Sri Lanka Telecom - Gold Sponsor of the 83rd Ananda Nalanda Battle of the Maroons
Sri Lanka Telecom announced their Gold sponsorship of the 83rd Battle of the Maroons at a press conference that the “Battle of the Maroons Joint Organizing Committee” held at the Atrium Lounge – Cinnamon Grand Hotel on Wednesday 4th January.
Welcoming those present, Co-Chairman of the joint organising committee, Mr Nishantha Ranatunga, explained the benefits of a joint association making arrangements for the Ananda Nalanda Big Match – which is being done this time, for the fourth consecutive year.
A video presentation that was played thereafter – revived and rekindled fond memories of many cricket lovers present that evening, about the huge contribution that these two schools have made to Sri Lanka Cricket over the years.
The presentation had a recollection of important milestones in the history of Sri Lanka cricket - the first Test Cricket team comprising 6 members from Ananda and Nalanda, the first Test Cricket Captain of the country being – Bandula Warnapura, a proud product of Nalanda and Arjuna Ranatunga, from Ananda leading the Sri Lankans in the famous World Cup winning team in 1996.
It was also revealed that these two premier Buddhist schools have so far produced the highest number ( more than 55) of national cricketers to have represented Sri Lanka in international cricket - including 5 of them - Bandula Warnapura, Arjuna Ranatunga, Roshan Mahanama, Marvan Atapattu and Mahela Jayawardena - having had the honour of leading the country's team.
The video also featured the first half century, the first century and the first double century for Sri Lanka in Test Cricket all to the credit of three Anandians - Arjuna Ranatunga (1982), Sidath Wettimuni (1982) and Brendon Kuruppu ( 1986)
Another cricket star featured on that day was Mahela Jayawardena – the former Sri Lanka skipper – from Nalanda who is Sri Lanka's highest run scorer in test cricket in a single innings , who also has the unique honour of becoming the first Sri Lankan ( and the only one so far) to complete 10,000 runs in Tests and One Day International Cricket.
Next up at the podium was Mr Sanjeewa Senanayake a devastating pace bowler from Ananda College who played for them from 1966 and captained the team in 1969 . Mr Senanayake spoke about the olden days of cricket in Sri Lanka where only cricketers from only a few elite clubs gained access to the national teams.He indicated that the golden era of the 1970's changed that perception as cricketers from Ananda and Nalanda stormed the arena with their stellar performances, thus paving the way
later for cricketers from outstation schools to gain national recognition.
He spoke with high praise for media personnel from the two schools – of the likes of late Mr Karunaratne Abeysekera, Mr Palitha Perera and Mr Premasara Epasinghe who were instrumental in popularising the game to this extent through the lengths and breadths of the country with their oratorical skills and descriptive commentaries.He also paid tribute to the excellent Cricket Administrators, elite Cricket umpires and the much respected match referees that Ananda and Nalanda has gifted to the country over the years
Mr Roshan Kaluarachchi – Chief Marketing Officer of Sri Lanka Telecom – the Gold sponsors for the 83rd Battle of the Maroons, spoke of the importance of the contributions that the two schools have made towards the progress of the game which had made their decision to support this event over the years appropriate choice. The event itself has now become one of national importance, considering the immense contribution that these two schools have made to Sri Lanka Cricket, he said.
Mr Kaluarachchi then presented the sponsorship cheque to the Principals of the two schools.
The joint organizing committee together with the Sports Clubs of the two schools, have decided to arrange a Dinner Dance – Maroons Night 2012 – as a prelude to the Big Match – at the Waters Edge on 3rd February 2012 which will provide the opportunity for all past cricketers as well as the past students of the two schools to meet one another and refresh their memories of yesteryear ahead of the 83rd Battle of the Maroons
Mr Sidath Waidyasekera – Co- Chairman of the Joint Organizing committee from Nalanda, proposed the vote of thanks before those present disbursed for fellowship