Chamari Athapaththu keen to play in Australian BBL this year | Sunday Observer

Chamari Athapaththu keen to play in Australian BBL this year

27 June, 2021

Chamari Athapaththu is one of the most talented women cricketers produced by Sri Lanka.

Within a short period of playing top grade cricket she made headlines in the media with her extraordinary talent.

That gave new responsibility as a representative in a new team in the Australian Big Bash League (BBL) that will be held in the near future. The Youth Observer discusses her new responsibilities and about her future plans.

Q: Chamari, you have been called by the Australian Big Bash organizers for the tournament that will be held this year. What are your new responsibilities?

A: Yes, the Big Bash organizers called me and asked if I would like to take part in the tournament this year. I told them I would like to participate this season. After the confirmation they announced I will be playing in the tournament this year.

Q: As Covid-19 is still raging around the world, do you believe you can travel to Australia to participate in the tournament?

A: I do not know about that. The health officials may enforce a travel ban at any time without notice. However, I told them that I was available.

Q: This means that the national side does not have any engagements during this period. Is this not so?

A: Yes. I do not have any responsibility with the national team during that period. That is the main reason I gave my consent to play in this edition of the Big Bash League. I love to participate in cricket tournaments all over the world when I don’t have to represent the national team.

Q: When is the Big Bash League due to be held?

A: It is due to be held in October this year. So, I wish to travel there in early October or the end of September.

Q: Do you know the structure of this tournament? How many teams will be participating this time?

A: Eight teams will be taking part this year and I signed the bond to represent the ‘Perth Scorchers’.This is the seventh edition of the tournament.

Q: How did you manage to be selected for the Big Bash T20 tournament?

A: I have played in this tournament twice before. The organisers may have seen my talent over the past decade and decided to invite me. This is a valuable opportunity for me to improve my skills.

Q: You are from the North Westren Province. Your cricketing journey has been very remarkable. Your comments?

A: My birth place is Gokarella in the Kurunegala district. I had my primary education at Gokarella MV and after I passed the grade five scholarship examination I moved to Ibagamuwa Central College. As a woman from outside Colombo I am very pleased with success in cricket.

Q: Is it true that none of your immediate family members had any influence in you taking up a cricketing career?

A: Yes. I am the only child in the family. No one influenced me to take up cricket.

Q: How did you enter this game in your school days?

A: An uncle of mine, Chandra Dissanayaka, former cricketer of St. Anthony’s College, Katugasthota who was a cricket coach inspired me to play cricket. He was my first cricket coach and I started practising under his advice. He taught me to play cricket on the cement floor. That was how I came to play the game.

Q: What was your experience at Ibbagamuwa Central College?

A: My school helped me to develop my skills. I was selected to play in the hard ball cricket team. Janaka Wijethunga aiyya was our coach. He also trained the boy’s team. However, at that time my father and mother were not happy about my playing cricket. But, my uncle changed their minds. That was the main reason I was able to come this far in my cricketing journey. After my parents changed their mind they were always with me.

Q: In 2007, while you were still a schoolgirl you played club cricket?

A: Yes, my talent was improving day-by-day and the Colts Cricket Club invited me to join them. That was my first opportunity to enter club cricket.

Q: What was the year you were selected to play for the national cricket team?

A: In 2008 I was called to the national pool and selected to play for the national team . But, my father passed away in the same year. That was a major loss in my life. After my father passed away I could not come for practices in Colombo. I trained under Wasantha Kumara sir in Kurunegala. Finally we formed a team and won the tier B championship. Then we were upgraded from tier B to A.

Q: Who helped you to sharpen your skills?

A: Jeewantha Kulathunga sir is the one who deserves that honour. He totally changed my game and my batting style, batting speed coupled with real techniques. This helped me improve my skills. I thank him for his contribution in my cricketing life.

Q: Is it correct to say that you are the woman player who has scored the most number of centuries for the national side?

A: Yes. I have scored five ODI centuries and one T20 century. I am the first player who scored a century for my country. I am very proud of it. I have also scored the highest number of runs in an ODI match - 178 runs.

Q: You are also the first woman cricketer to complete 1,000 runs in ODI and T 20 games for Sri Lanka?

A: Yes. I am very proud about it.

Q: In your cricketing career you played in a T 20 tournament in England, named KIA Super League in 2017/18. Wasn’t that the first invitation a Sri Lankan player ever got in the international arena?

A: Yes. I was the first. I am proud of it. I played for Yorkshire Diamond in that tournament. Then I had the chance to take part in the Big Bash League twice and the Super League in England. I have also participated in the Indian women’s Premier League also.

Q: Why did you sign up for a new team in the Big Bash League this year?

A: I love the Perth grounds and love to join that team. The other thing is that I have a lot of friends in Perth. If I get to play in the Big Bash League I hope to perform as well as I can.