Over 400 schools from island-wide will be in the fray in the upcoming Prima Under-15 Inter District Tournament organized by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) that harnesses the cream of the country’s schoolboy cricket talent and considered the feeding cradle to the mainstream national grid from September 1 to 15. A feature of this annual tournament that will be held for the 11th year will be the participation of all districts including Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Batticaloa, Trincomalee. It will cover approximately 39 teams with around 90 matches on the cards with six teams from Colombo District, three each from Kandy District and Galle District, two from Kurunegela District, and one each from the other districts competing. The district tournament from September 1t o 15 will be followed by the super provincial tournament from September 20 to October 1.
“The schools’ team selections at this level will basically be based on schools’ under-15 performances driven by the Sri Lanka Schools’ Cricket Association,” said Mr. K. Mathivanan, Vice President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) directly overseeing the schools gamut from the country’s citadel of the game. He observed that this annual event held out a special significance to him having been the first signatory to the sponsorship agreement with Prima in 2007.
“An important aspect to propelling this junior tournament is the input at district coach level and the guidance of the junior national selectors in accordance with SLC policy making,” Mr. Mathivanan commented adding that in fact, this concept has been a guiding pathway to discovering young stars to the national grid. “Kusal Mendis, Kusal Janith Perera, Dananjaya De Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka and Avishka were some of the noteworthy junior cricketers discovered to the national due to this SLC concept. From here only promising latent talent will come to the limelight, and I must stress that this age group schools’ under-15 concept has been a big success as a nursery”, he emphasised.
Accordingly, a high point of its successful implementation has been that the selections have been made by an SLC selection committee comprising a national selection coordinator, provincial selector, district selector, schools’ representative and Centre of Excellence representative. The SLC mileage to the tournament covers financial assistance, and food and lodging.
The highly streamlined tournament selection process entails selection from district to provincial level. At district level, there will be district selectors, and provincial selector having schools representative, selector coordinator and national selector.
Commenting on the quality selection process, Junior National Selector, Mr. Ranjan Paranavithana said, “It is a gradual step by step well streamlined selection process prioritizing the cradle of the country’s cricket”.
By Srian Obeyesekere