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Sunday, 16 June 2013

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Perseverance took Kumar Dharmasena far in cricket

Reaching the top in two different segments in Test cricket is no easy task ,but the former Sri Lankan all-rounder Kumar Dharmasena achieved both, due to perseverance coupled with loads of self confidence. Being in the company of his contemporary players like Australian Ricky Ponting, India's Sachin Tendulkar to name just two who are still actively participating in the game would have given Dharmasena a lot of confidence in performing his duties as an umpire. He represented the country in 31 Tests and 141 ODI's from 1993 to 2004 and picked cricket umpiring, besides his career at Hatton National Bank due to the undying passion for the game he loves so much. He was rewarded as the Best International Umpire by the ICC.


Kumar Dharmasena - former top cricketer now leading cricket umpire

Sunday Observer Sports was able to get at Kumar Dharmasena who was busy as a bee making final arrangement to leave for the United Kingdom to officiate in the New Zealand - England Test series, said that he was proud to take up umpiring and to be in the Elite Panel of Umpires. He rated umpiring as a more difficult job than playing, and being a Test cricketer he enjoyed every moment while standing. He also said that the modern technology is an asset to any umpire in the changing world of cricket.

After a very successful school cricket career at Nalanda College where he won the Schoolboy Cricketer of The Year title in 1989 and also the Best All-Rounders and Best Bowlers prizes, it was just a matter of time for the budding all-rounder to have patience for a call for the national team. Dharmasena's dream of gaining his Test 'cap' became a reality when he performed extremely well in a three-day warm match match against the touring South Africans at the Welegedera Stadium in 1993 and made his Test debut against a strong South African outfit led by Keppler Wessels in the same year. Keppler Wessels captained the visiting side while late Hansie Cronje, Darryl Cullinan, Allan Donald, Bret Shultz, Jonty Rhodes, Richard Snell, Pat Symcox, Dave Richardson and Brian Mcmillan were some of the South African players who toured the Island to play their first-ever Test against Sri Lanka.

The hosts were led by Arjuna Ranatunga and had four more players who had won the (Sunday Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of The Year title), namely opening batsman Roshan Mahanama, Sanath Jayasuriya (Outstation),Kumar Dharmasena and Muttiah Muralitharan, but Sri Lanka lost the match by an innings and 208 runs. It was due to a splendid spell of left-arm pace bowling by Brett Schultz who took five and four wickets each in the two innings.

That was the last seen by Brett Schultz who injured his ankle while playing in Sri Lanka and he never bowled again for his country.Talking about the contest, Dharmasena said that there is no doubt that it is a great one for the Colombo and Outstation schools as well, because it surfaces good talent for the future. It is a much looked forward to contest where the boys get the due recognition. The outstation schools get more opportunities now as there is a segment three for,the 'silver' where almost all the competing schools are from the rural areas play. At present we see more and more youngsters making the way for the national team and the competition will help them to gain recognition and find more opportunities for their future.

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