Mercantile cricket tourney’s best player Sachith Pathirana eyes berth in 2011 World Cup squad

There’s one thing that differentiates Sri Lankan national cricket selectors from the rest of the world – the lack of foresight to say the least which could be attributed to national team’s inconsistent performance during the last several months.

The absence of a clear cut selection policy has in many instances not only dragged the game into pathetic levels but also permanently halted careers of many promising cricketers.

When New Zealander Tim Southee beat Sri Lanka’s Sachith Pathirana for the Man of the Series award at last year’s Under 19 World Cup held in Malaysia, the New Zealand selectors having closely monitored the immense talent of the youngster promptly handed Southee his Test and ODI debut against England.

He was just 19 then and returned impressive figures of 5 for 55 before smashing a 77 off 40 balls to hint at a bright all round future. The story was no different to Australia’s Phillip Hughes, an opening batsman who has stamped his class at the world stage with back to back centuries on his debut series against South Africa, having called to don the national jersey at 20.

But the story is quit different to our own Pathirana, a cricketer who does not need any introduction as the former Trinity College cricketer has made it clear that he is one cut above the rest during his early cricketing career.

But why is he not considered for at least the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team one wonders. let alone the national senior team and when asked Pathirana, nick-named ‘Kandyan Butcher’ for his hard hitting batting approach, said that he is anxiously waiting for that moment.

A versatile cricketer, who has a reputation of hitting the ball hard and an astute left arm orthodox spinner, Pathirana says that the selectors may call him no sooner than later to don the national jersey for he has proved a cricketer par excellence.

“It could be at any moment. I have been playing very good cricket, be it a bowler or a batsman and it’s now lies with the selectors,” said Pathirana with full of optimism.

A vastly experienced youth player, Pathirana has played in the Sri Lanka junior team for nearly four years, having come up through various ranks at school and Sri Lanka junior levels and has proved that he is ready to take up the challenge if called for duty at the highest level.

Pathirana made his first class debut for Colombo Cricket Club last season and since then has made his mark in the domestic league as an all rounder of class and also represents the Kadurata team at the Inter-provincial cricket tournament.

Trained under Roger Wijesuriya, the Sri Lanka Under 19 coach, Pathirana was adjudged the man of the series at the recent Mercantile Cricket tournament, a testimony for his credentials.

Pathirana says the next two to three years will be crucial in his cricketing career as he hopes to be among the final squad for next World Cup team to be held in the sub-continent.

“If all goes well, I think I would be one among those who play in the World Cup,” said Pathirana also nick-named Podda.

A left hand batsman who can hit the ball to all corners of the ground with immense power and a slow left-arm orthodox bowler who could terrify batsmen with his varied deliveries, he says he is a big fan of New Zealand’s skipper and all rounder Daniel Vettori.

“You can hardly find left arm spinners of his class and he has certainly proved himself a top all rounder. I am a big fan of him and try to follow him too,” he said.

As a junior cricketer he has taken part in twelve overseas tours and rates the Youth World Cup as highpoint in his early cricketing career where he was a front-runner for the Man of the Series award having scored 231 runs and taken ten wickets in the tournament.

The left hander has also received wide accolades from seniors who have said that Pathirana was a cricketer with a big and bright future.

In an exclusive interview with LAKBIMANEWS during the Under 19 World Cup former Sri Lanka cricketer and Nepal’s coach Roy Dias suggested that players like Pathirana should be protected as they have a lot of potential.

They should be soon introduced to top teams like the Development Squad or ‘A’ team, he suggested.

If all goes well, Pathirana would be the next Trinitian after Kumar Sangakkara, one of her many cricketing heroes, to wear the national jersey. And Pathirana is working hard to realise one of his childhood dreams.

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