|St. Peter’s squad
St. Peter’s College, Colombo in the coming season will be one of the strongest contenders to fight for the best schools cricket team. The reason behind rating them as one of the top sides is their performances so far with a well balanced set of players. So far the Peterites have played three games and won two while ending the game against Trinity, the only side to beat them last year, in a draw. Last season they played 18 games inclusive of the big match and won two. This season, too according to coach Keerthi Gunaratne, St. Peter’s has all chances to culminate the season fruitfully.
Leading the side will be opener Shehan Fernando, who is also a member of Sri Lanka Under-19 team. St. Peter’s will depend a lot from the elegant right-hander who is also a part time off-spinner. He is also a safe fielder at slips. Shehan on his debut as an Under-15 player three years ago hit a memorable century and also stroked a half century in his first big match in the Battle of the Saints. His opening partner is Sasheen Fernando who has already scored two half centuries in three outings.
Among frontrunners in this year’s St. Peter’s side are spinners Julian de Zilva and Dushan Hemantha. Julian is a left-arm spinner who captured over 50 wickets last season. In three matches this year he already has a tally of nearly 20 scalps. His partner, Hemantha is a right-arm leg-spinner who has a variety of turns including a googly.
Crafty Janith Liyanage is their one-down batsman with the ability of bowling medium paces. Left-hander Jason Bultjens who is in top form at the moment is one of the leading batsmen of the side who is carrying his form from last year. But the star batsman for St. Peter’s at the moment is none other than wicketkeeper/batsman Lahiru Milantha. Left-hander Milantha who is just 17-years of age has already scored back-to-back unbeaten centuries against St. Aloysius and Trinity. He is in perfect form at the moment. He is St. Peter’s first choice stumper apart from Thanusha Jayawardena who is also a good run maker.
St. Peter’s has three solid fast bowlers in Uddaka Galhena, Ali Khan and Ranitha Liyanarachchi who are all right-armers. Uddaka is a member of the Sri Lanka Under-19 team and is one of the strike bowlers next to his partner Khan who is also a consistence wicket taker. Liyanarachchi is also a useful all-rounder. Among others in the squad is promising Chathuranga Rajapakshe who comes straight from the Under-15 team. Kavinda Tissera who played in the Battle of the Saints is another player waiting to make it to the final XI along with Aasif Mackie who is also a senior contender.
According to Keerthi Gunaratne, the side’s coach, his intention is to see St. Peter’s play positive cricket and record as much as wins as possible: “This year’s side is well balanced and we have all the possibilities of emerging as the best team. The intention is to play positive cricket – the bowlers’ task will be to strike and get wickets. What I expect from the batsmen is to score runs. We have batters up to No. 10, three solid pacies and two outstanding leg-spinners. The side includes four all-rounders and all-in-all all these aspects make us a well balanced outfit. Our goal is to play positive cricket and win games”.
St. Peter’s cricket squad: Shehan Fernando (Captain), Shasheen Fernando, Janith Liyanage, Lahiru Milantha, Jason Bultjens, Thanusha Jayawardena, Dushan Hemantha, Julian de Zilva, Ranitha Liyanarachchi, Uddaka Galhena, Ali Khan, Aasif Mackie, Hemal Seneviratne, Kavinda Tissera, Chrishan Fernando, Chathuranga Rajapaksha, Gayan de Silva, Chenura Obeysekara, Chamila Godellawatte, Chemila Obeysekara, Keerthi Gunaratne (Coach), Tito Fernandopulle (Asst. Coach), Wasantha Haputhanthri (M-I-C)