Veteran Sajith says bye to active cricket

By M. Shamil Amit

“Everything in life is temporary and in sports too what we do should come to an end”. With those words veteran Sajith Fernando has decided to hang up his boots after a successful career in cricket as a player spanning nearly three decades.

Thirty seven year old Sajith began his cricket career way back in the 80’s. Besides wearing the coveted national cap, he has done immense service to the Lankan cricket cause in his line of duties. The burly and stylish left hander could also be proud that he is one of the three players in domestic cricket to have score over 10,000 runs.

Sajith Fernando

Sajith speaking to The Sunday Times said “I had to take this decision because of my new appointment as the head coach of S. Thomas’ Mt Lavinia”. His illustrious cricket career came into the limelight after having represented his alma mater St Anthony’s Katugastota for four successive years.

Sajith had a successful school cricket career which paved him the way to reach great heights. He proudly says that his team members at school included the ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan which was in the inter-school cricket season 1990/91 where the Antonians adjudged the Bata All Island Best Team. Sajith who scored over 1000 runs that season went on to win the Bata All Island Best Batsman award.

One year later Sajith was awarded the Bata All Island Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year as well as the Best All Rounder and carried away two runners up awards for the best batsman and best bowler in the same contest. His achievement saw him being awarded the highest award in his school which is the Antonian Eagle and later received the Sri Lanka School coloursman award for cricket.

In 1992 Sajith was a member of the Sri Lanka 19 team led by Anandian Sachitra Alexander that toured England. The team included players in the caliber of Chaminda Vaas and Russel Arnold and Sajith was awarded the most outstanding contributor of the tour. The same year he was a member of the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team which took part in the SAARC cricket tournament.

In 1993 he toured South Africa with the Sri Lanka U24 team which was led by Sanath Jayasuriya and this was supposed to be the first ever official tour made by a Sri Lanka team. He was also the deputy skipper of the U24 team against South Africa and later led the team in the final test match and two ODI matches.

In 1995 he was member of the Sri Lanka cricket team led by Marvan Atapattu that took part in the Hong Kong Sixes and the TNT World Wide Cricket Sixes held in Singapore where they emerged champions in both the tournaments.

The same year he represented the Central Province team in the Inter-Provincial cricket tournament and was judged the most promising player and the player of the province in this tournament. He went on to lead the Colts U24 cricket team and guided them to become champions.

His performance saw him being offered a scholarship by the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka to play first grade cricket in Australia where he represented the Beenleigh Logan CC in Brisbane. On his return he was given the responsibility of leading the Sri Lanka ‘A’ side against the South African counterparts.

In 1998 he was adjudged the man of the series in the premier limited over tournament when Colts emerged champions. Was a member of the champion Colts cricket team which emerged premier league champions in the year 2000 and 2002 which team he led.

Sajith after a stint with Colts played for the Tamil Union side and here too he was successful in guiding his side to become the premier limited over champions of 2009/10 cricket season. Apart from his domestic cricket career he has played for various clubs overseas in Australia, England and Bangladesh.

His stint in these countries gave him an opportunity to qualify as a Level I coach of Cricket Australia and Level II coach of English Cricket Board.

So his retirement from cricket has taken him to the new field of coaching which he looks forward to give off his best.

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