Sri Lanka U19s ready to conquer the World

Written by Damith Weerasinghe

Every two years under 19s around the world battle it out for the ICC Youth World Cup and this time the Sri Lanka under 19s are stealthily gearing themselves to take on U 19s of the world at the ICC U 19 World cup in the UAE from the 14th February – 1st March 2014.
The Under 19 World Cup has functioned as a foundation stone to many a great cricketer such as Sanath Jayasuriya, Mike Atherton, Brian Lara, Inzamam Ul-Haq and rising stars such as Virat Kohli, Dinesh Chandimal, Darren Bravo, Shakib Al Hasan and many more. Most of the International players have begun their journey through the Under 19 World Cup and the exposure this tournament provides is invaluable to the growth of the young cricketers.

The India U19s led by Unmukt Chand won the last ICC Youth World Cup in 2012 beating the Australian under 19s. This time around Sri Lanka is grouped with England, New Zealand and hosts UAE in group ‘D’.

History of Sri Lanka U19s

The Sri Lanka U19 team has appeared in 9 Youth World Cups before and their best performance was in 2000 under the leadership of Malintha Gajanayake when they became the runners-up of the tournament losing to India in the final played in Sri Lanka. The junior Lions worst performance was in the previous edition in 2012 where they finished the tournament below the top 8 teams as 9th placed team in Malaysia.

The Sri Lanka U 19s are one of the few teams to play in all previous Under 19 World Cups but are yet to wrap their hands around the coveted Youth Cricket World Cup. The Sri Lanka Test & ODI skipper Angelo Mathews led the under 19s in 2006 where they came in to the quarter final stage.

Sri Lanka’s Preparation for the Youth World Cup

The Lion cubs have been preparing well for the mega event with a few coaching camps in Dambulla. They are coached by former Sri Lankan test player Naveed Nawaz who represented Sri Lanka in a single test match and in 3 ODI’s.

The squad’s preparations have started way back in August 2013 when they hosted the strong India under 19s in a 3-match ODI series. With rain disrupting the first match, the Sri Lanka under 19s lost the two remaining games by 22 runs and seven wickets. Sri Lanka had a moderate Under 19 Asia Cup in the UAE recently when they were beaten by India in a closely contested semi-final. Sri Lanka recently hosted the Australia under 19s where the home side beat them with some clinical and commanding performances.

Little Dynamite Skipper – Kusal Mendis

Sri Lanka under 19s for the ICC Youth World Cup will be led by Cambrian batting star, Kusal Mendis. The 19 year old wicket keeper batsman from Moratuwa has been a child cricket prodigy ever since he started to play cricket. Enriched with natural talent, Kusal Mendis is predicted to become a future superstar for Sri Lankan Cricket.

Kusal’s batting ability was on show when he smashed a match winning century against Bangladesh U19s in Asia Cup 2013/14 and he continued his good form when he mastered his way to a faultless hundred against Australia under 19s in the 1st Youth ODI last week. Kusal Mendis even though short in stature is not diminished by any means and is a disciplined leader looking forward to bring glory to his country.

Key Players to Watch out for

Opening batsman and vice-captain Sadeera Samarawickrama is an elegant stroke maker from St. Joseph’s College  who will be looking to make his mark on the world stage as he did in last year’s annual Joe-Pete big match where he stroked a classical century.

Sadeera’s opening partner, Hashan Dumindu is a well-poised right handed batsman who is always in the runs for the junior side. Current skipper of Gurukula Vidyalaya is a strong player on the back foot and he will look to convert his few half centuries in the under 19 Asia Cup into centuries in the Under 19 Youth World Cup.

Left arm medium fast bowler Anuk Fernando is the only survivor from the 2012 Under 19 World Cup in Australia. The left handed bowling all rounder from St. Sebastian College will look to play a major role with his accurate left arm seam and his attacking batting down the order.

Silent assassin, Priyamal Perera nicknamed ‘Bullet’ is a player capable of turning any game around with his patient batting in the middle order and his stunning fielding together with the ability of bowling right arm off spinners to tide down the run flow. Priyamal Perera is a proud product of St.Joseph’s College and while he is a valuable asset to the Sri Lanka under 19 team, he is expected to go on to make an impact in the national team in the future.

The 6’5 feet tall left arm seam bowler from D.S Senanayake College, Binura Fernando will spearhead the Sri Lanka bowling attack. Binura’s deadly accuracy with his astounding height will be a real threat to the opposing batsman in batting friendly surfaces in the UAE. His century against India under 19s in a Youth test match last year more than proves his batting capabilities down the order.

The spin attack will be headed by right arm off spin bowler AK Tyron from Richmond College. Tyron is another promising prospect for the future, who is travelling in the footsteps of the great Muttiah Muralitharan.

Solid Batting Unit

Sri Lanka under 19s team will have two right hand batsmen in Sadeera Samarawickrama and Hashan Dumindu opening the batting. Skipper Kusal Mendis will bat in the most valuable place of number 3 and will look to anchor his troops batting at that key position. The left handed wicket keeper batsman Minod Bhanuka will bat at number 4 and followed by Priyamal Perera at number 5.

Thilaksha Sumanasiri will fight hard for a place in the Sri Lanka under 19s middle order with former Sri Lankan test bowler Chamapaka Ramanayake’s son Hashen Ramanayake.

Fast bowler turned spinner, Harsha Rajapakshe will be in the late middle order with his attacking batting and will be followed by the strong tail of bowlers.

Match Winning Bowling Attack

The islanders possess a match winning bowling unit which will be able to defend any reasonable score posted by their batsman. Binura Fernando and Anuk Fernando will share the two new balls.  The most exciting part of the Sri Lanka under 19s bowling unit will be their large stock of spinners. Two left arm spin bowlers in Lakshan Jayasinghe and Harsha Rajapakshe will look to control the middle overs together with right arm off spin bowlers in AK Tyron, Ramesh Mendis and Priyamal Perera.

The Prediction

Sri Lanka under 19s will have a strong and tough mountain to climb in the Under 19 Youth World Cup as they have been categorized in a sudden death group where they will compete with two top teams in England and New Zealand. They have the raw talent to succeed in UAE and most probably they will win all their group games but will have to play out of their skins to bring home the trophy as they will be up against much stronger oppositions in the knockout stages.

Full Squad

Name – Kusal Mendis – Captain 

Date of Birth – Feb 2nd 1995

School – Prince of Wales Moratuwa

Batting  – Right Hand Bat

Fielding -wicket keeper

Favourite player – Sachin Tendulkar

Achievements  :

• 206 against Joseph Vaz College in 2012/13 season

•Century against Bangladesh in the U 19 Asia Cup 2013/14 in Abu Dhabi

•Schoolboy Cricketer of the year 2013

Name- Sadeera Samarawickrama

Date of Birth- August 30, 1995

School- St. Josephs College

Batting – Right Hand Batsman

Fielding – Wicket Keeper

Favorite Player- Mahela Jayawardene

Achievements:

•Represented Sri Lanka at the 2013/14 Asia Cup

•Represented the Sri Lankan under 19 team that toured Bangladesh and was a member of the team that played against the touring under 19 Indian team.

•Scored a century at the Annual Big match between St. Josephs College and St. Peters College.

Name- Ramesh Mendis

Date of Birth- July 07, 1995

School- Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda

Batting – Right Hand Batsman

Bowling – Right Arm Off Spin

Favorite Player- Graeme Swann

Achievements:

•Represented his College first X1 team for the 13/14 season and scored 790 runs and took 52 wickets in only eight matches.

•Member of the SSC team that is participating in the 2013/14 Premier season

•Represented the Sri Lankan under 19 team that toured Bangladesh and was a member of the team that played against the touring under 19 Indian team.

Name- Kavindu Kulasekara

Date of Birth- August 20, 1995

School- Thurstan College

Batting – Right Hand Batsman

Bowling – Right Arm Off Spin

Favorite Player- Mahela Jayawardena

Achievements:

•Captain of the Thurstan College team for the 2013/14 season.

•Scored 918 runs which comprised 3 centuries and 5 half centuries for his College team in the 2012/13 season

•Represented the Sri Lankan under 19 team that toured Bangladesh and was a member of the team that played against the touring under 19 Indian team.

•Represented Sri Lanka at the 2013/14 Asia Cup.

Name- Priyamal Perera

Date of Birth- May 02, 1995

School- St. Josephs College

Batting – Right Hand Batsman

Bowling – Right Arm Off Spin

Favorite Player- A.B De Villiers

Achievements:

•Scored 490 runs in 7 matches for his College team in the 2013/14 season.

•Represented Sri Lanka at the 2013/14 Asia Cup and scored at an average of 105 in four matches.

•Represented the Sri Lankan under 19 team that played against the touring under 19 Indian team.

Name- Anuk Fernando

Date of Birth- August 01, 1995

School- St. Sebastian’s College

Batting – Left Hand Batsman

Bowling – Left Arm Fast

Favorite Player – Angelo Matthews

Achievements:

•Scored 750 runs and took 40 wickets for his College team in the 2012/13 season

•Represented Sri Lanka at the 2013/14 Asia Cup – scored 80 runs/took 5 wickets in four matches

•Represented Sri Lanka at the 2013 under 19 World Cup.

Name- Minod Bhanuka

Date of Birth- April 29, 1995

School- Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala

Batting – Left Hand Batsman

Fielding – Wicket Keeper

Favorite Player- Kumar Sangakkara

Achievements:

•Scored two centuries during the 2013/14 schools cricket season

•Represented Sri Lanka at the 2013/14 Asia Cup.

•Represented the Sri Lankan under 19 team against the touring under 19 Indian team.

Name -Hashan Dumindu Ranasinghe

Date of Birth – April 6th 1995

School – Gurukula, Kelaniya

Batting – Right Hand Bat

Bowling – Right arm off spin

Favourite player – Mahela Jayawardena

Achievements:

•114 vs St. Josephs College in 2012/13 season


Name – Binura Fernando

Date of Birth – July 12th 1995

School – D.S.Senanayake College, Colombo

Batting – Right Hand Bat

Bowling – Left arm fast bowler

Favourite player – Chaminda Vaas

Achievements :

•Century in the second test against India U 19 side in 2013

 

Name – Tilaksha Sumanasiri

Date of Birth – Jan 20th 1995

School – S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia

Batting – Right Hand Bat

Favourite player : – Kusal Janith Perera

Achievements :

•Vice Captain of the STC team

 

 

Name – A K. Tyron

Date of Birth – May 10th 1995

School – Richmond College, Galle

Batting – Right Hand Bat

Bowling – Right arm off spin

Favourite player  -Muttiah Muralidaran

Achievements :

Century in the second test against India U 19 side in 2013

9 wickets in the U 19 tour to Bangladesh

Name – Harsha Rajapaksha

Date of Birth – April 8th 1995

School – Rahula College, Matara

Batting – Left Hand Bat

Bowling –  Left arm leg spin

Favourite player-Kumar Sangakkara

Achievements :

•School record for best bowling in an inning – 10 wickets for 8 runs  in 2012/13

•2 hat-tricks in one inning against St. Thomas, Kotte 2012/13

Name – Lakshan Jayasinghe

Date of Birth – May 27th 1995

School – Trinity College, Kandy

Batting – Right Hand Bat

Bowling – Left arm Leg spin

Favourite player – Rangana Herath

Achievements :

•7 wickets for 4 runs in U 19 Schools World Cup in India 2012/13

Name – Hashan Vimarshana

Date of Birth Nov 28th 1994

School – St. Thomas College, Matara

Batting – Right Hand Bat

Bowling – Right arm fast bowler

Favourite player  - Virat Kohli

Achievements :

•8 wickets for 10 runs vs Devananda College in the season 2012/13

Name- Hashen Ramanayake

Date of Birth- April 18, 1995

School- Royal College, Colombo

Batting – Right Hand Batsman

Bowling – Right Arm Medium Fast

Favorite Player- Aravinda de Silva

Achievements :

•Scored 960 runs and took 25 wickets for his College team in the 2012/13 season

•Scored a memorable century in the annual ODI encounter between Royal College and S. Thomas’ College.

Coaching Staff

Head Coach – Naveed Nawaz

Manager – Shiran Abeysekara

Trainer – Dilshan Fonseka

Fielding Coach – Upul Chandana

Written by Damith Weerasinghe

(Courtesy: thepapare.com)