Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 29 September 2013





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Chandimal shows tremendous enthusiasm

The year 2009 was a significant one for young Dinesh Chandimal, the current Sri Lanka Test Vice Captain, and Twenty20 captain, who led Ananda College in the ‘Big Match’ - the ‘Battle of the Maroons’ encounter against Nalanda College.

The elegant right hander went onto clinch the prestigious Sunday Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer Award in the same year after a successful school career in 2009. He was another player who was oozing with talent and a player ear-marked for the future which resulted him in winning his Sri Lanka ‘cap’ in an ODI on June 1, 2010 against Zimbabwe, where he scored an unbeaten 10 when Sri Lanka won by nine wickets after chasing 119 runs.

Dinesh Chandimal - youngster with much promise

On July 3, 2011, young Chandimal struck his first ODI hundred against England at home of cricket – Lord’s when he helped Sri Lanka to win the third ODI by six wickets to lead the series 2-1. Two years after winning the country’s prestigious award for a schoolboy cricketer, Chandimal made his Test debut in Sri Lanka’s historic Test win at Durban, where the islanders beat South Africans for the first time in a Test in South African soil.

“I thought if I win the Sunday Observer Schoolboy Cricketer Award I would definitely be selected to the Sri Lanka national squad one day. Going through the history of past school cricketers, who had won the Sunday Observer Award, it was evident that most of them have represented Sri Lanka with distinction,” said Dinesh Chandimal, who made Test debut in 2011 at Durban.

Chandimal who crossed over from Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda to Ananda which further enhanced his cricket career, said that the Sunday Observer/Mobitel Cricket Show is undoubtedly one of the best competitions in the Island and gives the young cricketers great enthusiasm.

Under the leadership of Tillekeratne Dilshan, Chandimal made twin fifties in his dream debut in 2011 on the ‘Boxing Day’ Test at Durban against South Africa.

Batting first, Sri Lanka were struggling with five down for 162 at one stage, and the 21-year-old Chandimal was given a chance to bat at number seven and proved his mettle as regular wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene was not included in the tour due to an injury and replaced Kaushal Silva who failed to score in the First Test and dropped for the second paving the way for young Chandimal to don the wicket keeping gloves .

Dinesh Chandimal, who loves to play the cut and the pull with good timing and placement, joined Thilan Samaraweera who (scored a century) in the fast and bouncy Durban track and saved Sri Lanka’s blushes by getting the Lankan innings towards 273 for 6 while Chandimal’s contribution was 58, after sharing a 101-run partnership for the sixth wicket. Eventually Sri Lanka made a commanding 338 in the first innings.

Chandimal had to restore the Lankan second innings again as they were struggling losing five wickets for 141. This time Sri Lanka’s potential youngster joined the crease with Kumar Sangakkara (Sangakkara made his first Test century in South Africa) to forge a 108-run stand for the sixth wicket and Sri Lanka set a 450-run target for the Proteas and the islanders recorded an emphatic 208-run win.

Chandimal became the Sri Lanka’s youngest Twenty20 captain (24 years and 253 days) when he led Sri Lanka against Bangladesh on March 31, this year at Pallekele, where Sri Lanka won by 17 runs. The wicket-keeper batsman has been inspired by one of Sri Lanka’s pinch hitting wicket-keeper batsmen, Romesh Kaluwitharana.

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