Dilshan Munaweera stops drought
Dilshan Munaweera became a rare Nalandian to be selected to represent Sri Lanka in recent times. Two other Nalandians Shantha Kalavitigoda and Ishara Amarasinghe who both played in one Test each for Sri Lanka, have represented the country in the 16-year period since Mahela Jayawardena made his debut for Sri Lanka in 1996. Dilshan an elegant opening batsman got the nod of the selectors for repeatedly knocking at the door for some time.
Nalanda not so long ago was a leading contender for Sri Lanka teams.
Going down memory lane the former Nalandians who have don the national blazer commences with Carl Obeysekera, Stanley Jayasinghe, Sarath Silva, Bandula Warnapura, Jayantha Seneviratne, Lalith Kaluperuma, Anura Ranasinghe, Hemantha Devapriya, Sunil Jayasinghe, Roshan Gunaratne, Gamini Wickremasinghe, Chamara Dunusinghe, Keerthi Ranasinghe, Kumara Dharmasena, Roshan Mahanama, Sanat Kaluperuma, Asanka Gurusinghe, Shantha Kalavitigoda , and Ishara Amarasinghe.
In the early era Nalanda Cricket maintained a high standard owing to the dedication of the Masters-inCharge of Cricket such as the late Kandaswamy Stanley Munasinghe, Nelson and Lional Mendis, Premasara Epasinghe, Celic Gamage and A.T. Nugegoda, with guidance received by that most knowledgeable coach late Gerry Gunaratne.
It was a pride for Nalanda to produce outstanding cricketers for Ceylon/ Sri Lanka in the calibre of Stanley Jayasinghe- a technically elegant batsman who later represented Leicestershire country as a professional.
The most prestigious moment in the history of Nalanda Cricket was when Bandula Warnapura was selected to lead Sri Lanka at the inaugural test against England in 1982.
Then in 1975 one of the most talented all-rounders of Nalanda Anura Ranasinghe represented Sri Lanka at the first world cup in 1975 as a schoolboy and he brought the first international award to our motherland under his captaincy (Sri Lanka under 19) beating Pakistan to win the Ali Bhutto trophy in 1975. Pakistan was captained by Javid Miandad.
With such a galaxy of past cricketers Nalanda failed to introduce an outstanding cricketer for over a decade and it was Dilshan Munaweera who stopped that drought. Lets hope that in the future many a talented players would emerge from this institution.
By Lakshman Ranasinghe