Dickwella and Mendis proud award winners

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The 2009 Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year main award winner Dinesh Chandimal will lead Sri Lanka at the forthcoming away-series against the West Indies. The team left for the Caribbean Islands last Friday.

Besides Chandimal, two other Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year main award winners are included in the tour party. They are Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Mendis who had won the top award in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Former Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year cum opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne has been ruled out of the tour party with a fractured finger.

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Sri Lanka will play three Tests in the West Indies, including the first ever day-night Test to be played in the Caribbean Islands in Barbados. The Sri Lankan team is scheduled to start their tour with a three-day practice match in Trinidad, before the first Test begins on June 6, also in Trinidad. Chandimal’s men will be searching for their first ever Test series victory in the Caribbean.

Chandimal won the prestigious Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title in 2009 when he was representing Ananda College, Colombo. Former captain of Trinity College, Kandy, Dickwella won the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title in 2012. Ex-Cambrian skipper Mendis won the coveted title in 2013. The team to the West Indies is accompanied by another past winner of the most sought after title in school cricket in Asanka Gurusinha.

Twenty eight-year-old Chandimal has represented Sri Lanka in 139 ODIs to aggregate 3,433 runs with an average of 2.69. He has scored four ODI centuries and 21 fifties with a career-best knock of 111. Skipper Chandimal has so far represented Sri Lanka in 46 Tests to aggregate 3,413 runs inclusive of 10 centuries and 16 fifties to average 43.75.

Like most other past recipients of the prestigious title, Chandimal made his Sri Lanka debut just months after he was crowned the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 2009.

He did not get an opportunity for a long innings – made an unbeaten 10 on his ODI debut for Sri Lanka against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo on June 1, 2010, as the visitors romped to a nine-wicket victory.

Chandimal is one of the most promising young batsmen who had stepped into the Sri Lanka team during the past decade.

He is a technically sound batsman who is capable of hitting the ball to all corners of the ground with a wide range of strokes. Ever since his Sri Lanka debut, he has shown maturity at the crease with a good temperament to build and pace an innings.

Dickwella, one of the most successful Trinity College captains and a reliable top order batsman , came to the big league after winning the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title six years ago – having scored over 1000 runs in his last season for the hill capital school.

He is an attacking left-handed wicket keeper-batsman. Dickwella, who turns 25 later next month, has been particularly impressive in limited-overs cricket, ever since he scored an explosive 104 off 91 balls in the final of the Inter-Provincial One-Day Tournament in 2013.

Just months after winning the main title at the Mega Show, Dickwella was called to represent Sri Lanka ‘A’ in its tour of England in 2013. Since then, he has proved his class both as a top order batsman with safe hands behind the stumps.

Having made his Sri Lanka debut in 2014 against India in Ranchi, Dickwella has represented Sri Lanka in 36 ODIs to aggregate 1074 runs with an average of 32.54. He has scored two centuries and seven fifties with a career best ODI innings of 116. Dickwella is set to reach the personal milestone of 1000 runs during the first Test, having aggregated 990 runs to date in 17 Tests with eight fifties to average 33.00.

Mendis, having completed many match-winning innings for Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa, was adjudged the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 2013. He has shown good form with the willow. Even before he had stepped into the national team, his aggressive batting had earned him a large following.

As a safe wicket-keeper and dependable right-hand batsman with an attacking style, Mendis has often let his willow to do the talking. Just months after winning the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title four years ago, he was appointed Sri Lanka’s under-19 captain for the Youth World Cup.

He made his Sri Lanka debut with a blistering half century – scoring 51 off 59 balls with eight boundaries in Sri Lanka’s first ODI against Ireland in Dublin. Since then, Mendis has figured in 44 ODIs for Sri Lanka to aggregate 1239 runs at an average of 30.97. He has one century and 11 fifties to his credit with a career-best knock of 102. In 24 Test appearances for Sri Lanka, Mendis has aggregated 1712 runs (average 37.21) with four centuries and five half tons.

Hence, the three Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year top award winners are set to make their presence felt in the West Indies. SLT Mobitel, the national mobile service provider, continues to provide that ‘smart connection’ to the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year Contest.

Under the directions 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 a great contribution 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 under the blessings of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

After the humble beginnings at Nawarangahala way back in 1979, Sri Lanka’s premier school cricket awards show has come a long way to become the most sought after event in the school cricket calendar.

The dream of every schoolboy cricketer has been to secure an award at the Mega Show. Exactly 40 years after its inauguration, it will become the dream of every schoolgirl cricketer as well from this year.

Having produced some of the legendary Sri Lanka cricketers, the Mega Show would also become the launching pad for future Sri Lanka women’s cricket stars as well.

Meanwhile, voting for the most popular segments of the 40th Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contests continues under three divisions. Voting for the Observer-Mobitel Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contests could be made through voting coupons which continue to appear in the Daily News, Sunday Observer, Dinamina and Thinakaran.

All arrangements have been finalized to host the 40th Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year mega awards ceremony shortly. This will be the 11th consecutive year that SLT Mobitel will be sponsoring the Mega Show, which has a rich history of producing legendary Sri Lanka cricketers.

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