The Sri Lanka Cricket Under 23 Provincial Tournament came to a close last evening with Central Province emerging victorious while Western Province North finished as runners-up. We at ThePapare.com have picked our team of the tournament that comprises of 7 batsmen including an allrounder and 4 front-line bowlers.
Tamil Union opener Dineth Thimodya, who represented North Central Province, was the leading run getter in the tournament with 490 runs. He maintained an outstanding average of 81.67 with his top score in the tournament being 136. The stylish left-hander made two centuries and two half-tons in only 7 innings and he is our number 1 choice for the opening slot.
Former Trinitian left-hander Ron Chandraguptha had an excellent premier league season playing for CCC and got the opportunity to represent Sri Lanka A team against England Lions recently. He captained Central Province to the title and so is our pick to lead this all-star team. Ron scored 285 runs with a 40+ average and a top score of 137. Unfortunately, the prolific run-getter missed out in the final as he was undone by a Binura Fernando special for a duck.
Army SC left-hander Leo Fransisco is another star in the making and was among the top performers in the Premier season. He represented North Western Province in the U23 tournament and made 295 runs with an impressive average of 49.17. Leo made a century and a half-ton and will be the ideal player to come in at the pivotal number 3 position.
Sri Lanka A team player Minod Bhanuka is one of the most talented wicket-keeper batsmen in the ranks currently. Bhanuka hails from Kurunegala and currently plays for SSC in the domestic season. He accumulated 298 runs with two half-tons and a century in the recently concluded tournament. He captained the North-Western team and will take the gloves in this team.
Former SL U19 skipper and Southern Province skipper Charith Asalanka is one of the top prospects in Sri Lanka Cricket. The highly talented left-hander is 3rd in the top run-getter list in the competition. He piled up 308 runs with an average of 51.33 in 6 innings. Asalanka made 2 centuries and a half-ton 113 being his top score. He currently plays for SSC in the domestic competition. Asalanka is a more than useful off-spinner and could be used as the 6th bowling option.
Hard hitting left-hander Himasha Liyanage has the highest individual score in the tournament (177). He is the second highest run scorer in the tournament with 352 runs at a 50+ average. He is former a Dharmapalian, who excelled in the tournament as a star for the Western Province Central team. With a strike-rate of 85, he will be a dangerous contender coming in at no. 6.
Former Peterite and Ragama CC all-rounder Janith Liyanage is a medium pacer and a useful middle order bat. He can also bowl some valuable overs and pitch in with wickets at any given time. Representing Western Province Central, Janith took 17 wickets at an average of 13.53, with his best performance being 4/18. The right-hander has scored 154 runs at a 30+ average and his excellent fielding is a value addition to any team.
Western Province North skipper Binura Fernando was the best left-arm seamer in the tournament with an impressive average of 9.21. Sri Lanka T20 cap Fernando has best figures of 5/20 and he is the 3rd in the most wickets list with 24 wickets. He bowled a superb spell of 4/39 in the finals but unfortunately was on the losing side as the WP North skipper. Fernando plays for SSC in the Premier tournament and we have picked his as deputy to Ron Chandraguptha.
Former Thomian Tharindu Rathnayaka has a rare talent of being ambidextrous as a bowler. The North Western Province off-spinner will lead the spin department with left-arm spinner Sandakan Pathirana. He was the highest wicket-taker in the tournament after the group stage with 26 wickets at an average of 16.77. He has two five wicket hauls under his belt and a match-bag of 10 wickets to go along with best figures of 5/60.
Sandakan Pathirana represented Moors SC at the 2016/17 Domestic league and took over 25 wickets. He is a natural left-arm spinner who is capable to bowl many overs at a stretch. Pathirana has 24 wickets in the tournament with a best of 7/23. The Western Province South left-arm spinner took two 5 wickets hauls and a match bag of 10 wickets in the tournament.
Right-arm speedster Mohommad Shiraz came into scene from Colts Cricket Club. He was the fastest bowler in the tournament putting fear into all the best batters in the competition. The Central Province seamer has 2 five wicket hauls under his name and ended as the joint leading wicket taker in the tournament with 26 wickets. Shiraz ended with an average of 15.85 with best figures of 6/40.
Do you agree with our picks? Tell us your team of the tournament in the comment section below.