17-year-old Shakthi Udara Jayathilake of Rajasinghe Central College Hanwella passed the 100 wickets milestone and is the leading wicket taker this season in the ‘Singer Trophy’ Under-19 Division III Level One Inter Schools Cricket (2 days) tournament conducted by Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association.
The left arm leg spinner took 114 wickets for 789 runs in nine matches. He claimed five wicket hauls in an inning 17 times, and had match bags of 10 wickets nine times. His best bowling performance in an inning (8/38) was against Ananda Maithriya National School Balangoda, and his best match bag (14/75) was against Prince College Rathnapura. He has also contributed with the bat, scoring 361 runs with 3 half centuries.
He commenced his career at St. John’s Bosco College Hanwella in 2014 as a left arm medium pacer at under-13 level under coach Dimuthu Jayalath, and played at this age level for two years (2014/15).
Shakthi then joined Rajasinghe Central College Hanwella, and under new coach H. Lilaj Priyankara changed his bowling action to left arm leg spin. He played in the under-15 team in 2017 and his school qualified for the semi-final of the Division Two tournament. Shakthi claimed 58 wickets in 11 matches and was the leading wicket taker that season. He also scored over 200 runs. He represented the Colombo District (Central) team in the under-15 Prima Champions Trophy and the champion Western Province (Central) team in the Inter Provincial tournament.
He graduated to the first XI team in 2017/2018. He was a member of the champion Sri Lanka Schools under-15 team that toured Malaysia for the ‘Thuanku Jafar Trophy’. As a second-year player during the 2018/19 season he took 58 wickets in 8 matches and helped the school qualify for the quarter-final of the tournament.
He thanks Principal Jagath Priyashantha, former Masters-in-Charge Dharma Sri Ranawaka (St. John’s Bosco), Rohana Wijethunge, Keerthi Karunarathne, Kalamsiri and presently I.H. Samson, his first coach Dimuthu Jayalath (St. John’s Bosco), presently Lilaj Priyankara (Head coach), Chathura Nadeesha (Asst. coach), former sports teacher H.G. Thusitha, presently Jayalal Rathnasooriya, all staff (academic and non-academic), OBA, Past Cricketers Association, all teammates, their parents and his family members.
He especially thanks all officials of the Sri Lanka School Cricket Association, District and Provincial coaches Jeewantha Kulatunge, Dilesh Thotagamuwa, Tharindu Mendis, Nalin Wijesinghe, Chandana Samarasinghe, Shanaka Fernando and Wasantha Wijesooriya, Western Province Cricket Association and Colombo District Cricket Association.