Record breaking Mahindian cricketer Navod, youngest to play in LPL
School boy Navod Paranavithana from Mahinda College Galle was picked to the squad of Colombo Kings as ‘Supplementary Local’ under the captaincy of Angelo Mathews in the inaugural Lanka Premier League T20 (LPL) tournament which is to be commenced in November at Hambantota. Navod Paranavithana was the youngest player in the upcoming Lanka Premier League (LPL) T20 tournament.
Navod, the skipper and left hand opener of Mahinda College Galle and Sri Lanka Youth cap made a new batting record in the schools cricket history in the last season of the Under 19 Division One inter Schools Cricket (Two day) tournament conducted by Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association.
Left hand aggressive batsman Navod was the first school boy cricketer to pass 400 runs in an innings in the schools cricket history of Sri Lanka. He scored a mammoth 409 runs in 327 balls with 39 boundaries and 19 sixes against Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda at home ground. His team made colossal 679 total and created a new record in the schools cricket.
Navod played in only six matches and scored 664 runs with a quadruple century and a century and two half centuries in eight innings in last schools cricket season. He missed nine school matches in this season as he was assigned for Sri Lanka under 19 team tours including Bangladesh, West Indies, Youth Asia Cup and Youth World Cup in South Africa.
Navod was playing football at Mahinda College under the school football coach A.M.A. Nishantha. His elder brother Binod played cricket under veteran coach Lucky Arambewela and Rodney Pradeep Kumara. Navod started his cricket career at the academy on a request by cricket coach Arambawela from Navod’s father Kelum Paranavithana.
Navod admitted to the college cricket academy after he was selected to the school under 13 team. He represented the college under 13 team in 2013 under coach Rodney Pradeep Kumara. He represented the college under 13 team in three consecutive years 2013, 2014 and 2015. Navod represented the school under 13 team in 2014 under coach Suneth Kudahetti. He led the school under 13 cricket team and became runner up in the tournament under coach Dhanushka Denagama in 2015. He scored 1182 runs in 14 matches with 6 centuries in the under 13 season of 2015. He made centuries against Rahula- Matara (159), St. Servatius- Matara (151), Debarawewa NS (106), St. Peter’s- Bambalapitiya (106), St. Thomas- Matara (105) and Maris Stella- Negombo (103) in that season. He maintained an average of 73.88 in the season. He was the highest runs scorer in the under 13 cricket history. He won three titles, namely Best Batsman, Best Player of the Tournament and Man of the Final in the under 13 tournament in 2015.
13- year-old Navod represented the college first XI team as a fresher and baby of the team in the “Lovers Quarrel” against Richmond College Galle in 2016 under coach Dhanushka Denagama. Navod became the youngest ever to play in the 115 years old Richmond – Mahinda Lovers’ quarrel big match making his debut play when he was just 13 years and 10 months old.
He represented the school under 15 team in two seasons 2016 and 2017 under coach Dhanushka Denagama. He led the school under 15 team and became the first ever player in history to pass the 1000 run mark in the under 15 tournament. He scored 1022 runs in 13 matches with five centuries in 2017. He made centuries against St. Servatius- Matara (175), Debarawewa NS (132), Ananda Shashtharalaya- Kotte (125), Rahula- Matara (118) and De Mazenod- Kandana (106) in that season of 2017. He maintained an average of 73.00 in the season.
Navod established a record by becoming the first player in school cricket history to score over 1000 runs in both Under 13 and Under 15 age levels. Navod represented the Galle district under 15 team and Southern Province team in the Prima Champions Trophy inter district and inter provincial tournaments in 2016 and 2017.
He represented the school under 17 team in 2018 and 2019. Mahinda College advanced to the semifinal under Navod Paranavithana in the inter schools Under 17 division One schools tournament in 2018. He missed many under 17 matches in both seasons due to being selected to the Sri Lanka under 19 squad.
He represented the school first XI team in five seasons from 2016. He made more than 500 runs in three seasons, 2017/18, 22018/19 and 2019/20 seasons.
He played four big matches against their arch rivals, Richmond College – Galle from 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. He was the most experienced player in the side.
Navod thanks his parents and two brothers, present principal Gamini Jayawardene, former principal Wasantha Siriwardene, former MIC’s Wasantha Gammuduwatte, Aravinda Rathnayake, D.W.K. Hettiarachchi and present MIC Y. Nishantha Kumara, academic and non-academic staff of Mahinda College, all coaches including Lucky Arambawela, Rodney Pradeep Kumara, Suneth Kudahetti, Dhanushka Denagama, L.U.R. Sriyawansha (Asst), Anil Rideegammanagedera, Yomal Sanjeewa, Ananda Wijenayake (Asst) and Reshan Kavinda (Asst), School Development Society, Old Boy’s Association and its branches, Mahinda community, specially my father’s two childhood friends named Nalin Herath and Athil Siriwardene (Australia), students of Mahinda College, his team mates and their .
He also thanked Hashan Tillekaratne Sri Lanka youth head coach, Upul Chandana, Chaminda Vaz, Sachith Pathirana, district coaches of Galle and Southern Province coach and all who helped him.
Navod Paranavithana is fortunate to play under Dave Whatmore, Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning coach in 1996 who will coach Colombo Kings in the LPL. Navod was selected from a total of 92 players who were included in the draft and it consisted of both domestic club cricketers and emerging cricketers nominated by the High Performance Center of the SLC and the Major Clubs.
18- year-old all-rounder Navod Paranavithana scored 979 runs (Ave. 27.19) with a century and eight half centuries in 36 Youth ODI matches so far. He made valuable 108 runs against England under 19’s in the final of the Tri Nation tournament in West Indies last December. He claimed 22 wickets for 649 runs in 36 Youth ODI’s as left arm leg-spinner.
Navod represented Tamil Union C & AC in the last season of the SLC Youth Inter Clubs Cricket Tournament. He has won the National level Best All-rounder award at the 41st Sunday Observer – Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest in 2019.
How he fared in this Season: vs Dharmapala Pannipitiya 18 & 0/08, vs Prince of Wales Moratuwa 00 & 1/22, vs St. Joseph’s Colombo 58, 01, 5/53 & 1/16, vs De Mazenod Kandana 109, 2/07 & 2/31, vs Nalanda Colombo 00, 69 & 5/48, vs Dharmasoka Ambalangoda 409 & 0/05. (YK)