By M. Shamil Amit
In the recent past Trinity College, the top cricket playing school in the hill capital, has had the honour of producing top notch cricketers who has gone on to represent the national cricket team with tremendous success.
First in line is the legendary Kumar Sangakkara who shone with his batting prowess and guided the national side to many laurels. He was followed by Niroshan Dickwella and Lahiru Kumara who also represented the country with another, Ron Chandragupta, knocking on the door of national selection.
The latest prospect is young all-rounder Abishek Anandakumar who has made a name of himself with his performances in school cricket, winning the prestigious Trinity Lion.
Anandakumar, since he began his cricket career at the tender age of seven, has shown his all-round capabilities beginning from Under-13 in the year 2012.
Anandakumar had three successive seasons at Under-13 and his performances saw him being included in the national pool for that age group.
At Under-15 level, Anandakumar further improved himself showing his all-round prowess. In his last year in the Under-15s, he made over 600 runs and claimed over 35 wickets and his success saw him being selected to the senior side Under-19 at the age of just 14 years.
In between he represented the Kandy District team and was a member of the Central Province side at the Prima Champions Trophy tournament and was also appointed as the deputy skipper of the Sri Lanka Schools Under-15 team that toured Malaysia in 2017.
Whilst leading the Central Province he scored over 350 runs in two seasons, an achievement considering the limited number of matches played in the tournament, with a best knock of an unbeaten 177. He went on to lead the Under 17 side for two years and again showed his skills as an all-rounder.
Anandakumar stamped his position having made his debut with the senior side in the 2016/17 season with some encouraging performances. His second year with the senior side turned out to be a successful stint as he made over 600 runs which included his maiden ton against Nalanda College.
The 2018/19 season saw him faring better making over 850 runs inclusive of two centuries while bagging 40 scalps and guiding Trinity to the runners-up spot in the All Island Schools’ tournament. He was also adjudged the best bowler and man of the match in the annual encounter against traditional rivals St. Anthony’s College. The same year he led the Kandy District Greens team at the District Tournament and was a member of Central Province team in the Under-19 Super Provincial tournament.
Anandakumar ended the coronavirus pandemic affected 2019/20 season, in which he was the schools’ deputy skipper, with over 650 runs in 15 matches and taking over 70 wickets, including a hat-trick against Zahira College, along with six five-wicket hauls and two match-bags of 10 wickets or more.
Anandakumar’s best bowling figures came against Lumbini MV when he took 8 for 14 and ended with an impressive match bag of 14 for 93.
Whilst playing for his school team he also represented Center of Excellence (Junior Academy), Kandy Cricket Academy, Fingara Cricket Academy, Old Trinitians SC, Kandy YCC and Kurunegala YCC in the local domestic tournaments.