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Hooked on cricket

17 June, 2018
Sri Lanka women’s captain Shashikala Siriwardena presents Kaveesha Dilhari (right) with her cap (Pix courtesy papare)
Sri Lanka women’s captain Shashikala Siriwardena presents Kaveesha Dilhari (right) with her cap (Pix courtesy papare)

Girls from Devapathiraja College in Ratgama, Galle became unsung heroes this year when they emerged as the inter school girls cricket tournament champions with a team of extremely talented hopefuls.

One of the promising stars of the school, Kaveesha Dilhara, is already part of the Sri Lanka team playing as an off spinner.

“I love cricket from my childhood but I didn’t play cricket at home. I only got the opportunity at my school when I played at the school sports meet at the age of 12”, said Kaveesha.

Living by the coast, she’s the daughter of a fish vendor father while her sister is a Montessori teacher and brother serves in the army.

“It was my father’s wish that I represent the Sri Lanka team and I have done just that playing for my country”, recalled Kaveesha.

Her break came in March this year when she was picked to play for Sri Lanka against Pakistan in a home series.

Kaveesha contends she is also fortunate to come from a mixed school where she claims the boys in it are protective and encouraging.

“I think there is now a clear pathway for girls to play cricket at all levels and this will unearth new talent for the Sri Lanka team.

“I can proudly say that from our school alone eight girls including me were selected by Sri Lanka Cricket, three of them for the Development Squad, three for the Emerging Squad while I and Sathya Sanjeewani got into the National pool”, said Kaveesha.

She nudged Sri Lanka Cricket selectors by scoring a monumental 353 runs against Dharmapala College in Kottawa in a 25-over match. It was her most unforgettable moment that added to her 23 wickets claimed during the season.

Her role models are Indian icon Virat Kohil and Australia’s spin bowler Nathan Lyon while her favourite women’s cricketer is Harmanpreet Kaur from India.

Kaveesha will always have praise for her coach Mahesh Sandaruwan who she says is a “good mentor” along with master-in-charge and live-wire Nishantha Kumar who has been her guide from an early age.

The humanitarian organisation called the Foundation of Goodness spearheaded by former First Class cricketer Kushil Gunasekera has also provided a big hand to Kaveesha and her school along with the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association.

“I can only wish that more girls be involved not just in cricket but in any sport for the good of the country”, said Kaveesha

She will be one of three girls who will be felicitated and rewarded at the Mobitel Sunday Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year awards ceremony in July.