Three junior cricketers, who are part of the national Under 19 squad scheduled to travel to the United Arab Emirates for a tri-nation tournament next week, have been given permission to join the team late owing to their involvement in their respective school big matches.
The three players, Sineth Jayawardena from Royal College Colombo, Malsha Tharupathi of Richmond College Galle and Mahinda College's Dinura Kalupahana have been given special dispensation to travel separately, three days after the tournament, which also involves the Afghanistan and Bangladesh junior teams, begins.
“We have allowed them to travel on a later date because of their big matches and it is important for them to play those games,” Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) CEO Ashley de Silva told the Daily Mirror.
When asked why they were allowed to potentially compromise on their national duty in the name of playing a school match, de Silva argued that they were only given permission since Sri Lanka Under 19 does not play its first match in the tournament until after the three players reach the UAE.
“Sri Lanka's first match is on March 20 and that's the only reason we allowed them to arrive late. If they would have missed any of the matches, we wouldn't have given them permission,” de Silva said.
The 144th Battle of the Blues Royal-Thomian encounter will take place from March 16 to 18 while the 118th Battle of the Lovers, between Mahinda College and Richmond College, is scheduled for March 17 and 18.
Interestingly, in 1999, Jehan Mubarak, now the Sri Lanka Under 19 coach, and the late Thomian batsman Upekha Fernando missed the Royal-Thomian encounter that year, to represent Sri Lanka's junior team.
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