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FAHIM SALEEM - The 2009 Thomian of the Year

Fahim Saleem, son of M M Rizmi Saleem and Fathima Mirzeth Rasheed, flew into the batting limelight during the 130th battle of the Blues Cricket Match by scoring a splendid 165 in the second innings which saved the game for the Thomians. Fahim has already notchedd up more than 1,000 runs during the Under 19 Cricket Season in Sri Lanka.

Fahim is the grandson of Muhammad Faiz Rasheed, d:7 Oct 2004 + Noorul Huzaim Hathy, and great grandson of Muhammad cassim Hajiar Muhammad Rasheed & Ummu Thahira Sheriff, and Abdul rahman Muhammad Hathy & Ummu Zohara Haji Cassim.

Currently in the A Level Class at STC Fahim may have the opportunity of Captaining the STC First XI Cricket Team in 2010 if the the School Cricket Program amends the the age limit to Under 20 as has been planned.

Sunday Times March 15, 2009

Salaam Saleem
Gallant Thomians hold marauding Royal victory charge

By M. Shamil Amit

The end of a great inning. ….. Royal’s Kithruwan Withanage asks the question from the umpire while the gallant Faahim Saleem looks on. Saleem was trapped leg before for 165 by Withanage, thus ending an innings that many would remember for generations to come. (Pic by Saman Kariyawasam)

The true Thomian grit prevailed at the Sinhalese Sports Club Grounds yesterday, as the lads from Mt. Lavinia led by that miracle worker Faahim Saleem halted the Royal victory charge with a clever display of patience at the crease.

After the Thomians had made a huge 411 all out in their second innings leaving Royal a target of 198 runs to win in 21 overs the Royalists made 42 runs for loss of three wickets in 7.1 overs of batting.
The Thomians after crashing for a paltry 99 runs in the first innings and with the Reid Avenue lads sensing to avenge their last innings defeat, the Thomians heads were down by lunch on second day, with the score card reading a bleak 39 for 2. However at one end Faahim who has made a habit of taking charge of the Thomian batting this season stood tall. At the same time he was still smarting from that ‘duck’ that he was gifted by Abeykoon in the first innings.

Then he found solace at the other end in his skipper Raveenthararaja Nirrushan who was also willing to take the fight back into the Royal camp. By the end of the second day both batsmen had completed their centuries, but, still a Royal victory was on the cards. At the same time for the undefeated Royalists, who had nine outright wins against their name this season, this was a mere exercise of getting into double figures. The Thomians ended the second day at 225 for 2. There were reminiscences of the Halangoda-Richards fight back in the centenary match.
The Royalists who had toiled hard and had gone wicketless for a major portion of the second day got the break that they were looking for, when skipper Nirrushan was held in the slips by Sahan Hettiaratchi off skipper Yasitha Abeykoon for the addition of only one run to his overnight score. The pair had added a gallant 209 runs for third wicket and also occupied the crease for a precious 317 minutes.

With the departure of Nirrushan the Royal eyes lit up for a while, but, that joy too was short lived. Chamod Pathirana joined Saleem and held back the Royalists for another eighty minutes while adding another 53 runs for the 4th wicket. Then there were some anxious moments for the Thomians when Chamal Fonseka and Chulaka Kumarasinghe fell at the score of 285 with only seventy one runs ahead with ample time to spare. At that moment the Thomians stumper Sachin Peiris joined Saleem to frustrate the Royal camp further.

Then with the score on 342 off spinner Kithruwan Withanage ended Saleem’s 545 minute resistance when he trapped the batsman in front when his personal score was on 165. Thus, one of the greatest innings that was on show at a Royal-Thomian encounter came to an end. Faahim Saleem faced 425 balls during that inning hitting 15 boundaries. After the departure of Saleem, Peiris batted stoutly to post his half century and also see them passing the 400 run mark in consecutive matches.
Holiday on Monday for Thomians

As an appreciation of their brave show at the Sinhalese Sports Club grounds yesterday, the Thomian board of management and warden David Ponniah have decided to declare Monday (March 16) as a school holiday for S. Thomas’.

Thomian Hero Faahim Saleem’s interview
I had confidence in my partners - Saleem

By M. Shamil Amit

Yesterday’s hero Faahim Saleem who scored an unforgettable knock of 165 runs in 545 minutes of batting to lead the Thomians to an honourable draw in their in their 130th encounter was a lad overjoyed by late last evening. Speaking exclusively to The Sunday Times Faahim said “I was full of nerves. I was also praying to God to help me do better this time as we were facing an innings defeat. In the first innings I got a duck, so I was determined to do better this time, but soon I saw that we were 21 for 2 once again.

“In that situation, skipper Nirrushan walked on to the field. While walking to the crease we discussed that we would stick to our basics and try not to lose too many wickets. Our plan came right as we were still there at the end of the day with centuries against our names.”

Faahim continued “Ironically early in the day we lost the wicket of Nirrushan, but by that time I was confidant that I could bat along with the others and more over I had my confidence in them. I knew that our batsmen could not fail twice. True enough I lost two partners at 285, that is cricket, but once young Sachin came in and was batting well I knew that we can hold it on and finally we did it.

“Now the whole team is happy as one and we now looking forward to our limited overs game next weekend”.


Sunday Observer Mar 15, 2009

Shoddy fielding put paid to Royal’s chances in Big Match:

Saleem - the Thomian Saviour


Cometh the hour, cometh the man, goes the age-old saying, and this was proved right again when opener Faheem Saleem cracked a monumental 165 for S. Thomas’ College, to deprive Royal College from posting a win and force a commendable draw in their 130th Battle of the Blues three-day cricket encounter ended at SSC grounds, Maitland Place last evening.

Saleem, a compact right-hander with terrific concentration powers who resumed on an overnight 100, made 165 standing between a loss for his school and a certain victory for Royal as the latter was left to rue what might have been had they held onto their catches.

The dogged opener who was let off when 38 by Royal captain Yasitha Abeykoon off hard-working left-arm spinner Maneesha Thanthirigoda saw to it that Royal would stand to regret it as he steered his team to a record-breaking second innings total of 411 all out.

The previous best for the Thomians in the series was a total of 388 for 9 declared in 1996 under Wiranga Samaranayake as the lads from Mount Lavinia proved that their paltry first-innings total of 99 was just a mere fluke as they profited immensely from the profligacy of the Royalists to deny them of a certain outright win in this game.

The Thomians who resumed from their overnight 225 for 2, lost their skipper R. Nirrushan who could only add a single to his overnight 103 before nicking one to slip fielder S. Hettiarachchi off his opposite number Y. Abeykoon.

Nirrushan perished not before having raised 209 for the third wicket with his opener Faheem Saleem and the pair who got together when their side was really looking down the barrel at 21 for 2 and having to make 214 runs for Royal to bat again, simply turned this game on its head.

Their epic double century stand knocked the stuffing out of Royal and Saleem even after losing his skipper defied the Royal bowlers in a spectacular display of concentration stubborn resistance and resolute defence which further added credence to the famed grit his alma-mater is the reputed four.

Saleem who ultimately fell for 165 off the bowling of part time spinner Kithruwan Vithanage being adjudged leg before wicket occupied the crease for 544 minutes and faced 426 deliveries while stroking fifteen boundaries.

If Faheem Saleem was the saviour for S. Thomas’ then the impact made by their 15-year-old wicket-keeper batsman Sachin Peiris (58) cannot be overlooked, as his effort was worth its weight in gold in the final analysis.

Sachin Peiris who came when the Thomians were placed at 6 for 285 put on 57 runs for the 7th wicket to keep Royal at bay with the help of senior partner Saleem.

The Thomian opener had also earlier added 53 runs for the fourth wicket with Chamod Pathirana who made sedate 22, and these vital partnerships put paid to Royal’s chances of restricting the opposition to a modest second innings total.

As stated earlier sloppy fielding overall where they gave lives’ to the two Thomian centurions (F. Saleem and R. Nirrushan) coupled with the lack of variety shown by the bowlers eventually dogged them from completing a victory which they at one stage were destined to achieve having piled up a massive first innings of 313 for 9 declared before bundling out their arch-rivals for a mere 99.

In the end set a challenging target of 198 to runs to clinch the contest off a maximum 21 overs, the lads from Reid Avenue started their second essay as if though they were on a mission of vengeance.

But an asking rate of 9.42 runs was always going to be tough for a schoolboy team let alone an international side, and Royal’s haste paid no dividends as they took the light of offered by the umpires with the total at 42 for 3 in 7 overs.

The game overall was keenly fought out for three days, but certain tactics of Royal when questioning the decisions of the two umpires (Deepal Gunawardena and Sarath Kumara) throughout the S. Thomas’ second innings was highly uncalled for.

Accepted that the umpires word is law and that is how this game is played and even some Royal stewards hurling insults and abuse at the two umpires when play was finally called off for bad light was unwarranted.

Royal who was fancied to win this match were more or less taught a lesson by the Thomians in that they should never count their chicken before they are hatched, as the glorious uncertainties of the game coupled with true S. Thomas’ College grit ensured the 130th ‘Battle of the Blues’ was consigned to a yet another tame draw.

As a result, of the Thomians having retained the D. S. Senanayake Shield, for a third successive year, their management have granted an official holiday for the students of the Mount Lavinia school, a member of the Royal-Thomian joint organising committee Mangala Gunasekera told ‘Sunday Observer’.

LakbimaNews Sunday, Mar 15, 2009

Thomian resolve kills Royal spirit

By Athula Wadigamangawa









Set a tough target of 198 to post an outright win off a maximum 21 overs in fading light, Royal took the gamble but found the going difficult after 7 overs and when offered the light by umpires they hesitantly were forced to take it at 42 for 3 as their 130th Battle of the Blues big-match against S. Thomas’ College, fizzled into a tame draw at SSC grounds yesterday.

At an asking rate of 9.42 runs per over Royal were trying to simply defy the odds stacked against them after seeing their chances of posting a certain win being blown away by S. Thomas’ thanks to the duo of opener and right-hander Faheem Saleem (165) and captain R Nirrushan (104) who both were involved in a match-saving and epic third wicket stand of 209 runs.

After being bowled out for a below-par 99, the lads from Mount Lavinia who conceded a first innings total of 313 for 9 to Royal were up against it from the word go in their second essay but the latter took things for granted and combined with a shoddy effort in the field, saw their chances of claiming a deserved outright victory recede in the end.

The Thomian opener Faheem Saleem ultimately turned out to be the saviour for his school with his majestic knock of 165 which made the difference between a Royal win and a loss for STC.

Saleem who resumed on an unbeaten 100, perished for 165 after being ruled out lbw off part-timer K Vithanage, having spent 544 minutes at the middle and faced 426 balls before hammering 15 fours, but by then he had done more than enough to put this three-day fixture well and truly out of Royal’s reach.
Saleem was also involved in two other solid and defiant partnerships - 53 runs for the fourth wicket with C Pathirana (22) and another 57 runs for the seventh wicket with debutant and 15-year-old wicket-keeper bat Sachin Peiris (58) to knock the daylights out of Royal.

Peiris, playing in his maiden big-match rose to the occasion when needed most as he faced 172 balls and stroked 5 boundaries giving invaluable support to his senior partner Faheem Saleem as Royal were denied from pulling off a famous win by that thing famed among them as Thomian grit.
For Royal experienced leg-spinner Haroon Mowjood impressed with figures of 3 for 57, but the rest were rendered ineffective as S. Thomas’ displayed their prowess with the bat on a placid SSC track after being shot out for a mere 99 in their second essay.

Royal’s behaviour on the whole left much to be desired especially their players putting undue pressure on the umpires when decisions did not went their way and it was not a healthy sign for the future of this much-talked about school.

Also Royal stewards hurling insults and abuse at the umpires at the end of the day’s play, was also not called for, and Royal should learn to take the adage to heart in cricket - that the umpires word will always remain law and they ought to take the good with the bad.

ISLAND - Mon Mar 16, 2009

130th Battle of the Blues
Saleem grit leads Thomians’ great escape