Former Sri Lanka ODI captain and ICC Match Referee Roshan Mahanama feels that his crowning glory as the ‘Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year’ in 1983 and 1984, was a major milestone in his career.
“To be adjudged the best schoolboy cricketer and being honored for the hard work during the season was a great encouragement. I was privileged to achieve one of my dreams”, said Mahanama in a recent interview with the Sunday Observer. “Winning the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year on successive years was a memorable one. It was my stepping stone. Becoming the best Schoolboy Cricketer made me even more determined to work harder to reach greater heights”, he said. “As a kid, I had watched former Nalanda players such as Bandula Warnapura in action. We had full houses for all those inter-school games. It was a passion. The school authorities too encouraged the boys to watch matches”, he added.
Mahanama, recalling his days as a schoolboy cricketer at Nalanda College, said that it was a great feeling to have their names on the team’s fixture card. “Even the old boys made it a point to skip all other engagements to watch their school team’s matches. It was a great honor for us to see our names in the fixture card – first as a player, then as a coloursman and later as vice-captain or captain. I still have preserved those Nalanda fixture cards with me”, Mahanama said.
The first to win the prestigious Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year on successive years in 1983 and 1984, Mahanama is one of the greatest stars who had emerged through Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest. A proud product of Nalanda College, Colombo, Mahanama was a household name in school cricket during early 80s. He first won the ‘Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year’ title in 1983 with a rich harvest with the willow. He continued to let his willow to do the talking in the following year too and his superb form won him the title for the second successive year in 1984.
Although former Ananda captain Arjuna Ranatunga too has won the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title twice prior to Mahanama but Ranatunga did not win the crown on successive years. Ranatunga first won the coveted title in 1980 after Ranjan Madugalle but failed to repeat the following year in which Rohan Buultjens of St. Peter’s won the prestigious title. However, Ranatunga, in his final inter-school first XI season for Ananda was crowned Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year once again in 1982.
Following Ranatunga and Mahanama to join the select band of schoolboy cricketers to win the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title twice each were Thilan Samaraweera (1994 and 1995), Lahiru Peiris (2004 and 2005), Bhanuka Rajapaksa (2010 and 2011) and Charith Asalanka (2015 and 2016).
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Courtesy of www.dailynews.lk