The selection panel headed by Jayantha Seneviratne had very little hesitation in picking Richmond’s versatile cricketer, all-rounder and Sri Lanka (SL) Under-19 skipper Charith Asalanka as the 37th Bata-the Sunday Times Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year for 2016. Charith becomes the fourth schoolboy cricketer to win the coveted title twice in the 37-year history of the competition, and the third to win it back-to-back. Previously, 1996 World Cup-winning Captain Arjuna Ranatunga of Ananda College, was the first to win the title twice in 1980 and 1982. Nalanda’s Roshan Mahanama, who became a top class international cricketer and later, an ICC Match Referee, won the title in 1983 and 1984. Ten years later, Thilan Samaraweera of Ananda College clinched the double in 1994 and 1995.
Charith, who won it last year, wins the title again — mainly because of his solid contribution as skipper of the SL Under-19 team and as a versatile all-rounder. Charith is an all-rounder and skipper of Richmond College Galle who also led the SL Under-19 team – any schoolboy cricketer’s dream — at the ICC Youth World Cup. He was initially picked as the Best Batsman, while his deputy in the SL Under-19 side, Sammu Ashan of Ananda College was 1st Runner-up. Last year Charith won Best All-rounder and was 1st Runner-up in the Best Bowler category, while Sammu was 1st Runner-up in the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2015. Asitha Fernando of St. Sebastian’s College Katuneriya was 2nd Runner-up to Charith and Sammu. All three were top performers for Sri Lanka at the ICC Youth World Cup, as well as against other international sides.(Extracted from The Sunday Times 05th June 2016. Read full article)