MCA to break new ground with boys’ tour of England | Sunday Observer

MCA to break new ground with boys’ tour of England

23 April, 2023

President of the Mercantile Cricket Association (MCA) Nalin Wickremasinghe revealed his many ambitious plans for the growth and expansion of his organization that includes for the first time a tour of England by their youth teams.

He said that the prestigious organisation the Mercantile Cricket Association was established in 1911 by the British and since then it has come through several stages of development.

The first Sri Lankan to become the MCA president was Chandra Schaffter, a well known businessman in the corporate sector in 1965.

After that all presidents worked tirelessly making a tremendous contribution towards the success of this beautiful organization and as a result various projects had been initiated.

For example, an academy was initiated by Chris Obeysekera and the inauguration of a turf wicket by Ashley Ratnayake and he initiated the pitch restaurant too.

There were so many projects initiated by past presidents. As a result of that this beautiful organization the MCA has moved to the top level.

“When I took over it was a tough challenging task for me because of the pandemic situation. I wanted to do something special. I started introducing a special segment to the cricket academy. All these times we had only under-13 and under-15 players and I wanted the academy to have players over 15 years up to 21 years.

As a result of that move we had a simple ceremony where 55 children came to be registered. Now we have over 350 children,” said Wickremasinghe.

“Secondly, I submitted my proposal to the executive committee about five or six years ago when I was the General Secretary about the importance of introducing floodlights for our side wickets. There were some problems initially, but after a number of discussions and negotiations we were able to start this project with a beautiful ceremony on February 1,” added Wickremasinghe.

He had also initiated a plan to expand the existing site that was insufficient for their requirements. Presently they have two astro wickets and 350 children which were not enough to cater to. Thereafter he wanted to construct four pitches that became a reality due to the generous support extended by Sri Lanka Cricket led by Shammi Silva.

“It was only after this that we started playing our academy matches on this ground. I also wanted to play matches in the outstations, so I organized a match against another academy in the outstation. We picked on the Test venue in Galle.

‘It was a superb game where one of our players scored a magnificent century that can be described as a professional knock and he was under 15 years,” said Wickremasinghe.

Subsequently, the MCA has now decided to take part in tournaments organised outside Sri Lanka as well. As a result they will be taking part in an international tournament to be held in the United Kingdom in July this year. They will field their under-15 and under-19 teams.

“That will be a tremendous exposure for our young cricketers. That player who scored the century will be one of the members to go to the UK,” said Wickremasinghe.

In the near future there will be an opportunity for the MCA to take part in international tournaments after this UK tournament. It can mean that an Asia Cup for Academies could be held in Sri Lanka and that tournament could be staged at the MCA ground.

“Thereafter we will be signing an MOU with another international academy focussing on an exchange program involving coaches and players,” said Wickremasinghe.