Breaking glass ceilings and achieving dreams | Sunday Observer

Breaking glass ceilings and achieving dreams

2 May, 2021

Young Kaveesha Dilhari coming from Rathgama, has proven not only to Sri Lanka but also to the rest of the world, just how much potential she possesses, through her impressive career as a cricketer. From becoming the youngest girl to play on the Sri Lankan national women’s cricket team to recently earning the title of ‘Best female school cricketer’

At the ‘42nd annual ‘Observer SLT-Mobitel School Cricketer of the Year’competition, this young and shining star has worked hard and created a path for herself that will undoubtedly lead to many more impressive accomplishments, accolades and titles that will make herself, her family and her country proud.

The inspiring young sportswoman spoke about her journey to making her dreams come true and what it took to do so in an inteview with the Youth Observer.

Q: At the 42nd annual Observer SLT-Mobitel Schools Cricket competition held this year; you earned the title of best female school cricketer. What does this title mean to you?

A: I am really glad about this and am humbled and am of course very proud of this accomplishment. This title and competition make me very glad that athletes are appreciated in this way.

Q: What can you tell me about how you worked towards achieving the title of best, female school cricketer for the year 2020?

A: I have always had a great amount of dedication to this sport. I trained very hard with a lot of enthusiasm and Mahesh sir who has helped me immensely was always behind me and gave me invaluable support to fulfill this aim of mine and reach the heights that I have reached within the field of cricket.

Q: Could you tell me a little bit about your journey to becoming the young yet accomplished cricketer you are today?

A: I first started playing cricket at the age of thirteen. After facing the ‘soft ball’ tournament, Nishantha Kumara who was in charge of sports at my school, encouraged me to try out for or get admitted to the school cricket team. Since then, I have been training under Mahesh sir who coaches our school’ team. As a result of my training and the experience I have gained regarding the sport, I have been able to win all the competitions held between the years 2015 and 2020. I have also had the incredible opportunity to join Sri Lanka’s national women’s cricket team as the youngest athlete to be accepted to the national team.

I have experienced so much and won many different competitions and accolades by playing this sport and for that I am immensely grateful to my school teachers, Ranjan sir, Chamila miss, Dinusha miss and everyone else in my life who have been helping me throughout my journey.

Q: Has playing the game of cricket always been a dream or goal of yours?

A: Yes, of course. I have always enjoyed the sport and had noticed that I have a talent for the sport. Also, from the time I started playing cricket, my ultimate goal and dream has been to represent my country by playing in the national cricket team. I am extremely happy that I was able to achieve this dream.

Q: What can you tell me about how you practiced and the work you put in to achieve what you have achieved on the field?

A: Everything I have achieved has included a lot of hard work and tiring days spent practicing. I was constantly training. I was constantly being pushed by Mahesh sir to practice and reach my full potential as a sportswoman. I entered and played in many competitions and I gained experience through these competitions and identified and corrected my shortcomings and mistakes. As it would be for anyone else in any other field, this experience and personal improvement helped me immensely to face other competitions successfully and achieve everything I have achieved so far.

Q: Do you have a role model to whom you look up to with regard to the sport?

A: Yes, my role models in the field of cricket are also my favourite players; Virat Kohli and Nathan Lyon. I always watch the matches they play in and learn the way they play the game. I gain a lot of knowledge and many valuable lessons by watching them play cricket.

Q: Was there anyone specific who inspired you to enter this field and play the game?

A: Yes. I drew inspiration from my family. My mother, father, ayya, akka and my aunt Chandrani all encouraged me greatly to pursue the game of cricket and to follow my dreams of playing the game and someday proudly representing my country at international tournaments. My family has always been a huge pillar of strength and support to me and without them I would not have been able to achieve all the things that I have so far.

Q: As you mentioned, you have also had the great opportunity to play on the Sri Lanka National women’s cricket team. What competitions have you had the great opportunity of representing our country at as a young cricketer, so far?

A: Since the time I was accepted to the Sri Lankan National women’s cricket team, I have participated in a number of international cricket tournaments. Some of which I can list as the Sri Lanka vs Pakistan cricket tournament, the Sri Lanka vs India cricket tournament and the Cricket World Cup all held in the year 2018. Afterwards, I went on to represent Sri Lanka at the cricket tournament Sri Lanka played against South Africa in the year 2019. During the year 2019, I also participated in the Asia Cup cricket tournament and the South Asian Games cricket tournament. I also had the opportunity to participate in the Australian Cricket World Cup in 2020.

Q: As a young schoolgirl, representing your country on the international cricket field is a major responsibility, what would you say this responsibility means to you and how have you handled the responsibility?

A: As a young person, just entering the world is a great responsibility. Taking on the responsibility of representing my country at international tournaments against many different people from other countries is something that I consider to be a major responsibility in my life right now. However, I am determined to try my best, work hard, keep practicing and playing and eventually bring the title of ‘World Cup Champions’ to Sri Lanka in the future. I will do my best to achieve this through commitment and the great passion that I have for this sport.

Q: You are a perfect example of how not only young people but young women and girls can reach the same heights as boys and men and can accomplish great things. What are your thoughts on women in the field of sports and women achieving their dreams and goals?

A: I believe that there is no limit to what a woman or a girl can achieve. A woman in any field is capable of and has the potential to achieve great heights just like any man or boy within that field. However, to do so one must always perform with enthusiasm and should never be lazy or afraid to work hard at anything. Irrespective of gender or any other differences that we may have, one must think about one’s purpose and believe in one’s potential. Only then can anyone achieve what he or she dreams of achieving.

Q: When competing at international competitions or even in competitions in Sri Lanka, have you faced any biases, discrimination or unfair treatment due to your gender or any other reasons? If so, how did you handle and overcome them?

A: So far in my career as a cricketer or a sportswoman, I have not experienced any biases or discrimination that has burdened my performance or kept me from reaching my goals.

Q: What are the main lessons you would say that you have learnt through your time as a cricketer?

A: The main lessons I have learnt so far through my career as a cricketer are the lessons of how to be patient, stay calm and keep moving towards victory.

Q: What would you say are the main traits that you possess which help you play the game so well?

A: believe that my personal traits of determination, commitment and patience have helped me greatly in general. Moreover, my ability to unite with my teammates and the other people that I play the game alongside of and the team spirit that I have within me have really helped me come this far as a sportswoman.

Q: As a young sportswoman, what would you say are the essential characteristics or life factors to balance the life of a coloured sportsman or sportswoman and a young school boy or girl?

A: In my opinion, anyone who wishes to excel in the field of sports has to be able to stay patient, commit to what one does, make the right decisions, respect each other and play the game with a humble attitude. These qualities will not only help one excel in a sport or any other field, but will improve the person one is and will thereby make it easier for one to handle and balance the life of a young school boy or girl and the life of a coloured sportsman or sportswoman.

Q: Are there any specific teams or people that you want to play against someday? If so, who are they?

A: Yes. With regard to countries, I hope someday I get the chance to play against the cricket teams of Australia, New Zealand, England and India. Regarding people I wish to play with someday, I really hope I get the opportunity to play against or meet and learn from great players such as, Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry, Harmanpreet Kaur, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Suzie Bates, Danielle Wyatte, Natalie Sciver and Tamsin Beaumont.

Q: What do you hope to achieve in the future with regard to your career as a cricketer?

A: With regard to my career as a cricketer, I hope to become the best all-rounder in the world, in the future.

Q: You are a young and exemplary role model to many other young Sri Lankan girls and boys who wish to play the sport the way you do. What advice can you offer them on how to excel in the sport, balance the life of a young person and achieve one’s dreams and goals?

A: It is definitely not easy or simple to achieve great heights or one’s dreams and goals as a young person while also balancing the rest of your life. However, it is not impossible. To be able to balance life as a young person but also reach the heights you want to or dream to, you need to respect those who teach you the valuable lessons in life and move forward with determination, dedication and a great amount of effort.