Fastest village bowler finds a slot at top club | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Fastest village bowler finds a slot at top club

27 October, 2019
Eshan Malinga
Eshan Malinga

Prize-winning uncapped fast bowler Eshan Malinga who was the fastest at the Airtel competition had his initial dreams come true as he was been picked to play for CCC in the under-23 tournament.

“I never expected to play for a leading club in Colombo and very thankful to Airtel Fastest bowling program as it has made my dreams come true,” said the under-19 Eshan.

This is a big step for more things to come for someone who went to a school called Vidyakara MV in Opanayake in the Ratnapura district where no cricket is played. However, after the GCE O/L exam he crossed over to Seewali MV in Ratnapura last year where he had the opportunity to play cricket.

It was former national fast bowling coach Anusha Samaranayake who was busy with the Airtel Fastest bowling program and spotted Eshan’s talent. At first Eshan’s speed was 127 kmph but after following the program it improved tremendously to 141 kmph.

The current fast bowling coach of the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team Chamila Gamage also offered encouragement to Eshan. According to Eshan, these two coaches gave him good instructions to develop his speed but never changed his style.

Eshan is a bright student too as he had obtained eight As and a C at the O/L examination and joined Seewali MV to do higher studies and play cricket.

Earlier, he played Division Three cricket for Chance SC and met Gihan Weerasinghe the president of Ratnapura District Cricket Association who promised Eshan to enlist him at a club in Colombo. Incidentally, winning the fastest bowler award was a big bonus and a big step towards developing his career.

“After the sixth round I got my confidence and had increased my speed to past 140 kmph.

The coach at CCC Tharanga Dhammika also guided me very well. I also got a chance to practice with Camila at the MAX Cricket Academy at Khettarama. My bowling speed is much improved bowling on turf pitches,” said Eshan.

So far Eshan has played in three U-23 matches and captured two wickets for 14 runs off nine overs against Negombo CC, while the other matches were washed off.

“I was lucky to meet my mentor Lasith Malinga who told me to practice well but not to do many things,” said Eshan.

While playing for Seewali MV Eshan claimed 42 wickets during a schools season and captured a match bag of eleven wickets in the big match against Gankanda MV that earned him the man of the match award.

He was also lucky to get the opportunity to bowl at the Sri Lanka batsmen during the one-day series against Bangladesh. His father Jayalath Dharmasena, who is an auto-rickshaw driver and mother WV Rasangika who manages a small shop encourages Eshan to continue with cricket.

He received Rs.500,000 in prize money for being the Fastest at the bowling project and a few donors also helped him to continue with cricket.

“My present coach has advised me on how to prevent injuries and maintain physical fitness. All facilities are available at CCC which is a big advantage for me. But I know that I have a long journey ahead and this is only the beginning,” said Eshan.