Matheesha Pathirana follows in Malinga’s footsteps | Sunday Observer

Matheesha Pathirana follows in Malinga’s footsteps

29 May, 2022

Young cricketer Matheesha Pathirana grabbed the attention of cricket lovers pretty fast. After playing in the Indian Premier League the whole cricket world began to talk about his achievements.

The Youth Observer met his father Anura Pathirana recently to discuss his son’s prowess in cricket.

“We are a small average family living in the upcountry. Our hometown Harispathuwa, is a calm area on the banks of Mahaweli River. Matheesa is the youngest of my three children. The other two are girls, said the father of new cricketing star Matheesha Pathirana who performed well in the Indian Premier League 2022.

Matheesha’s sudden popularity has not made any changes to his father.

“I am a businessman and our family lives in harmony with the neighbours. My son Matheesa started playing cricket when he was a toddler. He loved to play cricket even before he went to the nursery.

“He regularly waited for me to come home after work to play. He used to give me a bat or a ball and ask me to play with him and I was only too happy to play with him.

“Although I thought he would go a long way in his cricket journey I never thought he would be selected to play international matches.

“Before being selected to play for the Sri Lanka national team he played in various tournaments around the world. My family, myself and my close friends and relations are very proud about his achievements,” Pathirana Snr said.

The Pathirana family who live in Katugastota are deeply attached to the temple. They understand the power of religion to balance a person’s body and mind.

“My son is a devoted Buddhist who attended Daham pasal in his childhood. As a family we observe Sil and participate in most religious programs held in our village temple. I think religion helps to develop a person’s mind. You may be a Buddhist, Christian, Islamic or anything else but if you follow the teachings of the leader of your religion it will help you to face life’s journey,” he said.

The young Sri Lanka pace bowler Matheesha Pathirana is known for his unique bowling action, which is very similar to the legendary pacee Lasith Malinga.

“We too heard that his bowling action is similar to that of Malinga’s. But he has not copied it. He used to bowl like that when he started to play cricket. Rigorous training helped him improve his bowling skills.

“Ranabima Royal College was his first school and he began to play cricket there. While at school he was also involved in baseball. That may have helped to develop his bowling action,” he said.

‘’In early days Matheesha was the opening bowler and batsman in the school team. His coaches were of the view that was a very talented player and that he had a bright future in cricket. During his school days he was selected to play for the Kandy district school team. That was the time he came to the attention of upcountry cricket fans.

“He then joined the Kettarama fast bowling academy. It helped to sharpen my son’s abilities. Chamila Gamage and several coaches helped him to improve his bowling. Then he got a chance to represent the Sri Lanka under-19 cricket team twice while in school. It helped him to develop his skills as a young player in the international arena,” Matheesha’s father said.

“At the time my son was undergoing training at the Kettarama, Sri Lanka Cricket’s then fast bowling coach Chaminda Vaas met me. He offers to put him into a Colombo school to develop Matheesha’s cricket.

“But, we did not like the idea of our son being in Colombo away from the family. At that time we made several attempts to get into St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota, but were not successful.

“But, Trinity College invited my son to join their school. So after sitting for the GCE OL he joined the school, explained Anura Pathirana on how he came to join Trinity College.

Matheesha is fondly called the ‘Next Malinga’ in cricketing circles as his bowling action resembles the former pace maestro.

“Danilel Morisson, the former New Zealand fast bowler is the one who said that first. A lot of commentators praise our son’s bowling skills. His slinging action and very clever slow bowling. I am very proud of him. Not only me, his mother, sisters, and friends in our neighbourhood are also happy about his achievements.

“I also heard that legendary Indian cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni had said that my son is the next Malinga. It is a very flattering statement to hear as a father. My son told me that the players he met during Indian Premier League matches were very helpful. West Indian ace of cricket Dwaine Bravo taught him how to release the slow ball gently.’’

“Other than cricket my son is a good piano player and singer. He completed up to grade six in the Royal College of Music examinations. His eldest sister is an accomplished piano player holding a diploma, while the second sister is a guitarist.

“Our whole family is involved in music. I also played in a band in my youth. His mother was a rhythm guitarist in the ‘Salalihiniyo’ band a few decades ago.

“My late brother Saman Pathirana was keen to build my son’s cricket career. When Matheesha was a boy he used to tell him to become a good cricketer one day and that if he did not have money to spend for cricket that he would help out and not to give up the game.

“Unfortunately, my brother passed away some time ago and he was unable to see Matheesha rise to glory,” his father said.

(Special thanks to the netball coach of Pushpamali Balika Vidyalaya Kandy, Mrs. Manjula Jayasinghe for helping to conduct this interview)