A country recognized as a frontline cricket nation across the world due to some of its charismatic performances, Sri Lanka has been able to prove its image as a competitive nation on and off the big stage.
School cricket is one of the main pillars of the Sri Lankan cricket structure and has been a vital cog in the growth of the sport over the years, where it has helped produce a number of global superstars who have appeared in the ranks of school cricket.
The 2020/2021 period has been a season that has gone through a pandemic which has caused a number of obstacles that could have impacted international play. But through the disruption, school cricket has found some sort of solace for what has been achieved in a positive way, even in a modest way.
The 2020/2021 season was launched in March 2021 and this season has been exceptional for several reasons. The main reason was that the season had been turned into a one-day tournament due to the pandemic situation where Divisions 1, 2 and 3 had two levels in A and B.
Then the top four teams from each group advanced to the semi-finals and the winner was crowned in the final. Another takeaway from this season is that due to the reshaped tournament structure there has been no promotion or demotion and that means the same teams that have competed in each division this season will also continue in the same. division next season.
This revamped school cricket tournament has had a number of positive impacts for the National Under-19 team, where players have found more exposure in 50-year-old cricket to prepare for international competitions like the Asian Under-19 Cup and World Cup in the Caribbean in 2022.
Fortunately, the tournament was not disrupted by the Covid 19 pandemic once it started and a number of talents have emerged. It’s not hard to argue that this season has perhaps produced one of the best generations of players who have the potential to be the next marine crew to wear Sri Lankan cricket to the symphony of glory. .
Dunith Wellalage, Shevon Daniel, Jeewaka Sasheen, Sahan Sankalpa, Sheran Fonseka, Pavan Sandesh, Navod Pathirana and Pavan Ratnayake are some of the players who have scored the highlights of a season.
The impact of improving these players has allowed them to perform well in the home series against England as well as against Bangladesh and more recently the Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates where the team reached the final. .
Division 1 Tier A was arguably the most competitive Under-19 tournament of the 2020/2021 season. The group consisted of a number of genuine talent and this made this tournament an interesting tournament which was mainly dominated by the obliging St. Joseph’s College Colombo 10 who was crowned champion after beating the Royal College Colombo in the grand finale. .
Ahan Wickramasinghe of Royal College was the top scorer in the A-Level Division 1 tournament with 474 points while Dunith Wellalage of St. Joseph’s became the top wicket taker with 15 scalps to his name.
The Division 1 B level also took a competitive turn where Mahinda College became champion by beating Devapathiraja College Ratgama in the final. Pavan Sandesh of Devapathiraja was the top scorer in this group as he managed to score 343 points throughout the tournament while Lohan De Zoysa of Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda became the biggest wicket taker with 17 scalps in his bag.
Sri Sumangala College Panadura were the Division 2 Tier A champions when they beat St. John’s College Panadura in the final.
Mihiranga Fernando (Sri Sumangala) with 307 points was the top scorer while Vishwa Lahiru Kumara also of Sri Sumangala captured 22 wickets to become the biggest wicket taker.
The Division 2 Tier B title was won by CMS Sri Jayawardenapura College, Kotte while Royal College Panadura became a finalist. Kegalu Vidyalaya’s Pulasthi Atapattu scored 312 points to become the top scorer while Sri Jayawardenapura’s Denuwan Jayawardhana picked up 18 wickets to become the top wicket taker.
The Division 3 A-level title was won by Vidyaloka College Galle when they faced Jaffna Central College in the final. Kavindu Sathmina (Badulla Central College) who scored 371 points won the honor as top scorer while Praveen Maneesha of Rajasinghe Central College, Hanwella was the main wicket taker with 22 scalps.
The Level B Division 3 Championship was won by Maris Stella, Thimbirigaskatuwa when they beat the Pannala National School in the final. Savindu Perera and Vinila Perera of Maris Stella, Thimbirigaskatuwa become the top scorer and the best wicket taker respectively.
The 2020/2021 Women’s Under-19 Tournament was held with the participation of 20 teams and Devapathiraja College, Ambalangoda emerged victorious by beating Wadduwa Central College in the final.
Nethmi Senaratne scored 274 runs across the tournament to top the top scorer table while Samadhi Nethmini topped the wicket table with 14 scalps to his name.
The traditional big game season has also been put on hold due to the Covid 19 pandemic situation, although a few battles have taken place this year. The battle of Ruhuna the traditional meeting between the College Saint-Thomas, Matara and the College Saint-Servais, Matara was the first big match which took place followed by the Royal-Thomian (Battle of Blues) and the Joe-Pete (Battle des Saints) with both matches ending in draws.
The Gold Battle between Sri Sumangala College and Moratu Vidyalaya also ended in a draw and this match was marked as the last big clash of the year along with the Battle of the Maroons (Ananda-Nalanda), the feud of Lovers (Richmond-Mahinda), Battle of the North (St. John’s and Jaffna Central) and Trinidad and Tobago being some of the other great games not played.
It was not the most perfect and successful season, but definitely a season to be remembered and cherished.
The same structure as the tournament from the previous season will continue into the 2021-22 season where the Divisional 50 Plus tournament will begin in March and teams like St. Joseph’s College, Royal College, Ananda College and Nalanda College will field teams. which should be more competitive.
There is also good news for junior players, as the Under-15 and Under-17 segments will also be played after a two-year time frame. The provincial Under-19 tournament is also on the agenda, which means a more interesting season has to be decided and the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association hopes that the 2022-2023 season will mark the resumption of traditional matches. two days between schools.
Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association Tournament Director Nishantha Kumara said Sri Lanka Cricket will ensure all the necessities and guidance are in place to lead the new season.