Talented cricketers are often identified in their teens but some just don’t have luck in their favor to go all the way to the top of the ladder. When a country has a large cricket crazy community, one just needs an element of luck to play international cricket.
Unlike in India, it’s comparatively easier for youngsters to get through the initial phase especially because school cricket plays a major role by subjecting the best here in Sri Lanka. However, the rest is in the individual’s hand as luck often tends to tease but doesn’t get the job done.
We have the names of three mature local cricketers who made it ever so close to their debut but ran luckless in dying moments. Namely, the three talented cricketers are Malinda Pushpakumara, Roshen Silva, and Harsha Cooray. All three of them are still fighting for a place in the national side.
Pushpakumara is one of the country’s finest left-arm spinners, especially at the premier league tournament in the past decade. He was the league’s top wicket taker in 2012-13 and 2014-15. Pushpakumara claimed 77 wickets at an average of 13.79 in the 2016/17 season for his side.
Pushpakumara represented Sri Lanka in the U15 and U19 level in his teens. After graduating from Lumbini College Colombo, he played cricket for the Moors, Saracens and Singha sports club. He even made it to the Sri Lanka A side on a regular basis.
Last month, 30-year-old Pushpakumara was finally picked to play against Bangladesh in the two match test series.
“Slow left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara has been included in the test squad. Pushpakumara first represented the Sri Lanka A team in 2012 when he faced South Africa and Zimbabwe during a triangular tournament and made an appearance for the Sri Lanka A team in 2015 against Pakistan,” said the circulated SLC press release.
However, Rangana Herath and Dilruwan Perera’s selection forced Pushpakumara out of the first eleven.
Like Malinda Pushpakumara, Roshen Silva is also closing in on his thirties with no sign of a debut in the recent past. In over a ton of first class games, Silva has 6265 runs with an impressive high score of 225 not out. In his early teens, Silva moved from Ragama Basilica College to St. Joseph’s College to pursue with his career in cricket.
He represented Sri Lanka in the Under 19 world cup in 2008. He learned his cricket alongside skipper Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera but didn’t have the luck to get to their standard.
After graduating from school, Roshen Silva played for Basnahira North, Colts Cricket Club, Prime Doleshwar Sporting Club, Ragama Cricket Club, Singha Sports Club, Sri Lanka A, Sri Lanka Board XI and Sri Lanka Cricket Development XI.
Silva is still hopeful and tends to remind himself that an opportunity is around the corner.
“I have a lot of patience. I always believe that my opportunity is around the corner. There are lots of such examples in the world where people got their opportunity rather late. Dilruwan and Milinda also got their opportunities late in their careers. Rangana Herath had to go under the radar until Murali retires. I keep scoring as many runs as I can for my club. So I will never give up and keep knocking at the door,” he said. (Ceylon Today).
Comparatively, Harsha Cooray (33) is way older than Roshen Silva and Malinda Pushpakumara. He has over 5000 runs and 7 wickets in his first-class career.
After graduating from Lumbini College, Harsha has played for the Chilaw Marians, Saracens Sports Club, and Sri Lanka Cricket Development XI. Considering his age, Harsha could be the unlikeliest to make a debut but he has been in blistering form in the ongoing SLC’s Super Provincial Limited Over Tournament.
Harsha has accumulated over 200 runs in three games for Dambulla in the tournament. If he continues to succeed, he might just have an outside chance to make it to the ICC Champions Trophy in June.
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