Pathum Nissanka and the new cricket record | Sunday Observer

Pathum Nissanka and the new cricket record

26 June, 2022

The Sri Lankan cricket team’s victory last week brought some joy to the minds of Sri Lankans in the midst of many economic problems.

Sri Lanka beat Australia on June 19 at the Colombo R. Premadasa Stadium, by six wickets where Pathum Nissanka scored his maiden ODI century with 137 off 147 balls.

It was the highest score by a Sri Lankan batsman in an ODI against Australia, breaking the 2003 record of 122 set by Sanath Jayasuriya in Sydney. Pathum Nissanka is the third Sri Lankan batsman to score a century in a chase against Australia after veterans Kumar Sangakkara and Aravinda de Silva.

“If you want to make your dreams come true, then dream” said India’s 11th President Dr.Abdul Kalam who was also a world recognised scientist and author. He proved what he said by example. Pathum Nissanka too is a similar character. He has dedicated himself to achieving his dreams.

Pathum Nissanka was born on May 18, 1998. His parents are Sunil and Nilanthi. Pathum has an elder sister.

Since his childhood he has been seeing the Kalutara Bodhi Tree, which grew from a sapling from the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura. The sacred ground of the Kalutara Bodhi was a great blessing not only to Pathum but also to his parents and sister.

Although Sunil was a cricket enthusiast from his school days destiny prevented him from realising his dream. Starting as a member of the stadium support staff he became a coach through efficiency and dedication. The birth of Pathum helped him to revive his dream.

First to identify

“My son showed signs of becoming a good cricketer. He preferred the bat and ball to other toys since his childhood. When I trained him to hold the bat he was only two years old. The first to identify him as a budding cricketer was the then cricket coach of Kalahari Vidyalaya, Sunil Saluwadana. It was the latter who got my son admitted to the Kalutara Vidyalaya.”

Kalutara Vidyalaya is well known for leading cricketers such as Dulip Liyanage, Jayantha Silva, Tilakaratne Dilshan, Milinda Siriwardane and Malinda Bandara.

Former Cricketing coach Sunil Saluwadana said:

“It was not we who coached Pathum first but it was his father. I saw it at that time. Having seen Pathum’s talents I got his father to admit him to the Kalutara Vidyalaya. Even when he was playing for the under 13 team he was no different from those senior to him. I am not surprised about his victories. I am very happy for him. I saw his future at a young age. He set an example to other children by his perseverance.”

Day by day Pathum’s cricketing talents became known to other schools. Isipthana Vidyalaya’s cricket coach Pradeep Nishantha, said:

“Having come to know about Pathum I went to meet him and suggested that he join Isipathana Vidyalaya. The application to get him admitted to Isipathana was taken by Jayathu Nilaweera, currently a coach in the Matara District, then my assistant coach. The application was filled after entering the Kalutara Bodhi premises since it was a rainy day.”

“Pathum scored 100 runs in the first match for Isipathana College Under-17 against St. John’s College. In the second round Isipathana played against Kalutara College. Still Pathum loves both Isipathana and Kalutara Vidyalaya. He never forgets his beginnings”

“Pathum was also lucky to be the top scorer in Isipathana with an unbeaten 205 off 190 balls against President’s College, Rajagiriya at the Schools Cricket Championship.

“He is an unassuming person and prefers a quiet life. He is not that interested in social media. Instead he prefers to do charity work and engage in religious activity. However as a coach I prefer if he became a test cricketer”

It was his parents who have been a source of strength to him, especially his father Sunil Silva. In a society where many fathers want to make their sons kings, Sunil is happy that Pathum became a useful citizen to the land of his birth. .

“My son has great confidence in the Dhamma. He worships miniature models of the Sri Maha Bodhi and Ruwanweli Stupa at home. Wherever he goes he takes a small Buddha statue with him. We believe his religious convictions have helped him to face challenges in life”.

“After he returned from the South African tour in 2018 he helped to build the village temple chaitya. After returning from every tour he contributed money to charity and to the temple. During the Covid-19 pandemic he distributed groceries to about 50 households”.

Says Pathum’s mother said:

“Pathum still gets me to feed him as a little child would. He always wants me to keep the Buddha lamp lit until he finishes playing and returns home”.