Sidharth Monga on India in Sri Lanka 2010 July 24, 2010

Nuwan Pradeep: Sri Lanka's latest maverick

Sri Lanka’s knack of picking unorthodox cricketers out of nowhere continues
42

Sri Lanka’s knack of picking unorthodox cricketers out of nowhere continues. The replacement for Lasith Malinga, who is out of the second Test with a stiff knee, is a similar story. Until three years ago, Nuwan Pradeep hadn’t played any cricket with a leather ball – and he is 23 now. He won a pace contest, impressed the talent scouts with his pace in a soft-ball event, and was sent straight to Sri Lanka Cricket’s academy.

Pradeep doesn’t look as strong, his round-arm is not quite the slingshot, he is not quite the Malinga, but he has attributes: pace, and according to observers, outswing and reverse-swing. The pace and the round-arm action come because the tennis balls wouldn’t travel. Ranjit Fernando, national selector and his coach during Sri Lanka A’s tour of Australia, recommends Pradeep highly.

“Does not have any cricketing background,” says Fernando. “Never played with a cricket ball till three years ago. Came from a fast-bowling competition arranged by the Maharaja about three years ago. He was the fastest bowler in the competition. Bowled in Australia. There were no speed guns, but to me he bowled quicker than all the Australian bowlers. Being a slinger, he doesn’t have much bounce, but I feel he is someone to watch out for. He is quick, you can see it. Someone like him keeps on coming at you all the time, so is hard to negotiate on such wickets. He is also very accurate.”

Sri Lanka’s former national bowling coach, Anusha Samaranayake, told srilankacricket.lk: “He can touch 150kph mark as of now. He has got express pace, and he’s also accurate. He’s a very special bowler. Comes at the batsman with a very long run-up and his pace has troubled many batsmen in the domestic circuit.”

Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis and Malinga have been glowing tributes to Sri Lanka’s tolerance for the unorthodox. Dilhara Fernando used to play only basketball until his school coach asked him to play cricket one fine day. Now we have Pradeep, who might not get a Test in this series, but provided he meets the fitness his action demands, could one day be bowling alongside Malinga in an international. Hard bowlers created by softballs.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Yash.G on April 10, 2011, 1:59 GMT

    oh ! @ last...... we have a replacement..

  • Anush on January 9, 2011, 17:54 GMT

    Thanks for this article. I think this article single handedly gave a chance for Pradeep to play in the IPL!

  • krishan on August 28, 2010, 3:51 GMT

    big thnk for sisara.. they organized cricket carnival. prdeed pop up competition.

    again thnk u vey much sirasa & SL Cricket.

  • zaib on August 2, 2010, 5:15 GMT

    he is a good bowler with striong arm an action

  • Rukshan on August 2, 2010, 4:09 GMT

    GO Negombo Go

  • nilantha on August 1, 2010, 15:05 GMT

    go on and show your colors.....all the best...

  • LApati on July 31, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    Come on boy u will in the 3rd test definitely....

  • jdgoal14 on July 27, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    Hmmm.. Tennis ball cricket!! I think i should start playing tennis ball cricket again and maybe some talent scout will notice my awesome bowling skills!!!

    Really snail paced off-breaks!!! Those international batsmen don't stand a chance!!! Must practice on the Carrom ball as well for variation!!!

  • Vilander on July 26, 2010, 19:02 GMT

    SL looks like a very good side, if they keep this up they can become no 1 in a few days if they arnt already. Amazing how they find so many good bowlers, congrats and do well..but still i hope India will put up some fight, atleast while batting..its clear that they need to get back to planning their game, simple no tactical advandage in batting,bowling or felding..hmm so what can india do?

  • CricketPissek on July 26, 2010, 13:35 GMT

    if Sri Lanka can have Malinga, Fernando, and Pradeep in a T20 game, that could rival Australia's super-pace trio of Johnson, Tait, and Nannes. With Dhammika prasad also bowling thunderbolts, these are exciting times indeed for Sri Lankan cricket!

  • Yash.G on April 10, 2011, 1:59 GMT

    oh ! @ last...... we have a replacement..

  • Anush on January 9, 2011, 17:54 GMT

    Thanks for this article. I think this article single handedly gave a chance for Pradeep to play in the IPL!

  • krishan on August 28, 2010, 3:51 GMT

    big thnk for sisara.. they organized cricket carnival. prdeed pop up competition.

    again thnk u vey much sirasa & SL Cricket.

  • zaib on August 2, 2010, 5:15 GMT

    he is a good bowler with striong arm an action

  • Rukshan on August 2, 2010, 4:09 GMT

    GO Negombo Go

  • nilantha on August 1, 2010, 15:05 GMT

    go on and show your colors.....all the best...

  • LApati on July 31, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    Come on boy u will in the 3rd test definitely....

  • jdgoal14 on July 27, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    Hmmm.. Tennis ball cricket!! I think i should start playing tennis ball cricket again and maybe some talent scout will notice my awesome bowling skills!!!

    Really snail paced off-breaks!!! Those international batsmen don't stand a chance!!! Must practice on the Carrom ball as well for variation!!!

  • Vilander on July 26, 2010, 19:02 GMT

    SL looks like a very good side, if they keep this up they can become no 1 in a few days if they arnt already. Amazing how they find so many good bowlers, congrats and do well..but still i hope India will put up some fight, atleast while batting..its clear that they need to get back to planning their game, simple no tactical advandage in batting,bowling or felding..hmm so what can india do?

  • CricketPissek on July 26, 2010, 13:35 GMT

    if Sri Lanka can have Malinga, Fernando, and Pradeep in a T20 game, that could rival Australia's super-pace trio of Johnson, Tait, and Nannes. With Dhammika prasad also bowling thunderbolts, these are exciting times indeed for Sri Lankan cricket!

  • KaZsa on July 26, 2010, 10:57 GMT

    It is so good to see the glimpse of 70's west Indian cricket in Sri Lanka....There were so many unorthodox players in west indies at that time.It seems Lankans are following suite...It all adds to the beauty of the game..

  • Warren MS on July 26, 2010, 3:49 GMT

    At timez like these I really am proud 2 b Sri Lankan.It really does not matter if you look good when bowling, you just need to have fun and bowl effectively.Now look at Murali his iconic bowling actions he wouldn't have been as famous.

  • Tara on July 26, 2010, 1:20 GMT

    Almost any bowler or batsman will do well against India but it certainly won't provide an "acid test".

  • sampath De Silva on July 26, 2010, 1:09 GMT

    what a find.I would like to see nuwan pradeep and malinga in one match.

  • Omar Jayasekera on July 25, 2010, 18:17 GMT

    Fantastic new find for S/L, Reminds me of Jayalath Aponsu, Get Sylvester Dias of Moratuwa fame to mold and toughen him and D.H. if he's still around to educate him. Good luck, Pradeep.

  • gamage on July 25, 2010, 15:26 GMT

    we are waiting to see Pradeep Bowling alongside With Malinga In T20 Cricket.HMM Will Be Interesting.....

  • Geevin on July 25, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    if he is bowling @ 150 kmph.......he shud b in da team 4 sure......fast short bouncer can b a interesting option 4 pradeep.......coz indian batsmen r nt gud against short balls.......Best of LUCK

  • Ashan on July 25, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    150kmph ...................... HMMMM He is quick

  • henry de silva on July 25, 2010, 13:07 GMT

    Good luck to Nuwan Pradeep. You can mold a pace bowler with careful attention and proper instructions. Perhaps get some previous pace bowlers to instruct the him on the finer points. I would recommend Kehelgamuva or Nihal Soyza of yester years to give him instructions. Maybe even Sonny Yatawara. Good luck Nuwan Pradeep. You can do it. Henry de Silva

  • Mushi on July 25, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    We've like see this lad to bowl along side Malinga! it will be a fascinating contest. wishing he should make it to SL squad very soon!

  • nemsta on July 25, 2010, 8:00 GMT

    I saw this guy bowl against Australia A in Brisbane, and he had some good pace on him. He did look a bit quicker than the Aussie bowlers, and very exciting to watch! I would really like to see more of this guy in the lankan team. Lanka needs more pace and bounce.

  • DEEN on July 25, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    ITS so happy news for cricket fan's.v.r.hope coming years brightful to sirlanka cricket team with youngs players with senior players.SRILANKA CRICKET FAN'S ARE HOPE COMING WORLD MUST WIN FINAL.

  • Nanda Pathirana on July 25, 2010, 6:09 GMT

    He couldn't take much wickets on SL-A tour of Aussie. Pace is not much of use if you don't take wickets. Take Vaas as an example who sacruficed his pace for accuracy and highly rewarded. So better let him to mature and protect him for the future without putting into the deep end straightaway. He's more prone to injuries quickly. SL lost Nuwan Soyza early by putting him on risk!

  • Eapen on July 25, 2010, 5:28 GMT

    Excellent stuff from Lankans. Go on...........

  • nilantha on July 25, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    i'm surprise that i have never seen him bowling anyway,if he is like malinga that's must be very interesting

  • Vikas Adiga on July 25, 2010, 4:58 GMT

    Hi,

    Good to hear about this new comer..Pls give us (India) this bowler :) We need someone who can bowl at 150+. We DO NOT have fast bowlers in India!!! Hope Nuwan goes a long way!!! ALL THE BEST!!

    Regards

  • Vaibhao Ghumatkar on July 25, 2010, 4:49 GMT

    fernando...the game start now!!!

  • mohit singhania on July 25, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    What better way to start your test career against India? I am sure he will shine bright during this test series against India..but it wouldnt be a surprise if he cannot come close to those results against other test playing nations

  • usr on July 25, 2010, 3:57 GMT

    wow! what a news. all the best sri lanka cricket & protect the young rare talent.

  • Sithum Samaraweera on July 25, 2010, 1:16 GMT

    Dont forget Isuru Udana run in and ball 95k's lol.

  • TheBigFatFlapjack on July 25, 2010, 0:58 GMT

    i really, really wish we (sri lanka) become a fast bowling nation.

    i know in my heart of hearts that it'd be very difficult to produce out-and-out fast bowlers in the pakistani/west indian/australian/south african mould. however there's nothing to discourage any up-and-coming chaminda vaas's - a wonderful swing bowler. our hot and humid conditions are a death trap for expressmen and seamers but swing bowlers can cause trouble for batsmen (think Vaas, Zoysa, Kulasekara). and yeah, the odd malinga clone would certainly be appreciated.

    here's wishing for a new fast-bowling sri lanka!!

  • Jay on July 25, 2010, 0:18 GMT

    Turn him loose against the Indians, their spineless batters will run for cover.

  • Vishak on July 24, 2010, 22:39 GMT

    This, is why SL actually has good bowlers, and India has none...

  • chamal on July 24, 2010, 20:33 GMT

    The missing piece in Sri Lankan bowling attack.

  • Shrimmy on July 24, 2010, 19:08 GMT

    Interesting fact is that unlike its sub-continental counterparts, in Sri Lanka softball cricket is more popular than tape ball cricket, the tape ball travels through the air much faster than the soft ball so to trouble batsmen with the soft ball, unique variations have to be devoloped and as a result some of them are carried forward into the club games,

  • Nilanka Kuwait on July 24, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    blow the Indian wickets ,Go Nuwan go,

    India already have a problem with Mailnga, beware India now we have two Malinga's

    Hope they will Test him in 2nd Test for absence for Malinga , and this is good chance for him, God bless for fitness

  • Jake Edwards on July 24, 2010, 17:40 GMT

    Loved the article and love the concept of your tour diary. It is very cool to know that Sri Lanka is able to produce quicks of express calibre. Keep those wonderful articles coming Mr. Monga.

  • Pradeep K on July 24, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    I am glad that we have Aravida De Silva as the Chairman of selectors. He is honest, Straighforward and not relactant to make the right call. So if the kid deserve a place in final 11, Mr.De Silva will surely give him a chance. I think he has a pretty decent chance since Malinga is injured.

  • sachit on July 24, 2010, 15:04 GMT

    The tennis ball cricket we all play throughout our lives is part of Sri Lankan culture - and it is great to see players emerging from that sphere.

  • Umesh Indith on July 24, 2010, 14:32 GMT

    Just awesome - 150kmph!

  • tin tin on July 24, 2010, 14:31 GMT

    go nuwan pradeep

  • Poorna on July 24, 2010, 13:59 GMT

    Nuwan Fernando!!! the next Malinga!!!!!!!!!!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Poorna on July 24, 2010, 13:59 GMT

    Nuwan Fernando!!! the next Malinga!!!!!!!!!!

  • tin tin on July 24, 2010, 14:31 GMT

    go nuwan pradeep

  • Umesh Indith on July 24, 2010, 14:32 GMT

    Just awesome - 150kmph!

  • sachit on July 24, 2010, 15:04 GMT

    The tennis ball cricket we all play throughout our lives is part of Sri Lankan culture - and it is great to see players emerging from that sphere.

  • Pradeep K on July 24, 2010, 17:24 GMT

    I am glad that we have Aravida De Silva as the Chairman of selectors. He is honest, Straighforward and not relactant to make the right call. So if the kid deserve a place in final 11, Mr.De Silva will surely give him a chance. I think he has a pretty decent chance since Malinga is injured.

  • Jake Edwards on July 24, 2010, 17:40 GMT

    Loved the article and love the concept of your tour diary. It is very cool to know that Sri Lanka is able to produce quicks of express calibre. Keep those wonderful articles coming Mr. Monga.

  • Nilanka Kuwait on July 24, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    blow the Indian wickets ,Go Nuwan go,

    India already have a problem with Mailnga, beware India now we have two Malinga's

    Hope they will Test him in 2nd Test for absence for Malinga , and this is good chance for him, God bless for fitness

  • Shrimmy on July 24, 2010, 19:08 GMT

    Interesting fact is that unlike its sub-continental counterparts, in Sri Lanka softball cricket is more popular than tape ball cricket, the tape ball travels through the air much faster than the soft ball so to trouble batsmen with the soft ball, unique variations have to be devoloped and as a result some of them are carried forward into the club games,

  • chamal on July 24, 2010, 20:33 GMT

    The missing piece in Sri Lankan bowling attack.

  • Vishak on July 24, 2010, 22:39 GMT

    This, is why SL actually has good bowlers, and India has none...