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DateLine Sunday, 8 June 2008

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Chamara Silva followed Aravinda’s style to forge ahead



The picture below tells it all - Panadura Royal College cricketer Chamara Silva dives and rolls over in taking a spectacular catch. He was picked as the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in the Outstation Segment in 1999 and in addition, was also picked as the Best Batsman and Best Fielder - three important awards.

CRICKET: Former Royal College, Panadura captain Lindamlilage Prageetha Chamara Silva, better known as Chamara Silva who played for Deccan Chargers in the recent Indian Premier League Tournament, will don the Sri Lanka cap and will play for Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup to be played in Pakistan this month.

The first match for Sri Lanka is on June 24 against Bangladesh.

For Chamara Silva, it has been a success story during his school days and he was picked as Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in the outstation segment in 1999.

Besides winning the main award in the outstation segment, Chamara was also picked as the Best Batsman and Best Fielder by the panel of umpires from the three associations who acted as judges.

Chamara born on 14th December 1979, was the star player for Royal Panadura. He started playing in 1992 in the under-13 team and continued to show lot of promise in the under-15, under-17 and 1st XI inter-school cricket tournaments. He captained Royal Panadura in 1997-1998.

Failed permanent place

In the 1999 school cricket season, his performances were praise-worthy scoring 1,284 in 8 matches, including three centuries. He also held 26 catches. As a schoolboy, he played for Panadura SC. In 1998, he was picked to represent Sri Lanka under-19 at World Cup in South Africa.


A mighty hit - that’s Chamara Silva at his best in batting.

He top scored with an elegant 85 against South Africa. Chamara Silva first arrived on the scene as a slightly-built 19-year-old in 1999, a beneficiary of the youth policy adopted by Sidath Wettimuny, the Chairman of selectors at the time. He began with a promosing 54 on his one-day international debut against Australia.

His mannerisms while batting, particularly bow legged stance and the flamboyant cover drives immediately attracted comparisons with the great Aravinda de Silva.

Despite being highly talented, he failed to nail down a regular place during tours to Sharjah (1999), Zimbabwe (1999), Pakistan (2000) and England (2002). After the England tour he dropped out of the selector’s radar and returned to domestic cricket where he captained Panadura Cricket Club.

The next four years he was a prolific run-scorer, especially after this move to Sebastianites for the 2004-2005 seasons. Eventually he ‘caught the eye’ of Australian coach Tom Moody who could not understand why he was not in the national squad.

A quick promotion back into the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team followed and after a successful tour of India, he won a long overdue international recall. Still just 27, he was a surprise selection for the New Zealand tour and was handed his maiden cap in the first Test at Christchurch.

It was an inauspicious start as he bagged a ‘pair’ and Sri Lanka lost by five wickets. Sri Lanka’s team management however, kept faith in him for the second Test in Wellington and he came off well scoring a handsome 61 in the first innings and a magnificent unbeaten 152 in the second innings.

The 27-year-old Silva, put his name in the record books by becoming the first player in Test history to score a century in his first game after a ‘pair of specs’.

He was at the crease for five and a half hours and hit 20 boundaries as Sri Lanka built a dominant total until Daniel Vettori cleaned up the last three wickets in the space of four balls. After a tentative start in his debut Test in Christchurch, Silva showed no sign of nervousness at Basin Reserve as he anchored Sri Lanka’s charge to level the series.

Quiet achiever

Speaking on Silva’s magnificent achievement, Tom Moody his coach, had this to say. 'To be very frank I haven’t seen a lot of him. I saw him about two months ago and asked the question where this guy had been all this while.

He was picked to the ‘A’ team and some made an impression and quickly made it to the senior side as well. Sri Lanka is blessed in that there are many talented young players. I haven’t seen so much of talent anywhere else in the world. He’s a quiet bloke. Doesn’t say many things in the dressing room.

If one walks into our dressing room, you wouldn’t get the feeling that this is the bloke who made a fantastic 152. He’ll be seated in a corner in a reflective mood-that’s Chamara Silva, said Moody.

He can be described as a sort of a quiet achiever. Moody added; “The boys in the dressing room tell me he had watched a lot of Aravinda batting in his young days. Apparently if Aranvinda made a slight adjustment in his foot work while batting, Chamara would do the same adjustments as well. That was the sort of influence Aravinda de Silva had on him” concluded coach Moody.

Century against India

Silva scored his first one-day international hundred against India just three weeks before the World Cup 2007.

He managed to make 350 runs with an average of 43.75 with four half centuries and highest score of 64. His success in the middle-order had helped to give Sri Lanka a boost in their one-day and Test sides, particularly after veteran middle-order batsman Russel Arnold announced his retirement at the end of the World Cup.

Chamara Silva blossomed out as middle order batsman and he is able to fit in at any position even lower down the order as he is such a capable batsman.

He has played for major teams Basnahira South, Bloomfield CC, Deccan Chargers, Panadura SC, Sebastianites SC and Sinhalese Sports Club.

Chamara Silva’s performances in the Test and one-day internationals are as follows: Played in nine Test matches and scored 447 runs for an average of 34.38, Highest score unbeaten 152 against New Zealand and one half century. Bowled 78 balls, took one wicket at a average of 57.00.

Held 17 catches. Chamara has played in 35 one-day internationals and scored 1043 runs batting average is 37.25, recorded one unbeaten 107 against India and held 21 catches.

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