Igalagamage comes close to grabbing elite slot | Sunday Observer

Igalagamage comes close to grabbing elite slot

20 September, 2020
Lahiru Igalagamage
Lahiru Igalagamage

Sri Lanka may have discovered a batsman that is just the kind of stroke-maker who can open the innings as a solid hitter of the ball and a mainstay at the crease in Test or ODI cricket in the form of Lahiru Igalagamage who bowed out as the leading run-maker in the inter club championships.

Representing NCC the right hand opening batsman Igalagamage became the highest individual scorer of the recently concluded Premier League Tier A club cricket tournament with 1039 runs in nine matches with an average of 86.58. This was a remarkable achievement for the lesser known 26-year old who has now been drafted into a preliminary 23-member squad for an upcoming home Test series against Bangladesh.

“My dream is to catch the eye of the National selectors to open the batting for my country in both Test and one day cricket,” said Igalagamage. “From the very start of the season I had good confidence to reach the 1000-run mark”.

Last season (2018-19) Igalagamage piled up 861 runs to be placed fifth among the highest run scores in this same tournament with a century and seven half centuries to his credit and this season he finished with a career-best 290 not out against Ragama CC which spoke wonders of his talent.

He even surpassed the established Test batsman Dinesh Chandimal who was pushed into second place with 1027 runs in the concluded championship. On his way to making 1039 runs Igalagamage plundered one double century, two hundreds and six fifties.

Igalagamage made his First Class debut in 2014 playing for NCC against CCC and fell two runs short of a half century taking the crease as a number three batsman on the occasion. In his 53 First Class matches played to-date he has 3401 runs with six centuries and 16 fifties.

Igalagamage is somewhat of a stranger playing against the big names in Colombo. Born in the village of Batuwanhena in Elpitiya in the district of Galle, he started his cricket career at Ananda Vidyalaya in the under-13 team and in the same year crossed over to St John’s College in Colombo’s downtown Nugegoda from where he rose in the ranks to the Under-19 First Eleven team.

He hammered three centuries playing in the Under-17 team that won the Championship from eight matches to be adjudged the Sunday Observer runner-up in the best batsman category among the outstation schools.

The turning point of the cricket career came when he enrolled at NCC to play in the Under-23 tournament with Duminda Perera as his coach.

His performances took him to membership in the senior team to play alongside Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella, Lasith Malinga and Angelo Perera.

He had a first taste of Sri Lanka cricket playing for the Emerging as well as the A team and his current performances in the domestic scene makes him a potential candidate to open the batting as the selectors have yet to find a suitable bet to partner Dimuth Karunaratne.