Three former Schoolboy Cricketers in Champions' League squad

Peterites Lakshina Rodrigo and Santhush Gunatileka are engaged in a neck to neck tussle in the Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year division contest.

Rodrigo continued to take a slim lead but anything could happen in the weeks to come. The contest has become wide open although Rodrigo is still in the lead. Rodrigo who enjoyed a lead of 239 votes over his team mate Gunathilleka in the previous week, but the gap has now been reduced to mere 25 votes by the end of the 12th week’s count.

Rodrigo retained his lead with 11,380 votes but he is closely followed by fellow Peterite Gunathilleka who has polled 11,355 votes. But the duo is expected to face a tough competition from Isipathana’s Sanjula Abeywickrema who is placed third in the Division 1 competition with 9,923 votes.

Piyumal Sinhawansa of St.Anne’s Kurunegala and Charitha Basnayake continued to maintain their leads in the Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year division 11 and 111 competitions respectively.

Since the beginning of the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest way back in 1979, many of its award winners have made it to the Sri Lanka national team, beginning with Ranjan Madugalle and Arjuna Ranatunga. The latest in the ever-growing list are three past winners of the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year main title who have been included in the 15-member Sri Lanka squad for the ICC Champions trophy tournament which begins in England on June 1.

The Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year stars who will add more weight to the Lankan squad for the eight-nation tournament are former Sri Lanka T20 captain Dinesh Chandimal, wicket-keeper batsmen Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Mendis.

Chandimal is the most experienced of the three, winning the prestigious Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title in 2009 when he was representing Ananda College, Colombo. Former captain of Trinity College, Kandy, Dickwella won the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title in 2012. Ex-Cambrian skipper Kusal Mendis won the coveted title in 2013 and in the same year, he was chosen to captain Sri Lanka Under-19 team to Bangladesh.

The team to England will be accompanied by another past winner of the most sought after title in school cricket - Asanka Gurusinha who functions as cricket manager of the national team. Gurusinha, who played a leading role in Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup triumph, won the main title in 1985 when he was representing Nalanda.

Moreover, yet another past award winner is serving as the Chairman of Selectors – Sanath Jayasuriya, who won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year (Outstation) title when he was representing St. Servatius College, Matara in 1988.

Twenty seven-year-old Chandimal has represented Sri Lanka in 125 ODIs to aggregate 3,199 runs with an average of 34.03. He has scored four ODI centuries and 21 fifties with a career best knock of 111. Chandimal made his Sri Lanka debut just months after he was crowned the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 2009.

Chandimal is one of the most promising young batsmen who had stepped into the Sri Lanka team in recent times. He is a technically sound batsman who is capable of hitting the ball to all corners of the ground with a wide range of strokes. Ever since his Sri Lanka debut, he has shown maturity at the crease with a good temperament.

Dickwella, one of the most successful Trinity captains and a reliable top order batsman , came to the big league after winning the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title five years ago – having scored over 1,000 runs in the previous season.

He is an attacking left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman. Dickwella, who turns 24 later next month, has been particularly impressive in limited-overs cricket. Months after winning the main title at the Mega Show, Dickwella was called to represent Sri Lanka ‘A’ in its tour of England in 2013. Since then, he has proved his class both as a top order batsman with safe hands behind the stumps.

Mendis, who had scored many match-winning innings for Prince of Wales before he was adjudged the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 2013, too has shown good form with the willow. Within a months after winning the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title four years ago, he was appointed Sri Lanka’s under-19 captain for the Youth World Cup.

He made his Sri Lanka debut with a blistering half century – scoring 51 off 59 balls with eight boundaries in Sri Lanka’s first ODI against Ireland in Dublin on June 16 last year. Since then, Mendis has figured in 25 ODIs for Sri Lanka to aggregate 845 runs at an average of 36.73. He has one century and nine fifties to his credit with a career best knock of 102.

The three Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year top award winners are set to make their presence felt in the forthcoming Champions Trophy tournament.

SLT Mobitel, the national mobile service provider, continues to provide that ‘smart connection’ to the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest. Under the directions of the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Telecom and SLT Mobitel P.G. Kumarasingha, the Chief Executive Officer of the SLT Mobitel Nalin Perera has made a great contribution towards the success of the event during the past decade. The Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year continues to enjoy the longstanding association of the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA) and the Sri Lanka Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association under the blessings of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) headed by Thilanga Sumathipala.


There is 1 Comment

Like the 3 all other talented Schoolboy Cricketers maintained consistency should have been brought [ with confidence gained & when their reflexes were lightening fast ]straight from school as it happened in the past. This hasn't been happening for the last 15-20 years because selectors of late have always kept & preferred experience of underperforming seniors too long. who came into the Side not because they were extremely talented but because they were from the selector's neighbourhood . As a result many a outstanding Cricketers of late couldn't make into the National side[ e.g. RoshenS2007,AngeloP2009, UmeshKarunarthna2008, Bhanuka2011,RomeshBhuddhika2010, SadeeraS, LahiruM,BinodBhanuka

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