Lion-hearted all-rounder from Rathgama | Sunday Observer

Lion-hearted all-rounder from Rathgama

All-rounder Umesha Thimeshani of Devapathiraja College, Rathgama is aiming for the skies after becoming the inaugural recipient of Schoolgirl Cricketer of the Year 2019 award at the 41st Observer-Mobitel School Cricketer Awards ceremony which took place on September 20 at a gala ceremony at Hilton Colombo.

Captain of the champion girls team Devapathiraja College this season, the 18-year-old hard-hitting batswoman and off-spin bowler represents the future of Sri Lanka women’s cricket.

Umesha has already gained national recognition being selected to represent Sri Lanka for their series against South Africa earlier this year, being the youngest member of the squad. She made her Women's Twenty20 International cricket debut for Sri Lanka against South Africa Women on February 1, 2019 and her Women's One Day International cricket debut for Sri Lanka, also against South Africa Women, on February 11, 2019.

“I am very happy to get an award. This is the first time I got an award like this. It is a very happy day for me to become the first ever Schoolgirl Cricketer of the Year,” said Umesha.

Having also bagged the Best Batswoman runner-up award, Umesha is dreaming of more glory.

“My ambition is to bring the World Cup to Sri Lanka,” said the teenage cricket star whose love for the sport knows no bounds.

She got hooked onto the game while watching it on television before venturing out to play softball cricket with boys in her neighbourhood.

“I first watched matches on TV. Thereafter, I used to play cricket on the road in front of our house. Then I started playing softball cricket with my friends in the neighbourhood. I got a liking to the game after that,” said Umesha, who raised her hand when Nishantha Kumara, a school teacher of Devapathiraja, signed up girls who were interested in playing cricket to form a school team.

“When Nishantha Sir selected a side, I grabbed the opportunity to play for my school. I have been playing leather ball cricket since 2014,” said Umesha. And the rest is history as she became a vital cog in Devapathiraja’s dominance in schoolgirl cricket leading them to become champions.

Nishantha described her as a hard-hitting batsman who can go a long way.

Ranjan Lasath and Mahesh Sandaruwan have moulded the uncut gem Umesha into a fine cricketer. She is passionate about the game and has an air of confidence unlike ordinary players.

Umesha Thimeshani is destined to go places in the world of cricket inspired by the Observer-Mobitel Schoolgirl Cricketer of the Year 2019 award.

“I must thank the organizers for conducting an event like this and more importantly recognizing the talents of schoolgirls playing cricket,” said Umesha, the lion-hearted cricketer from down south hailing from Rathgama in Galle.

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