Chamara Silva followed Aravinda’s style to forge ahead
By Leslie FERNANDO
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.