The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Navod is determined as ever to make it to the top


Navod Madusanka (14), as many other cricket fanatic kids around the globe has high hopes. But the difference between Navod and other kids of his age is the sheer determination and commitment that he possesses. In addition born talent can help an individual perform wonders. After just engaging in cricket for three years, Navod has achieved what seemed to be an impossible task, with the least facilities available at his school, Sri Sastrananda Maha Vidyalaya, a less privilege institution situated in Dehiwela.

Navod Madusanka

Just as his school, Sri Sastrananda MV, Navod too has the knack in cricket but poverty and lack of facilities have stalled their progress. Similarly Navod and his school, Sri Sastrananda MV are making a great attempt to thrive in the sport they assume they are good at. Sri Sastrananda currently plays first XI cricket in Division III with a young yet determined breed of cricketer. Navod is now on the verge of making it to the senior team, perhaps within a matter of months or weeks.

What make right-hander Navod stand out were his electrifying performances during the concluded Inter-School Under-13 Cricket Tournament. While leading the side he emerged as the top performer for Sri Sastrananda MV, clobbering 792 runs in just nine matches. His extraordinary feat includes four centuries and three half centuries while his average is nearly 80. According to his master-in-charge Vijith Boga-hawatte, the feat came Navod’s way gradually after he furtively took on a challenge laid on each member of the team.

“Our senior master-in-charge Venerable Wimalabuddhi Thero put out a challenge to all members of the Under-13 side that he will present a cricket bat worth Rs. 25,000/= if anyone can score 500 runs in five matches. I presume that Navod took it seriously and made a gallant attempt, but fell short by 13 runs. For a 13-year-old youngster to at least come close to the target was something really exemplary. He could not reach it but for making the attempt made, he was rewarded with the exact bat, which he received wholeheartedly,” explained Bogahawatte.

From the set target Navod could only muster 487 runs in five matches but his attempt was eventually proved that it was worth it. In the opening game against D.S.Senanayake he made a watchful 42 but soon exploded in the second match with an elegant 109 against Prince of Wales’. Against Science College he made 24 and 122 respectively in both innings and scored 69 against Mahanama in the fourth game. However the best of his knocks came was a well composed 121 against S. Thomas’ Mt. Lavinia to complete at 487 runs after five first-round encounters.

Though he was short of the target of 500 runs, Navod never stopped what he started. In the first second round match he was probably a bit shaken after the failed attempt as he only managed to make 14 against St. John’s Panadura. He regained form with a fine 150 against Wesley while driving his team towards the quarterfinal stage. Navod made 73 as his team beat Mahamathya MV Athurugiriya to enter semi-finals where they met St. Mary’s Matugama and lost. Navod clobbered 68 runs in the lost cause. In total he accumulated 792 runs which was regarded as a big achievement for a cricketer at any level from Sri Sastrananda MV.

“I liked cricket since I was a toddler. But I got involved in the sport accidentally four years ago. Some bigger boys challenged me to score a big knock in a limited number of deliveries which I eventually did. It was witnessed by a cricket coach. As result I started playing cricket at competition level. I like batting aggressively. I will never change my style and my aim is to continue this way and start playing club cricket when I reach 18,” Navod said.

Navod at practices

Navod at practices

Navod turned 14 last April and presently he is drafted to play in the Under-15 team. Apart from his batting skills, Navod is a striking fast bowler and a brilliant fielder especially in the outfields. With more to be expected from his bat, Navod regards the concluded Under-13 season as his best end most memorable. But his aims in cricket are endless. Even with whatever bit his school can offer him, Navod is ready to go along way taking the name of Sri Sastrananda MV to the fore despite the number of invitations flowing in to him from leading schools to join them. A couple of months back when an Australian junior team toured Sri Lanka, the touring coach, after witnessing Navod’s batting and had given him an open invitation to visit the land down under. Navod considers this and other developments as blessings as his family finds it hard to look into all of his needs though they passionately back him.

“The Australian coach had told my coach to send me there when I reach 18. But you can never say what will happen by then. I have so many dreams, such as playing a big match, becoming Sri Lanka’s best schoolboy cricketer and do well at club level.

I still don’t know if I’ll make it to the national level, though at the back of my mind I am certain that I’ll get there. But what I know is that I’ll do my best for that day and the team as always. I’m destined to reach a level, I’ll accomplish there,” said the gritty Navod.

Pix by Amila Gamage

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