Sp. Sports Corr. in Kandy
Last season, coach U. S. C. Perera’s tenure began with five losses. A first innings win over a strong Richmond side instilled fresh hope. Then came the win over the Sylvestrians. Dharmaraja won the 50 over against Kingswood, though the victory was tainted by a Mankading incident.
The Rajans were quite successful in the recent Under 17 season until the Thomians stopped them in the quarters. With so many seniors in their ranks, Dharmarja could look forward to a decent season when they start next week against Maliyadeva.
The captaincy has not been decided on as yet. The players in the running are left-arm spinner Rukmal Dissanaike and batsman Sachintha Senanayake. Dissanayake's best performance in 2017/18 was a bag of 5/81 against Gurukula. Senanayake had an unbeaten 104 against Wesley.
Left-hander Dulaj Bandara is probably the best batsman in the side. He had many half centuries, the best of which was 73 against Ananda. Opener Kasun Gunawardena has been around for a while but has not provided the expected runs. 82 against Dharmapala and 70 not out in the Sylvestrian game hint at his potential.
Yasitha Samararatne and Isuru Dayananda are two capable batsmen who have to add consistency to their game.
Both are important cogs in the wheel. Winning matches is all about claiming 20 wickets. Left-arm spinner Upendra Warnakulasuriya was outstanding last season and the coach is hoping for much more from his number one bowler. He had a matching bag of 10-69 against St. Sylvester’s as his best performance. Bags of 6-57 (St. Servatius’) and 5-46 (Richmond) prove his effectiveness.
The Rajans have another left-arm Thushan Herath, who was a consistent wicket-taker in the Under 17. Samararatne, who bowls off-spin, has the knack of coming up with a wicket or two when needed. Shan Wijeratne and Dhanuka Ratnayake are also off-spinners.
Not unusually for a school that, at one time, had two Sri Lankan species in Sonny Yatawara and T.B. Kehelgamuwa, the Rajans possess a strong pace attack. Last year’s opening bowlers Naveen Dilshan and Virajith Ehelepola are available. The latter shone against the Sylvestrians claiming 5-42. Those were his best figures. Chetiya Ekanayake and Anjula Dikkumbura also lend pace support.
Stumper Chamil Muhandiram, the incumbent, finds himself challenged by Dhanuka Marasinghe. With a lot of players to draw from it is expected that the coach will deliver the goods this season.
The Pool: Rukmal Dissanayake, Sachintha Senanayake, Dulaj Bandara, Kasun Gunawardena, Isuru Dayandana, Yasith Samararatne, Naveen Dilshan, Upendra Warnakulasuriya, Virjath Eehelepola, Chamil Muhandiram, Thushan Herath, Chethiya Ekanayake, Sahan Wijeratne, Dhanuka Ratnayake, Dhanuka Marasinghe, Anjula Dikkumbura, Sashika Kiriella, Mithila Gayeshan.