played for the under 20 two day tournament match against the mighty Thomians in the pre quarters and they beat them but lost to Mahindians in the one day tournament. His captain and vice captain are Praveen Nimesh and Likshan Sasanga respectively and his Master in Charge of Cricket is Mr. Nishantha and the coach is Rithika Dinesh. He missed the opportunity of playing for the Big Match and One Dayer against their arch rivals Dharmaloka College, Kelaniya due to the prevailing situation of the country.

He had two tours to Bangalore and Kolkata with the NC Cricket Academy Kelaniya and playing in Bangalore in four matches he scored 238 runs with the top score of 82 runs in the finals and they lost. But he earned the Best Batsman’s Award and in his second tour of Kolkata they played four matches and Janitha collected 234 runs with the top score of 64 runs and these two tours were a fine exposure for him.

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