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Sunday, 8 February 2009

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De Saram to catch eye of cricket selectors!

Indika de Saram, who has had a rollicking season with the bat for Ragama CC in the ongoing `A' Division domestic club cricket tournament, said that he was purely concentrating on his batting and still looked forward at age 35 to catch the nod of the national selectors for a call up to the Sri Lanka team.

De Saram, who has been tapping on the door consistently for years, but has failed to catch the eye of the selectors, and who was in his hey day a basher of the ball, came back to peak form with three centuries in two successive matches including twin hundreds in one match.His effort helped Ragama CC beat favourites - the star studded Moors SC that saw the outstation club come into the limelight, staying in contention in third place in the points table.

That record feat saw De Saram score 125 and an unbeaten 150 in the second innings and 141 .

His efforts have been the mainstay of Ragama CC which has some competent players, including Sri Lanka `discard' Kaushalya Weeraratne, has given the club a chance of vying for the championship honours this season. Speaking to the `Sunday Observer' De Saram said that what had greatly bolstered his form was the considerable experience he had gained by now playing league cricket in England for several years. Currently turning out for East Angliyan League, De Saram has also proved in England to be one of the side's mainstays, having won the admiration of the league management which has also recognised the Sri Lankans' ability by appointing him as player-cum-coach.

Asked how he felt about being overlooked for national duty even for the Sri Lanka `A' team, De Saram said: "Even though I am overlooked, I still concentrate on doing my best at club level from which I derive a satisfaction." Since playing for Sri Lanka from 1999 to 2001, the Ragama CC veteran has failed to win back a recall that has drawn much comment from many quarters as to being overlooked.

Incidentally, De Saram holds the ground record for the highest individual score in a school match - 304 off only 149 deliveries inclusive of 25 sixes and 19 boundaries for St. Thomas', Matara against Sri Devananda College, Ambalangoda in 1993.

Notably, on his return from League cricket in England, however, De Saram found recognition in so much as being given the captaincy of the Sri Lanka team for the 2008 Hong Kong Sixes which tournament Sri Lanka won, beating a star-studded all stars side that included players like Shane Warne.

"Leading at national level at least in the Hong Kong Sixes to me was an honour in bringing the championship trophy back home," smiled the modest and lanky De Saram, who like Sanath Jayasuriya hails from Matara.

Also a gifted wicketkeeper from his school and club days, De Saram said that he gave up the 'glove job' on the advice of a Sri Lanka cricket official because he could not get the No. 1 choice in the Sri Lanka team when he played, since Romesh Kaluwitharana was the `stumper'.

"But now I feel that it was a minus factor in my cricket career chucking my wicketkeeping gift, which otherwise might have strengthened my chances to win a Sri Lanka recall," regretted De Saram.

 

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