Aravinda -first Rajan to capture 100 wickets
A dream of any schoolboy bowler is to capture 100 wickets during a school cricket season and some achieve it while others fail to achieve it as it is no easy task.
The wicket should help you and at the same time the bowler has to perform consistently which requires fitness,dedication and to study the weakness of the opposing batsman. All these put together , the bowler will reach his ultimate goal.
This is what seventeen year old left arm spinner Aravinda Withanarachchi did for Dharmaraja College and he was the first bowler from this hill country school to capture 100 wickets during its 106 year old or more cricketing history.
He reached his goal not on an ordinary occasion but at the 106th big match against their traditional rivals Kingswood College.It was a memorable occasion, for the Rajans embellished this fine performance by winning the big match and the limited overs clash to complete the route.He re-wrote cricket history at Dharmaraja College as no other bowler had reached this Himalayan heights. The Rajans enjoyed a fine season this year as they won five matches outright and Aravinda Withanarachchi’s bowling played a major role.
Aravnda Wtanarachchi broke into the school’s cricket scene about six years ago as a left arm spinner of much promise.One of his uncles Priyantha Weragoda too was a left arm spinner but often “foxed “ the batsman by dropping his deliveries with the right arm which baffled the umpires and the batsman dismissed.
This was an art which he mastered and got away in the highest level of cricket which was Sara-Trophy at that time.
Some of Aravinda Witanarachchi’s outstanding performances were as follows.
5 for 27 and 6 for 12 Vs Rahula College ,Matara.
5 for 70 Vs. Royal College ,Colombo.
5 for 64 Vs.Nalanda College ,Colombo.
5 for 31 Vs. Ananda College.
5 for 37 and5for 95 Vs. Zahira College, Colombo.
Aravinda Witanarachhi’s ambition is to play for the Country and he has one more year of school cricket and he is expected to continue his mesmerizing bowling spells next year too. He is presently coached by former Dharmaraja College all-rounder Ananda Wijesekera who led the Rajans to an innings victory over Kingswood College in the big match of 1971 in which H.S.Ekanayake captured a match bag of 12 for 66.Thi Rajans team also had in its ranks the present Mnister of Lands and Land Development Janaka Bandara Tennakoon who scored a fighting 74 in the following year’s big match.
Aravinda Witanarachchi is grateful to his Principal S.M.Keerthiratne who has given him all the encouragement and guidance and to his coach for chiseling his rough edges.
His master in charge for cricket Sarath Ekanayake has been one of his mentors and has motivated him a lot, along with the deputy principal Sarath Mataraarachchi and the prefect of games Colonel Sarath Abeygunasekera.