ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday April 13, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 46

It was hard work that gave us the triple – coach Nawaz

By M. Shamil Amit


SSC one of the oldest cricket playing clubs in Sri Lanka achieved a first timer after clinching the Premier League title which saw them taking their third title for the season 2007/08 and making it their maiden triple.

Earlier they bagged the Under 23 and Premier Limited over titles going a step further having won two titles in a season in the early 90’s when the side was led by Mahinda Halangoda.

The change of captaincy on three occasions was not a hindrance to the progress of the team’s success in the latter stages of the tournament. When the season got underway the team was lead by Avishka Gunawardena but he played in only two games due to his joining the Indian Cricket League, then Thilan Samaraweera took over before he moved out for national duty.

There after young Tharanga Paranavithana was handed over the reins and he guided the side with distinction by taking the responsibility of a leader with some swashbuckling knocks to give the other players the much needed impetus which ultimately ended in them winning the title in style.

Tharanga in his short stint as the captain made some memorable knocks with a fine 177 against Bloomfield and then went on to prove that it was not a flash in the pan by following up with a 236 in their last league outing against CCC. This also saw him ending as the top scorer of the tournament accumulating 893 runs.

SSC ended the season in style with six outright wins from the nine matches they played. In fact with still two rounds of matches to be completed SSC were virtually assured of the title as they had a lead over 20 points over their closest rivals Moors. Since they took over the leadership in the points table they kept on increasing their lead and were never in doubt of being overtaken. It was a challenge for the new coach Naveed Nawaz who was in his first stint with SSC having earlier been in charge with Moors last season. He earlier represented Bloomfield and then NCC in the Premier division which spanned 11 long seasons before hanging his boots to begin a coaching career.

Coach Nawaz said apart from Tharanga who had a wonderful season there were others like Thilina Kandamby who was not stable when he was playing for Bloomfield also coming out on top and the second top scorer with 822 runs with a best knock of 202 along with two tons, Thilan Samaraweera accumulated over 600 runs in six matches with a top knock of 184.

Nawaz explained “We had three more centurions in the side in Kaushal Silva, Jeewan Mendis and Shalika Karunanayake. Kaushal is a player with immense potential and it is not very far as he has the qualities of a top player in the making. We dominated most of the games we played posting over 500 runs so many times.

“The bowlers too did their part with right arm off spinner Sachitra Senanayake spearheading the brunt of the attack. He ended up with 50 scalps and he is another player who should go places in the future. In fact he was our top wicket taker in the Under 23 category too where he ended up with 46 wickets”.

Speaking further he said “our success in the tournaments was due to the fact that we implemented new methods, almost like how a national side undergoes training. It worked up to date and the boys gave me the fullest cooperation. We concentrated on our batting and set targets and it worked out the way we expected.

“Everybody knew what was expected from them and the goal we wanted to achieve. Another factor they took into hearts of all what I explained to them. Unlike in other teams they understood the professionalism was needed if you want to become a champion. “Besides that all the necessary facilities I needed were there for the boys and these things made it easier for me. I also had the fullest support from the club authorities so it was only a matter of fine tuning the boys.

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