Pathum Nissanka, the lotus that bloomed in Kalutara | Sunday Observer

Pathum Nissanka, the lotus that bloomed in Kalutara

21 November, 2021

Kalutara was known as a ferry town in ancient times and the Kalutara Bodhiya is a popular place to visit for Buddhist pilgrims. In recent decades, Kalutara is well-known for producing good cricketers. Among them is Pathum Nissanka. The Youth Observer caught up with Nissanka’s father to discuss his son’s prowess in cricket.

His name means Hope in Sinhala. His father, Sunil Silva and mother, Nilanthi had given him that name to him two decades ago. At that time they wished their son would become a well-to-do person one day. But, they do not know what exactly would happen in the future.

Pathum’s father is a cricket groundsman in the Kalutara area. He introduced his son to his favourite sport, cricket in his younger days. “I believed that my son will pick up the game well and achieve greatness. Now he has done it by representing the country. I am so proud of it,” he said.

When he sent his son for cricket practises, he faced various negative comments about how cricket was an expensive game and not suited for a man like him. But, he never gave up his dream to groom his son to become a top cricketer.

“My son did well in his young days. I taught him what I knew of the basics. Then I sent him to train under Saluwadana sir. I enrolled my son at Kalutara Vidyalaya. At school he performed well in his age group cricket tournaments. I was keen to see that my son entered a popular Colombo school and I discussed this with a cricket stalwart in Kalutara who helped to enrol my son at Isipathana Vidyalaya in Colombo,” he said.

Flower shop

Pathum’s mother Nilanthi has a flower shop close to the Kalutara temple. She sells flowers to devotees who come to worship at the temple. When her son was young she used to pray to the Gods to guide him on the right path to improve the quality of their lives.

“While playing for Isipathana he scored a double century against President’s College, Rajagiriya, which was the turning point of his school cricket career and caught the eye of the cricket authorities and I was thrilled about it,” said Pathum’s father.

After that Pathum found success in his cricketing life.

“In the 2016-17 cricket season he was selected to play in the A Group matches conducted by Sri Lanka Cricket. At that time he was 17. It was a one-day tournament and he played for the Hambantota district. In that match he scored a half century as a middle-order batsman. 

Then in his debut with Kalutara Physical Culture Club cricket team he scored a half century.


“My son began to shine on the cricket field at that time. I had a feeling that one day he may represent the country. That did not take long to happen. As parents we were overjoyed when he was selected to the national team. To me a mere groundboy it was like a miracle,” said Sunil.

In the T20 tournament, in the 2017-18 season, Pathum represented Baduraliya Cricket Club. He played crucial innings in several international matches with the Sri Lanka A team and local matches that were conducted by Sri Lanka cricket.

In 2019 he played for the Sri Lanka A team against the Ireland A team and finished that tournament as a leading scorer. In the Premier League tournament in 2018-19 he completed a thousand runs playing for the NCC. However, the national selectors did not take note of his performance.

Some selectors believed he had spent more time in the local arena. However, the cricketing community questioned why he was not included in any of the national pools. Due to this pressure, the Selectors had to rethink about his talent and called him to the Sri Lanka national pool early this year. Then he was named as a member of the emerging cricket team and also took part in the South Asian Games in 2019 in Nepal and won a Silver medal.

Early this year Pathum toured the West Indies as a member of the Sri Lanka national team. In his Test debut, Pathum scored a century, becoming the first ever Sri Lankan player to score a century away from the country in his first match.

“Today, Pathum is building up his future as one of the most respected cricketers in our country. He is ready to face any world-class team. My son is not only my family treasure but a national treasure. He is a good team player, who respects the captain and other team members. My son is keen to perform better with the support of his teammates,” Pathum’s father said.