Late bloomer Pushpakumara turns a new leaf | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Late bloomer Pushpakumara turns a new leaf

Malinda  Pushpakumara
Malinda Pushpakumara

At the age of 31 none would have tipped spinner Malinda Pushpakumara to take all ten wickets in an innings in the domestic First Class inter club cricket tournament. He did exactly that last week taking all ten wickets in an innings against Saracens for his new club CCC in the Premier Tier A League championships.

“Taking all ten wickets in one innings is not an easy task but that was my dream come true,” said Malinda Pushpakumara the 31 year old leg spinner who is the most successful spinner so far in the current domestic cricket season.

Pushpakumara who won a maiden Test cap two years ago sees the monumental feat as a stepping stone to push ahead ahead further in his international career that has pitted him in only four home Test matches.

Pushpakumara is no stranger at domestic cricket and turned out for Chilaw Marians last year.

“Actually my game against Saracens was the first match for the new year and it brought me a good prize of ten wickets in a innings. My figures of 10 for 37 established a new domestic record beating the previous one of 10 for 41 by Promadya Wickramasinghe who played for SSC against Kalutara PCC in the 1992-93 season.

“I did not know about the record spell or had any thought that I could do such a thing. To beat Saracens we had to bowl them out and I was lucky to do that in under 19 overs with 10 wickets,” recalled Pushpakumara. He finished with a haul of 16 wickets in the match as CCC won outright. The only time Pushpakumara thought he could take all ten wickets was when he had nine under his belt.

“All credit should go to my CCC team mates. They made it happen and without them I would not have done it. So all these ten wickets are for them,” said Pushpakumara who also admits he came into contention very late in his career.

“I knew Rangana (Herath) had to wait a long time when Muralitharan was bowling for the national side and so did I have to wait as Rangana was around and this is the way with cricket.

“I am still new to the national side and have a long journey ahead. I know match practice is the best thing to build up bowling performances and I can now hope that I’ll get more opportunities in the Sri Lanka team,” said Pushpakumara who has just 14 Test wickets from four games.

He is a product of Lumbini College in Colombo where he learnt the basics of the game under coach Dinesh Weerasinghe.

Pushpakumara has so far taken 718 First Class wickets and received his big break into the Sri Lanka team after claiming 558 of them. He was a leading club wicket taker from 2012 to 2017.

His international idol is Australian spinner Nathan Lyon.