Chinthana Jayasinghe, first cricketer from Dharmapala to become the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year
What excitement and enthusiasm is generated when the ‘Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year’ show draws near. The 41st MEGA SHOW, the mother of all shows conducted by the ‘Sunday Observer’ and sponsored by Mobitel will be held soon.
With a few more weeks to go for this long awaited show, we continue to take a close look at past winners. Last week we discussed how Thilan Samaraweera was deprived of what would have been a record third win, something which no other school cricketer has achieved so far.
After his memorable two successive crowns as Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 1994 and 1995, Samaraweera ended Runner Up of the main title in 1996.
It was Nimesh Perera of St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa who won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 1996.
Then in 1997, Chintaka Jayasinghe, a formidable and positive all-rounder, who became the first cricketer from Dharmapala College, Pannipitiya to become the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year.
A player famous for his hard hitting and bowling useful medium pace, he had the potential always to break into the national one-day squad. But he was unfortunate not to get the deserving fair deal from selectors to go beyond Sri Lanka T20 and Sri Lanka ‘A’ level.
His greatest cricketing moment in his school career for Dharmapala was when he scored twin hundreds against Royal College, Colombo in 1995/96.
His name first appeared on the national scene when the selectors included him in the Sri Lanka Under 19 team that toured Malaysia and Singapore in 1994 and England in 1995.
Jayasinghe also played for the Sri Lankan ‘A’ team that toured India in 1998 and played against Zimbabwe ‘A’ in their 2000 tour of Sri Lanka. He played many match-winning roles for his club BRC.
After playing for Sri Lanka ‘A’ and five T20 matches for Sri Lanka, Jayasinghe retired from first-class cricket, citing frustration and his continued non-selection to the national team as a major setback at the age of 34 years.
He played in five T20 matches from December 2009 to May 2010, making a highest score of 38 from three innings in the lower-middle order.
He played as a fast-bowling all-rounder for his domestic sides, and has 104 wickets at 24.48, but did not bowl in Internationals.
Jayasinghe later played domestic cricket in Australia during the southern summer and also had another six-month contract to play in England. He was not among the 60 players offered an SLC contract in 2012 and said this was central to his decision to move on.
“I have played 14 years of first-class cricket in Sri Lanka and it’s saddening to see the SLC selectors favouring certain players who were proven failures,” Jayasinghe was quoted as saying on his retirement adding that he felt like Sri Lanka Cricket is not moving forward, especially after the seniors in the national team retired at that point.
Jayasinghe played for the Uva Next franchise in the Sri Lanka Premier League and last played first class-cricket for Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club having previously represented the Burgher Recreation Club and Nondescripts Cricket Club.
Meanwhile, the race for the Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year and Most Popular Schoolgirl Cricketer of the Year 2019 is moving at a rapid pace. With the last few weeks to go, there will be an interesting period ahead.
Last year was a memorable occasion for the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year which marked four decades of excellence. It was a fitting tribute to have the first ever Observer Schoolboy Cricketer –Ranjan Madugalle, the ICC Chief Match Referee, as the chief guest. Former Trinity College captain Hasitha Boyagoda was awarded the Observer Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2018 at the 40th Observer – Mobitel Schoolboy Cricket Awards show.
Boyagoda who snatched a world record in the Youth World Cup was awarded the National Schoolboy Cricketer for the Year 2018 while Kamindu Mendis was awarded the U19 Division I Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award. Mendis who managed 597 runs in seven games at an average of 85.29 in the last school season went on to captain Sri Lanka Under 19 in the recently concluded U19 World Cup and managed to win the Plate trophy. Harshitha Madhavi of Anula Vidyalaya managed to win the Best All-rounder prize in the U19 Girls Category.
Maris Stella College opener Lasith Croospulle managed to win the Best Batsman award in the Division One category while Prince of Wales skipper Savindu Peiris was awarded the Best Bowler of the Year award. Maheesh Theekshana was the Best All-rounder of the year.
Richmond College, Galle was awarded the Best Team of the Year award while Nalanda College, Colombo managed to win the award for the Best Behaved Team on and off the field.
The principal sponsor of the show for the 12th successive year is SLT Mobitel which has taken the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year to a new level. The CEO of Mobitel, Nalin Perera has extended his fullest support and cooperation to make the Mega Show the show of all shows.