Graduates of Sri Lanka’s Schools Cricket System: Batch of 2019 – Part II

School leavers 2019 – Part II

As we were taking a look at the career highlights and future plans of few of the most promising stars who ended their schools cricket career this season in the first part of this 2-part series, here we unfold the stories of a few more exciting young talents.

>>Click here for Part I of this article<<

Kalana Perera

  • DOB – 28/07/2000

Arguably the best fast bowler of the season, Kalana Perera bids adieu to a remarkable schools cricket career with so much promise. Kalana who started to play cricket as a left-arm spinner at Lyceum International School Panadura, was taken to S. Thomas’ College after he transformed in to a fast bowler.

Kalana who boasts of some incredible records and achievements, first announced himself as a future prospect with a 5-wicket haul in his Big Match debut in 2017. The tall pacie who went on to take 5-wicket hauls in all the 3 Big Matches he played for S. Thomas’ College, also won the Best Bowlers award in 2017 and 2019.

His best Big Match is definitely his last one in 2019 as he was named the Man of the Match for his all-round performance which helped his alma mater reclaim the shield.

He also holds a unique record of capturing all 10 wickets in an innings for just 3 runs. It was against S. De S. Jayasinghe College in a U17 match. St. Mary’s College Kegalle also couldn’t cope up with Kalana’s hostility this season as he claimed record figures 8/1. He ended the 2018/19 season with 90 wickets.

Apart from his feats for S. Thomas’, he was also a regular pick in the Sri Lanka U19 squad as he featured in all the squads from the 2017 Asia Cup to the 2018 Asia Cup. Being part of the 2018 U19 World Cup squad was a crucial learning curve in his career.

At the moment I’m playing for the Old Thomians Club as we are trying to promote the club from Division II. We’ve reached the Knock Out stage already. Also I’ve been called by SSC and NCC, so most probably I’ll be joining one of themsaid Kalana.

>>> Kalana Perera bowling video <<<

Selvarasa Mathusan

  • DOB – 21/02/2000

The Jaffna boy, Selvarasa Mathusan’s rise to the helm of Sri Lanka schools cricket is a great inspiration to the northerners. Being introduced to hard-ball cricket only after he joined Jaffna Central College in grade 6, Mathusan has shown rapid growth in the trade of fast bowling.

His big break was in 2018 when he finished the U19 Provincial tournament as the highest wicket-taker for Northern Province claiming 9 wickets in 4 matches. This performance earned him a place in the preliminary Sri Lanka U19 squad which played against the strong India U19s here in Sri Lanka.

His best achievement to date is being named in the final squad which took wing to Bangladesh for the 2018 Youth Asia Cup. Though he didn’t play a single match for the Junior National team, the experience and exposure he gained, is immense considering the fact that his school team still plays division III cricket on matting wickets.

The tall lad led his school in his last year and played a gritty knock to save his team from losing the Battle of the North against St. John’s College Jaffna, which was also his 5th Big Match.

I played 1 first class match for the Tamil Union in the recently concluded season and intend to continue playing for themsaid Mathusan who is also focused on covering up the lessons he missed due to matches and completing his A/L exams successfully in August.  

>>> Selvarasa Mathusan batting video <<<

Nipun Malinga

  • DOB – 27/02/2000

A tall seamer from the southern coast, Nipun Malinga started his cricket career at Vidyaloka College Galle playing for the College U13 team. His rapid growth in the Sri Lankan schools cricket circuit helped him win the Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer in the emerging school’s category when he was just 15 years old. In the same year, he led the Southern Province team in the U15 Provincial tournament.

He was then picked by top-division Mahinda College to strengthen their pace attack in the following year. Malinga, who kept performing better even against stronger oppositions, made it to the Sri Lanka U19 squad which toured Australia in 2017.

After missing out on the Youth Asia Cup in the same year he came back strongly to find himself a place in the Sri Lanka squad which participated in the U19 Cricket World Cup in 2018.

Being a regular member of the Sri Lanka youth squads since then, Malinga’s last tour with the Sri Lanka U19 team was to Bangladesh for the Youth Asia Cup 2018.

Displaying all-round skills with 560 runs and 28 wickets in his last season for Mahinda College, Malinga ended his stellar school’s cricket career as a bright fast-bowling prospect for the country.

Speaking about his future plans,My main aim at the moment is to pick a good club and represent it in the upcoming U23 tournamentsaid Malinga who is yet to receive a call from any club.

Read More: Best of March Madness 2019

Kalhara Senaratne

  • DOB – 24/08/2000

Kalhara Senaratne of St. Anthony’s College Kandy is renowned for his off-spinners but is a very capable batsman as well. He in-fact won the best batsman of Division III in the 2016/17 season when he was representing Kirindiwela Central College.

The 890 runs he scored in 6 matches along with 52 wickets he grabbed saw Antonians roping him in him to strengthen their line-up. The very first year he played for St. Anthony’s, he did enough to find a place in the Sri Lanka U19 squad which faced India U19 in 2018.

He started off with a bang, claiming a 5-wicket haul on his Youth Test debut and went on to play a vital role in Sri Lanka’s Youth Asia Cup campaign in Bangladesh.

His last year of Schools cricket was completely dedicated to promoting St. Anthony’s College from Division II to the top division. With a total of 71 wickets in the season, he was phenomenal in the process of promotion. He also scored a century in their upset win against eventual champions of Division I, St. Joseph’s College at Darley Road.

His last school match, the Division II final against Royal was a perfect ending for his career as he stroked a century despite his team finishing as runners-up.

Kalhara who has a bit of club cricket experience playing for the Old Antonians Club, played 2 first-class matches for Ragama CC in the 2018/19 season.

I hope to continue playing for Ragama CC. My first tournament after the end of my school career will be the U23 tournamentsaid Kalhara who will also be sitting for the A/L exam this August.

>>> Kalhara Senaratne bowlong video <<<

Shashika Dulshan

  • DOB – 04/05/2000

Shashika Dulshan is a promising left-arm spinner who played all his school’s cricket at St. Servatius’ College Matara. Shashika who started as a fast bowler was bowling both, spin and fast until he was made to bowl only spin in his district team which had no spinners.

Shashika who managed to impress the selectors with his spin bowling was picked for the U15 Provincial team. The opening he got there helped him in his progress as he made it to the Sri Lanka U19 squad after a stellar performance in the 2018 U19 Provincial tournament.

The orthodox spinner, sans any mystery, became the best bowler in the 5-match ODI series against India U19 and also became the highest wicket-taker for the Sri Lanka U19s in the Youth Asia Cup in Bangladesh. His 11 wickets in 5 matches were instrumental for his team in securing the second place prize in the tournament.

With 64 wickets and 512 runs in his last school’s cricket season, Shashika still serves his school as he plays an important role for the Old Servatians Club.

I’ve decided to skip my A/Ls this year and do it next year. So alongside my studies I’ll continue to play cricketsaid Shashika who awaits a call from a club to join and enter the Sri Lankan domestic scene.

Kaumal Nanayakkara

  • DOB – 17/11/1999

The Cambrian wicket-machine, Kaumal Nanayakkara has been a sensation for Prince of Wales College this season as he finished the season with 110 wickets.

Starting his schools cricket career at Sri Sumangala College Panadura, Kaumal entered the Moratuwa school after the completion of his 1st U17 season for Sri Sumangala.

He also boasts of being part of both the Sumangala – Moratu & Prince of Wales – Sebastian battles and interestingly both battles are called the Battle of the Golds. With two Big Matches for Sri Sumangala and three Big Matches for Prince of Wales College, Kaumal is no stranger to high-pressure matches.

Even though he hasn’t made it through to be part of any Sri Lanka U19 pools, he has achieved something which none of the other schoolboy cricketers has achieved – being named the best bowler of the U23 Super Provincial tournament, in which several national stars too took part.

Having represented Panadura SC in the 2017/18 season once, he is currently playing for them in the Tier ‘B’ league. With 3 first-class matches under his belt, Kaumal intends to continue with his home town club.

I hope to play for Panadura SC until the conclusion of this season and also in the coming season as well. Unless I get a worthy break here in Sri Lanka, my plan is to go abroad and play cricketsaid Kaumal.

>>> Kaumal Nanayakkara bowling video <<<

Kavishka Senadeera

  • DOB – 16/10/1999

The fighting off-spinner, Kavishka Senadeera hails from Polonnaruwa and started playing cricket at Rajarata Vidyalaya. Since joining Trinity College in his last U13 year he has been a pillar of strength for the Trinitians.

Kavishka who plays mainly as a bowler is the perfect spinner any captain would like to have in his team as the lad is able to bowl long spells with accuracy and consistency. His character as a spinner was very well displayed in the inaugural encounter for the Sanga-Mahela trophy against Nalanda College when he single-handedly won the match for Trinity, claiming the Best Bowler and Man of The Match awards.

His last year for Trinity College was a dream year for him as he became one of the only two bowlers in all schools division 1 cricket who went past 100 wickets. His wicket tally by the end of the season read as 128 in 19 matches.

I’ve been called by several clubs including SSC for the U23 tournament. So these days I’m preparing for that tournamentsaid Kavishka who is yet to decide on which to club he’ll be playing for.   

>>> Kavishka Senadeera bowling video <<<

The boys are now out of school, they are newbies in the Sri Lankan domestic cricket system. Managing them and getting the best out of them for the country is the need of the hour.