Covid-19 put Mega Show on hold | Daily News


 

Covid-19 put Mega Show on hold

Chief Executive Officer of SLT Mobitel Nalin Perera (third from left) handing over the sponsorship of the 42nd Observer-Mobitel School Cricketer of the Year to ANCL Director Legal and Administration Rakhitha Abeygunawardhana (fourth from left) while Manager Channel Publicity Chanaka Liyanage (extreme left), Editor-in-Chief of Sunday Observer Dinesh Weerawansa (second from left), ex-ANCL General Manager Abhaya Amaradasa (second from right) and DGM Marketing Waruna Mallawaarachchi (extreme right) look on.

The unexpected developments in the country with the Covid-19 epidemic has forced us to postpone the 42nd Observer-Mobitel School Cricketer of the Year.

Although we originally planned to host the 2020 Mega Show at the BMICH on November 18, it seems that we will be unable go ahead due the latest Covid-19 developments in the Brandix cluster.

Hence it is too early to take a decision on the date with more than a month to go, we have decided to closely monitor the developments and follow the Government regulations.

On the other hand, we are extremely happy to see more school cricket awards coming up to reward schoolboy cricketers in recent times.

After all, it is the country’s budding schoolboy cricketers who will be rewarded at the end after a strenuous season. But at the same time, it is sad that none of those copied school cricket award shows are taking place this year, making the Observer School Cricket Awards show the Mother of All Battles.

Thus, the 42nd Observer School Cricketers of the Year show will march forward as the undisputed leader which was continuously held for 41 years.

When the mega events of this magnitude are being held, huge finances play a key role. It is even worse when such events are being held after the Covid-19 pandemic where even leading companies find it hard to prosper. That is precisely why even big time sponsors have pulled out half way through their schoolboy cricketer events.

Thanks to the untiring efforts of our sponsor Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel, the Observer-Mobitel School Cricketer awards will be a reality for the 42nd successive year thus maintaining its unblemished record.

If not for Mobitel’s lavish sponsorship package, the Observer-Mobitel School Cricketer awards will be held even in an year where most of the events world over have been devastated due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

Ever since the Covid-19 epidemic hit the world early this year and Sri Lanka was also caught up from mid-March, none thought that the 42nd Obsevrer-Mobitel School Cricketers of the Year would ever be a reality in 2020.

There were enough and more reasons to think so as everything in our day to day lives came to a complete standstill as the deadly Coronavirus spread worldwide, bringing almost all human activities to a complete standstill.When the oldest uninterrupted inter-school cricket match in the world – the Royal-Thomian encounter was played in the second week of march, things looked gloomy. But Sri Lanka took a determined approach to face the Covid-19 epidemic.

If not for the determined efforts of the health authorities, security forces and Government officials, Sri Lanka would have not been in a worse position. Despite the latest unfortunate Covid-19 developments in Brandix cluster, we are confident that Sri Lanka will soon put the house in order.

While citizens in the so-called big countries in the world perished in next to no time with even US President Donald Trump and his First Lady Melania Trump finally contacting the Covid-19, Sri Lanka is on a firm footing, setting new world marks in combating the coronavirus.

The concept of rewarding schoolboy cricketers at the end of each season was introduced to Sri Lanka by Lake House and it started the prestigious event in 1978/79. Organized by the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (ANCL), the event is sponsored by the country’s national mobile service provider Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel for the 13th successive year.

The Sunday Observer realized the need to reward the raw talent of the country’s schoolboy cricketers way back in 1978-79 at a time when there had been no organized inter-school cricket tournaments, apart from the traditional first XI matches between the so-called leading schools.

With the introduction of the Show and its expansion to have a separate segment for outstation schoolboy cricketers it went a long way in inspiring the talented players from remote areas.

The cherished dream of every schoolboy cricketer for over four decades has been winning a title at the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer. It all began in 1978/79 when the then captain of Royal College, Colombo Ranjan Madugalle was chosen the first ever Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year.

Eventually, it became a highly successful beginning for Sri Lanka’s first ever school cricket awards show but also gave birth to a new generation of cricketers who took Sri Lanka cricket to new horizons. Having captained his alma mater at the centenary Royal-Thomian cricket encounter in 1979, Madugalle had a wonderful time since then. He was immediately picked to the Sri Lanka team for the World Cup in the same year 1979 and went on to captain his club NCC and Sri Lanka with distinction.

Starting from Madugalle in 1978/79, the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer has produced a galaxy of stars who have marked Sri Lanka’s position prominently on the world cricketing map. Among them are Arjuna Ranatunga, Roshan Mahanama, Asanka Gurusinha, Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan, Mavan Atapattu and Kumar Dharmasena to name a few.

ICC’s Chief Match Referee Madugalle who celebrated his 61st birthday on April 22 this year, has represented Sri Lanka in 21 Tests, scoring 1,029 runs which includes a brilliant 103 and seven half centuries. In 63 ODIs, he had aggregated 950 runs with three half centuries.

The former Royal College captain was a member of the Sri Lanka team to play in the country’s first ever Test team. In fact, Madugalle (65) and another Observer Schoolboy Cricketer Arjuna Ranatunga (54) were the first Sri Lankans to score half centuries in Test cricket, in the historic match against England played at the Saravanamuttu Stadium in February 1982.

Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning captain Ranatunga was the first player to win the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award on two occasions. After Madugalle’s initial year, Ranatunga won it in 1980.

The ANCL Chairman and board of management have always given their best possible support to keep the Mega Show alive and kicking. Chairman/President’s Counsel W. Dayaratne, together with Director Editorial Dharma Sri Kariyawasam, Director Legal and Administration Rakhitha Abeygunawardhana, Director Finance Janaka Ranatunga and Director Operations Canishka Witharana have helped this show to go from strength to strength.