Bandaranayake College, Gampaha is a leading cricket playing schools in the region which has a rich crop of talent. The school from Gampaha is fondly known in cricket for producing one of the most innovative international seam bowlers of recent history. His is none other than Nuwan Kulasekara. Despite their achievements they still continue to play on a matting wicket but yet manage to produce national prospects irrespective of their ups and downs that they face.
|Bandaranayake MV cricket squad. (Pix by Amila Prabodha)
Each year during the last decade or so they managed to produce a batsman or a bowler with top potential to the national or academic squads of the country. This year too producing one such cricketer is one of their prime targets. Bandaranayake College competes in school cricket from the Division II category but there have been times when they too were a top team during the recent years. Last season Bandaranayake enjoyed such dividends. In contrast this year has not been so fruitful for this Gampaha school.
Kanishka Amarasinghe who has been coach of the side for the past 19 years explained the major setback that is being seriously addressed by the coaching staff.
“After last season we had a full team or eleven players to make us one of the best teams in the island. But unfortunately, eight players from the lot called it quits saying they have to focus on studies. As elders we had to oblige their wish. This left the team with only three seniors. Now they are being burdened with a lot of responsibility,” revealed Amarasinghe.
The Bandaranayake cricket squad includes 32 players and majority of them are from the Under-17 and 15 age categories. They are still on the hunt to pick the best possible players to be included in the final XI. Their first six games played during the third term produced unsatisfactory results. They are set to play 16 games this season. They managed to earn first innings points in two games but conceded first innings points to their opponents in one encounter.
The development plans that is being faced by Bandaranayake cricketers at present may undervalue their promotion to Division II gained in 2009 from the Division III grouping. If they are to remain in Division II, more focus must be portrayed on their batting department which is struggling, especially in first innings.
“Our batting needs to be more consistent. We have identified this setback. To be frank it has no connection with the talent. Much of the players are young and they need psychological assistance. Almost all the players have some sort of problem and by the time the first term begins, we hope to put things in order by holding special camps and clinics. Our bowling and fielding, however are in top form,” related Amarasinghe.
However Bandaranayake College has got a brand of talented players who could improve in time with an experienced coaching staff in hand. Among seniors are skipper Ravindu Munasinghe, his deputy Sanitha Mihiran and Dinidu Sulodana. The remaining players are drafted from the Under-17 and 15 squads, considering their performances in the respective tournaments.
|Sanitha Mihiran (Vice Captain)
To open batting there is Vice Captain Mihiran and Rathsara Dhananjaya. Both are right-handers. Following them in the line-up are left-hander Sulodana who is the Under-17 skipper. Next to come are right-handers Esala Sujan, Lasitha Ravindranath and Vageesha Ladushan. Skipper Munasinghe, a left-hander follows in as the fifth down batsman. The side’s leading all-rounder Anupa Wijetunge is also a left-hander while Janith Wijesuriya and Ganidu Chathuranga make up the line-up. A player from the remaining members of the squad will fill in the last man’s slot.
The bowling department of Bandaranayake is their asset. Skipper Munasinghe, a left-arm fast bowler, has already claimed over 30 wickets and is a member of the Sri Lanka Under-19 World Cup squad. To support him from the other end is another left-armer Wijetunge. Wijesuriya and Dhananjaya bowl right-arm leg-spin while Sujan is their leading off-spinner. Deputy skipper Mihiran, a left-armer acts as a part time spinner.
This year they intend to win at least three matches and remain in the division with the aim of producing more players to the top level. Concurrently Bandaranayake College hopes to improve their players’ capabilities and qualify for the second round of the tournament while grooming the youngsters for the future. - NA
Bandaranayake MV cricket squad: Ravindu Munasinghe (Captain), Sanitha Mihiran (Vice Captain), Dinidu Sulodana, Anupa Sandeepa, Lasitha Ravindranath, Esala Sujan, Sahan Arachchige, Janith Wijesuriya, Rathsara Dhananjaya, Vinoj Shravina, Ganidu Chathuranga, Madhawa Sankalpa, Supun Priyanjana, Vageesha Ladushan, Anupa Wijetunge, Aravinda Palliyaguruge, Kanishka Tharindu, Kasun Tharuka, Minoy Anjula, Dulidu Nimesha, Janitha Nadeemal, Ravika Sadith, Kanishka Amarasinghe (Coach), Kapila Samaraweera (M-I-C).