Nuwanidu Fernando: A prized catch for any team | Sunday Observer

Nuwanidu Fernando: A prized catch for any team

4 December, 2022

Many athletes naturally excel at their sport and their potential always backs them up. The role of a batsman is challenging in all variations of cricket. Even though it’s a game of bat and ball, in cricket, it is highly unusual for a batter to reach five centuries and three half-centuries in one tournament. In all of cricket, just a small number of these occurrences have been observed and reported.

Nuwanidu Fernando is a rare breed who has set record after record in the past few months, especially in the Major League tournament 2022. Training his mind and spirit for the game since he was studying in grade six at St. Sebastian College, Moratuwa, Nuwanidu, has made his family, school and coaches proud throughout his cricket journey.

Nuwanidu will never forget the role played by his school coaches, Kalpa Fernando, Rashan Pieris, Nalin Wijesinghe, Imal Boteju, Sumith Fernando, Mohan Chinthaka, and Tharanga Fernando who moulded him into a skilled cricketer. Nuwanidu was adjudged the best player and batsman in 2017 for his performances that made his school a competitive force. As a right-hand batsman in the 2018-2019 Big Match against Prince of Wales College, Nuwanidu scored 102 and took a hat-trick as a right-arm off-spinner. In the same year, he was awarded the best cricketer’s prize.

Having made his List A debut for the Singhalese Sports Club in the 2019–20 Invitation Limited Overs Tournament, Nuwanidu’s consistent performances stood out. Thilina Kandamby coached him from 2019 to 2021 followed by Saman Jayantha in 2022 along with assistant coach Vimukthi Deshapriya. In December 2017, Nuwanidu was selected to Sri Lanka’s Under-19 Cricket World Cup squad and with 195 runs in five matches he was Sri Lanka’s best run-scorer in the 2018 Under-19 Asia Cup.

The trophy shelf in Nuwanidu’s room is undoubtedly running out of space. In the first season of the Lanka Premier League (LPL), which began in October 2020, he was selected by the Jaffna Stallions. After a long time since 2005, the Singhalese Sports Club in March 2021 won the 2020/21 SLC Twenty20 Tournament with the support of Nuwanidu’s excellent batting performance. He was selected to play for the SLC Greys in the 2021 SLC Invitational T20 League event in August 2021. At the player selection for the 2021 LPL held in November, the Dambulla Giants bagged him.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) included him in the Emerging Team’s tour party to England in April 2022 and soon after in the following month he was named in Sri Lanka’s T-20 team for the series against Australia. His hunger for the game made him the 2022 National Super League Best Batsman and then came the icing on the cake in 2022 when he scored five centuries and three half-centuries in the Major League Tournament.

“First my mother and father inspired me the most to play cricket. Now my family and close friends inspire me to strive harder,” said the rising star of Sri Lankan cricket.

Nuwanidu’s brother, Vishwa Fernando, also a Sri Lanka cricketer, has been the biggest cheerleader of his cricket journey to greater heights.

When asked what keeps him motivated in his work, Nuwanidu replied: “We should challenge the obstacles of life. That’s what makes you stronger to face any hurdle”.

Considering his unique style in the game and the long way he has come in his cricket journey, it is inevitable that in the near future, Sri Lankan cricket fans will be cheering his name as he pursues his ultimate goal of becoming a Test and white ball cricketer.

(The writer is Media and PR Executive of SSC)