Anuda and Nimesh win Most Popular titles | Daily News
42nd Observer-Mobitel Most Popular School cricketer of the Year:

Anuda and Nimesh win Most Popular titles

Anuda Jayaweera of Ananda -  the 2020 Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year.-Nimesh Wijesundera of Marapola MV, Minuwangoda - the 2020 Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolgirl Cricketer of the Year.
Anuda Jayaweera of Ananda - the 2020 Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year.-Nimesh Wijesundera of Marapola MV, Minuwangoda - the 2020 Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolgirl Cricketer of the Year.

Anuda Jayaweera of Ananda College, Colombo 10 and Nimesh Wijesundera of Marapola MV, Minuwangoda were voted the Observer-Mobitel Most Popular School Cricketers of the Year after an exciting finish.

Jayaweera accounted for the 2020 Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year with a comfortable lead as the counting ended.

The winners of the 42nd Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy and Schoolgirl Cricketers of the Year will receive their glittering trophies at the grand finale to be held shortly. The finals of the Mega Show were originally scheduled to be held at the BMICH on November 18, but now postponed due to the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

Jayaweera, since gaining the top slot about two months back, was pushed back to second and third place about seven weeks ago. But he bounced back to regain the lead which he maintained for over a month until the finish.

The opening batsman of Ananda polled a staggering 83,897 votes to be the clear winner and become the 2020 Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year. However he was unable to break the all-time record of the highest 100,000 plus votes polled by former Sri Lanka cricketer and Royalist Ramith Rambukwella when he became the Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 2011.

Emerging the runner-up of the 42nd Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year was Royalist Ahan Wickramasinghe. Although he polled over 3,000 votes on the final round count, it was still not good enough to cut off the deficit with Jayaweera. Second-placed Wickramasinghe polled 77,091, giving Jayaweera a comfortable lead.

Lohan de Soyza of Dharmasoka College who went down to third place about a couple weeks ago, finished there with 75,611 votes.

In the fourth place of the final line up was Shehan Fernando of St. Benedict’s College with 73,219 votes, followed by Sukitha Manoj (St. Sebastian’s College - 69,304), Thevindu Seneviratne (Royal - 61,499), Dunith Wellalage (St. Joseph’s - 52,097), Ranudha Somaratne (Trinity - 51,701), Kanishka Rantillekege (Ananda - 50,469) and Dimuth Sandaruwan (Richmond - 38,106).

The new 2020 Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year has come a long was this season. After playing a memorable season last year with a century against St. Joseph’s and 115 against Nalanda in the mini battle, he earned a permanent place in the First X1 side.

He had a superb First X1 season including 94 against Dharmasoka and 86 against S. Thomas’. He was picked as the best batsman in this Marvan Atapattu-Mahinda Halangoda annual encounter played at the SSC ground this year.

Due to his superb form this season, he was selected to represent Ananda in the Battle of the Maroons big match against Nalanda. Jayaweera has been an outstanding cricketer produced by Ananda, playing Under-13, U-15, U-17 and U-19 cricket for his alma mater.

There were no positional changes in both the 42nd Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy as well as Schoolgirl Cricketer of the Year contests in the final week.

Nimesh Wijesundera of Marapola MV, Minuwangoda polled an aggregate of 60,003 votes to become the 42nd Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolgirl Cricketer of the Year 2020. Wijesundara has always been within the top three places in the 42nd Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolgirl Cricketer of the Year contest and had a sweet lead in the last few weeks.

There were no positional changes in the other placings of the Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolgirl Cricketer contest too. Emerging runner-up was Renuka Damayanthi of Bandaranayake MV, Gampaha with 55,098 votes.

Suranja Lakmali of Gonapola BMV polled 54,107 votes to finish third in the final placing, followed by Janadi Anali (Anula Vidyalaya - 45,801), Sachini Nethmini (Wadduwa Central College - 41,569), Umsha Himeshani (Devapathiraja Vidyalaya - 33,624) and Kavisha Dilhari (also Devapathiraja Vidyalaya - 25,561).

This year’s 42nd Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy and Schoolgirl Cricketers of the Year contests were twice hit by the Covid-19 epidemic which slowed down the voting. Nevertheless, it ultimately gathered its usual tempo by the end.

The heavy polling in the first term had a temporary shutdown in the last week of March due to Covid-19 pandemic.

But once it was overcome after a short break, the voting gathered its momentum again until the close.

In the last ten days of voting up to the finish, it once again slowed down. But by then, most of the top contenders maintained their lead till the finish line.

The 42nd Observer-Mobitel School Cricketer of the Year 2020 is organized by Sri Lanka’s flagship English newspaper the Sunday Observer and sponsored by the country’s national mobile service provider Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel.

The ANCL Chairman and board of management have always given their best possible support to keep the Mega Show alive and kicking.

Sri Lanka’s flagship English newspaper - the Sunday Observer, understood the need to recognize the raw talent of the country’s schoolboy cricketers at a time when there had been no organized inter-school cricket tournaments, apart from the traditional First XI matches of the so-called leading schools.

But the introduction of the show and its expansion to have a separate segment for outstation schoolboy cricketers went a long way in inspiring the talented cricketers in the far flung areas.

Under the directions of the Chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom and SLT Mobitel Rohan Fernando, the Chief Executive Officer of the SLT Mobitel Nalin Perera has made a lavish contribution towards the success of the event during the past decade.

Thanks to the longstanding association of the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA), the Sri Lanka Cricket Umpires and Scorers Association and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), headed by Shammi Silva, the Observer-Mobitel School Cricketers of the Year contest has gone from strength to strength.

Over the past 42 years, all top Sri Lanka cricketers have commended the exemplary role played by the Observer-Mobitel School Cricketer of the Year.

Chairman/CEO of the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd, 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.