With a window being opened by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for latent talent at any level from the under-19 youth base to Sri Lanka A team and even school cricketers for mainstream national selection, this far sighted initiative has pleasingly seen the domestic cricket scenario become far more competitive. While this initiative on the cricket youth vision mooted by SLC President, Thilanga Sumathipala already having paved the way for several youngsters to walk in to the Sri Lanka team on the merits of their performances is an ongoing team rebuilding process, it has with it intensified player interest to grab the opportunity.
The realization of the schoolboy cricketing dream being closer to reality, there has been a talent surge witnessed in the ongoing 2016-17 Premier League Tournament Tier A. The domestic countdown has heated up so much that interestingly some of the Sri Lanka players who lost their places on form who have not made it to the top 10 include former national vice captain, Lahiru Thirimanne of Bloomfield and Milinda Siriwardena. In the batting department, R. K. Chandraguptha of Colombo Cricket Club hogs the limelight as the No.1 batsman among the top 10 with 827 runs in 14 innings from 8 matches inclusive of 4 centuries and two half centuries with a highest of 157 averaging 68.91. The left handed Chandraguptha aged 21, hails from Peradeniya, and is a product of Trinity College, Kandy.
In second place is Bloomfield’s K.P.N.M. Karunanayake with 824 runs in 15 innings from 8 matches with 3 tons and an equal number of half tons and highest of 183 averaging 54.93. A native of Ragama, aged 26 is a also a left hander. He is followed by Chilaw Marians D.Shehan Jayasuriya who is competing to reclaim his ODI place having debuted in 2015 against the West Indies. Jayasuriya, has scored 51 ODI runs in 5 innings from 6 matches with a highest of 31, and 157 T20 runs for a highest of 40 in 4 innings having debuted for Sri Lanka in the T20 also in 2015 against Pakistan. His third spot 786 runs in the ongoing domestic tournament is in 15 innings and 8 matches with 2 tons and 3 half tons, and highest of 237 averaging 56.14. Lying 4th is S. Samarawickrema with 772 runs in 15 innings and 8 matches spanning 3 tons and equal number of half tons and highest of 130 averaging 59.38.
The No. 1 bowler is P.M. Pushpakumara of Chilaw Marians CC with 67 wickets conceding 953 runs to his credit in 16 innings and 8 matches with a best of 7 for 52 averaging 14.22. Second is A.A.S. Silva of Badureliya SC with 49 wickets, 1083 runs, in 14 innings and 8 matches, with best of 7 for 87. Third is D. Hettiarachchi of Burgher Recreation Club with 49 wickets, 1184 runs, in 14 innings and 8 matches for best of 7 for 158. The fourth spot is hogged by Ragama CC’s M.A. Aponso 48 wickets, 733 runs, 15 innings, 8 matches with best of 7 for 71 averaging 15.27.
Following are the top 10 batting and bowling tables:
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-