Moratu Maha Vidyalaya this year’s newcomers to Division One cricket with an experienced line up are confident that they could maintain their consistency in the current inter school Under 19 cricket tournament. Last year they bounced back into recognition by recording as many as nine outright victories from their sixteen outings and this time their main target is to build up the team and to remain in the Premier Division.
They have of course lost four of their top players from last years champion team and as a result they have got off to a disappointing start while conceding two outright defeats against Wesley College and St. Benedict’s College respectively. Despite the high expectations and the mounting pressure on the newcomers Moratu Maha Vidyalaya have certainly given their one hundred percent on the field and drew their other matches against Gurukula MV, Ananda Sastralaya and Asoka Maha Vidyalaya.
They are now targeting at least three outright victories this season and are hoping that their senior players would reach prime form during the latter stages of the tournament. Their biggest setback at the start of the season was the lack of match practice and the limited opportunities where some of their games were ruined due to bad weather. Even then the most encouraging fact for Moratu Maha Vidyalaya is that many of the players in the present team are in a position to represent the school for the next couple of seasons.
No doubt last year was one of their most productive seasons in the history of First XI Cricket where they went on to prove their cricketing skills by coming on top of the division two tournament points table. Apart from that they also produced an outstanding all round cricketer in the caliber of Sanka Ramesh who had the rare distinction of completing the grand double of scoring over one thousand runs and claiming over one hundred wickets during a memorable season.
Moratu Maha Vidyalaya are now hoping to draw inspiration from last years success as they look towards putting up another good performance and to bring down a couple of top teams in the tournament.
Dynamic opening batsman turned coach Lucky Rogers Fernando is another proud product of Moratu Maha Vidyalaya and some of the other outstanding players to emerge from the school are Bernard Perera, Sarath Fernando, Chandana Mahesh, Athula Wickrematilleke and Gamini Perera. In addition mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis is also a fantastic product of Moratu Maha Vidyalaya where he went on to represent the country with distinction in all forms of the game. The team is in charge of veteran coach Prasanna Dissanayake who has the credit of handling all age groups from junior cricket up to First XI cricket during the last 15 years.
Incidentally in the year 2000 Moratu Maha Vidyalaya came out with a splendid performance to annex the inter school under 13 division two tournament which is certainly one of their biggest achievements in junior cricket. Since then they have build up a formidable team step by step and have risen to the top of Under 19 cricket circuit mainly due to some real hard work and commitment.
Now they are in a position from where they could match some of the more elite schools in Colombo and also proved it on more than a couple of occasions with their giant killing performances. The rest of the fixtures in the current season will be a real test for Moratu Maha Vidyalaya and they are also concentrating heavily on their annual Big Match against the traditional rivals Sri Sumangala MV Panadura. This years team which is a combination of youth and experience will be captained by all rounder Ishan Peiris with another senior player Harsha Devinda as the vice captain.
In fact leg spinner Harsha Devinda has turned out to be one of their key bowlers in the team having already captured a matchbag of ten wickets on two occasions. Devinda had a memorable outing against Asoka MV where he took a match haul of thirteen wickets in the drawn encounter and already he has topped the fifty wicket mark for the current season. He has also excelled as a solid middle order batsman and proved himself by stroking two fighting half centuries against Ananda Sastralaya and Gurukula MV respectively.In addition left arm spinner Roshan Perera has provided the back up support and has so far captured over 20 wickets. Provincial players Shehan Umayanga and Thilan Kavishka are two other promising players in the squad.
Moratu Maha Vidyalaya First XI Cricket Pool