Dhananjaya Lakshan, Emerging Player of the LPL tournament | Sunday Observer

Dhananjaya Lakshan, Emerging Player of the LPL tournament

27 December, 2020

Dhananjaya Lakshan, a promising player in cricket came into the limelight by proving his talents, playing for the Galle Gladiators in the Lanka Premier League (LPL) cricket tournament worked out at the Suriyawewa Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Ground recently.

He was picked as the Emerging Player of the tournament.

The Youth Observer met him to find out his career began and the strengths of his cricket journey.

Q : Dhanajaya, you won the Emerging Player title in the LPL tournament. How do you feel about winning that award?

A : I am absolutely thrilled to win this award. It is like a dream come true. I do not have words to describe it.

Q : Were you planning to win this title before the tournament began?

A: No. I never planned to win this award. But I always tried to do my best in the tournament. When the tournament started I was a reserve player.

However, we lost our captain and team management decided to call me in as a regular player. That was the turning point of my cricket journey.

Q : In the semi-final match you performed like an experienced player. How did you do that? From where did you get that hidden power?

A: As a team we had won several matches in the first quarter of this tournament.

So, we did our best to keep our place in the tournament. As a team member, I had to prove my abilities. That was the secret behind my performance.

Q : Former Sri Lanka test cricket captain, Dinesh Chandimal has said that you are the best swing bowler and one of the most promising players in Sri Lanka. How do you feel about that commendation?

A: I am very happy. As a player I always try to generate my maximum talents.

During that semifinal match we played well. We did not think about the big names in cricket and concentrated on winning the match. I tried my level best to perform and I was lucky too.

Q : In the match against the Colombo Kings not only did you score 31 runs with one six and two fours, but also performed well with the ball taking two wickets for 27 runs. Could you describe the remarkable performances?

A: I was lucky to perform as an all-rounder in that match. That helped me to become the Man of the Match. It was like a miracle. I also bowled out Dinesh Chandimal which was also a victory for me.

Q : What do you have to say about your performance in the tournament?

A: I played seven matches and became second highest wicket taker in the tournament. But I did not score many runs. I collected only 77 runs in five innings.

Q : However, your strike rate is over hundred as a batsman. That is good for T20 cricket. What do you have to say?

A: Yes. My strike rate was 126.22 in the tournament. It is also a good rate for T20 matches. The team needs that playing style in T20 matches. I will try to improve on it.

Q : Dananjaya, where did you study?

A: I studied at Richmond College. That was where I began my cricketing life.

Q: Would you tell us something about your family?

A: My father, Piyal, is a businessman. My mother is Chandima. I have one sister.

Q: What attracted you to cricket?

A: My relatives were the reason. They used to play cricket and I saw their skills. This encouraged me to take up the game.

One day, my father met the master-in-charge of junior cricket at Richmond, Jayathilaka Sir to enable me to attend cricket practises.

However, the master had told my father to send me for practises after the Grade Five scholarship examination.

But my father was impatient and enrolled me at the Parga Cricket Academy. That was the beginning of my cricket.

Q: Who was your first cricket coach?

A: DanushkaDenagama was my first cricket coach. I took to cricket in 2009. As Danushka sir became Richmond coach, I too attended school cricket practises.

Q: Could you give us some details of the milestones you have achieved as a schoolboy cricketer?

A: I was the vice-captain of the under-13 team.

I represented the Galle district and Southern Province cricket teams in 2013, and participated in the Youth World Cup in 2018 and was lucky to perform well in that tournament.

Q: How do you qualify to enter the IPL tournament?

A: The Premier League under-23 cricket tournament was the reason. I performed well in that tournament and was called to play for the Galle Gladiators team.

Q: How did you win the place in the team?

A: During the tournament our team leader SahidAfridi went back to his country due to personal reasons. That was how I got a place in the team.

Q: Weren’t you apprehensive when you were notified about your selection?

A: No. Our coach Moin Khan, assistant coach Upulaiyya, Bhanukaaiyya, Danushkaaiya encouraged me.

Q: What do you have to say about your LPL experience?

A: Marvelous. In the semifinal match I played the best match of my life.

I took the wickets of Avishka Fernando, DashunShanaka, Samith Patel, Lorie Evens, Niroshan Dickwella, Seekuge Prassana, Irfan Pathan, Dinesh Chandimal, Thiksali de Silva, Jhonson Charles, Shoib Malik and Dananjaya de silva in the tournament.

That was the best experience in my cricketing life.

Q: To conclude the interview, do you have anything to say?

A: I have received much support to come this far in my journey. Even though I performed well in the LPL I have a long way to go. My mother, father and sister and several others are by side. I could not have this far without their support. My mother is with me all time like a shadow.