Roy Silva, the first Sri Lankan to play for the US cricket team | Sunday Observer

Roy Silva, the first Sri Lankan to play for the US cricket team

8 August, 2021

Roy Silva has represented the national cricket team of the United States of America (USA) and performed well. The Youth Observer caught up with him to discuss his cricket career.

Q; You have represented the United State cricket team. Are you retired now?

A: No, I have not retired. But my age is building barriers to my playing cricket for the USA national team.

Q: So what is the latest news regarding your cricketing activities?

A: Cricket is a part of my life. These days I am trying to play in the USA minor league cricket tournament. I hope to perform well and move on to League tournaments.

Q: How did the doors open for you to play cricket for the USA national team?

A: My wife is the main reason. She gave me that opportunity. After I saw that path I followed it well. I am glad I followed that path and thank her for it.

Q: How did you get the chance to play cricket overseas?

A: In 2004, I was planning to travel to England to play league cricket and for Economic studies as well. However, I got a chance to play league cricket in Australia.

Q: When did you begin to play cricket in England?

A: In 2008, Ruwin Peris helped to travel to England and play in the Lancashire league. I played for Accrington Cricket Club, a 178 year old club. I was the first cricketer from Sri Lanka to play for that club. I was with them for three seasons, until 2010.

Q: You then moved to Ireland to play cricket?

A: Yes, I had a chance to play in Ireland from 2011 to 2014. In 2011, I scored a double century in a one-day match.

Q: A double century in a one-day match is a milestone in any cricketer's life. Could you give some details regarding your feat?

A: Yes it was a milestone indeed. I scored it in 72 balls and remained not out. I stamped my name in Irish first class cricket history.

I scored 295 runs in 91 balls. I had 34 sixers and 11 fours. I also hit six sixes in one over.

Q: How did you shift to the USA?

A: My wife Wathsala Ediriweera is the reason. Wathsala was living in the USA and I met her in England in 2010 and we married in 2012. We then moved to the USA.

At first I thought I would not be able to play cricket in the USA. However, later I got to know that I could. I got my cricketing gear from Sri Lanka and joined a cricket club. This paved the path for me to play for the national team.

Q: How did you perform in USA cricket?

A: I did my best not only as a player but also as a coach. I played well in inter-club matches. That is how I was selected for the national team in 2017. I received the Best Player award in my first international match.

I also contributed to the USA cricket team winning a Cup against Canada for the first time.

Q: Now let us talk about your beginning in cricket. Where did you first start playing cricket?

A: I started playing cricket at Kalutara Vidyalaya in 1991. I played for the under-13 cricket team. Two years later I was selected for the under-15 team and scored a century against Ananda College. It gave me a chance to enter Nalanda College.

Q: Who invited you to join Nalanda College?

A: It was Leslie Narangoda who helped me to join Nalanda in 1994. However, I was not given a chance to play in the under-15 team. In 1996 I got the chance to play in the under-17 team.

However, the GCE Ordinary Level examination put a temporary stop to my cricketing activities. At that time the Sri Lanka Air Force invited me to join them.

I scored a century against Baduraliya Cricket Club while still a schoolboy and it helped me find a place in the Nalanda 1st XI team. That was the turning point of my sports career.

Q: What made the Air Force invite you to join their cricket team?

A: My father was an officer in the Air Force and the cricket club in the Air Force knew me as a sportsman. Maybe that was the reason for inviting me to join their under-23 cricket team.

Q: After you began to play for the Air Force team you got a chance to join the Nalanda College 1st XI team. Did anyone help you to get that chance?

A: Wing Commander Migara Perera spoke to Jayantha Senevirathna Sir about me. Then I got a chance to play in the 1st eleven team.

Q: What happened to your cricketing career after you left school?

A: I played in the under-23 team of the Air Force Cricket Club and performed well as a batsman scoring several centuries. I got my maiden representation in Premier League cricket in 2000. At that time, I performed as an allrounder. Although I scored several centuries I was never selected to the national cricket pool. Then I joined Moors Sports Club under Champaka Ramanayake Sir. I also played for several teams and clubs such as the Rogers Group, John Keels, Ceylon Cold Stores etc.

The main reason why I went overseas was to find success there.

Q: Are you happy about the path of your cricket career?

A: I am very happy about my success overseas in cricket. I would have loved to play cricket for my motherland, however, I did not get that chance.

Maybe if I was selected to play for Sri Lanka my life would have been different. But I do not worry about it. I have a nice family and lead a contented life now.