Award winners Chandimal, Mendis shine in the Caribbean | Sunday Observer

Award winners Chandimal, Mendis shine in the Caribbean

Kusal Mendis - Has been the most successful batsman in the Caribbean with an aggregate of 238 runs in four innings and Dinesh Chandimal - An aggregate 229 runs averaging 76.33 after the first two Tests
Kusal Mendis - Has been the most successful batsman in the Caribbean with an aggregate of 238 runs in four innings and Dinesh Chandimal - An aggregate 229 runs averaging 76.33 after the first two Tests

Two Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketers of the Year main title winners -Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal, have shown impressive form in the first two Tests against the West Indies during the Sri Lanka team’s current tour of the Caribbean.

Mendis, who won the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title in 2013 as the then captain of the Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa, is the leading run-getter for Sri Lanka in the ongoing three-Test series against the West Indies. He has aggregated 238 runs after the first two Tests with a century and a fifty.

After being dismissed for just four runs in the first innings of Sri Lanka’s first Test against the West Indies in Port of Spain, Mendis quickly got back to business in the next three Test innings to average 59.50. He made a majestic century in the second innings of the first Test, despite the home team’s victory to go one up in the series. Mendis made a fluent 102, off 201 balls with two sixes and ten fours, in the second essay.

Mendis’ willow continued to do the talking in the second Test at Gros Islet with a fine double of 45 and 87. Despite narrowly missing a half century (45) in the first innings, Mendis made a superb knock of 87 in the second essay – off 117 balls with eight fours.

In contrast, Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal has maintained a superior average of 76.33 to aggregate 229 runs after the first two Tests. He has been among the runs in all four Tests innings on tour. Having scored 44 and 27 runs in the respective innings of the first Test, Chandimal played a captain’s innings of 119 not out in the second Test.

Former Ananda captain Chandimal, who had won the coveted Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title in 2009, was a tower of strength to his fellow Lankan batsmen in Gros Islet.

When Sri Lankan wickets were tumbling at one end, Chandimal played a gem of an innings to remain unbeaten on 119, facing 186 balls, before he ran out of partners. He had one six and ten fours during his brave unbeaten innings that enabled the Sri Lankan team to take honours in the drawn Test. He made 39 runs in the second innings of the second Test. Former Trinity College captain Niroshan Dickwella, who had won the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 2012 is also playing a key role for the touring Sri Lanka team which was due to commence their decisive third and final Test against the West Indies at Kensington Oval in Barbados last night. Incidentally, this will be the first ever day-night Test to be played in the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, the countdown for the historic 40th Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year grand finale has begun!

There are only eight days to go for the latest edition of the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year mega show which will be held at the Grand Ballroom of the Colombo Hilton. Gracing this historic occasion as the chief guest will be the first-ever recipient of the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title in 1979 Ranjan Madugalle, the then captain of Royal College who now serves as the Chief Match Referee of the ICC.

The former Royal, NCC and Sri Lanka captain had said that he was “honoured and privileged to become the first-ever recipient of the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award” although he had never thought of individual glory. Madugalle had complemented the Sunday Observer for understanding the need to recognize the outstanding performances of schoolboy cricketers during an era which did not have any inter-school tournament structure or an awards show to inspire schoolboy cricketers.

Born on April 22, 1959, Ranjan Senerath Madugalle was one of the most technically skilled Test batsmen that Sri Lanka has ever produced. He came to the limelight from his early days, scoring heavily in successive seasons and led the Reid Avenue boys in the centenary Royal-Thomian Cricket encounter in 1979. Months later, he won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award. In the same year, he represented Sri Lanka at the second ICC World Cup held in England and made his ODI debut. He had the honour of scoring a half century (65) on his Test debut, at Sri Lanka’s inaugural Test against England at Sara Oval way back in 1982. The national mobile service provider, Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel continues to provide that ‘smart connection’ to the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest as the principal sponsor.

Under the blessings 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 every effort to make the grand finale a resounding success. Perera, a veteran in the mobile communication industry in Sri Lanka, has been associated with the event ever since Mobitel’s entry as the principal sponsor 11 years ago. He has played a key role 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 Association with the blessings of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), headed by former Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala MP.

The 40th edition of the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest is scheduled to be held in July. Incidentally, this will be the 11th consecutive year that SLT Mobitel will be sponsoring the Mega Show, which has a rich history of producing legendary cricketers, including Sri Lanka’s World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga, world’s highest Test wicket taker Muttiah Muralitharan and the Chief ICC Match Referee Madugalle.

Winning the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title has been the dream of every schoolboy cricketer as they generally believe that the prestigious title would take them closer to wear the Sri Lanka ‘cap’. Most past winners of the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title had made their Sri Lanka debut in next to no time, some of them just months after winning the crown. 

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