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

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 “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

  • testli5504537 on April 10, 2011, 1:59 GMT

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

  • testli5504537 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!

  • testli5504537 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.

  • testli5504537 on August 2, 2010, 5:15 GMT

    he is a good bowler with striong arm an action

  • testli5504537 on August 2, 2010, 4:09 GMT

    GO Negombo Go

  • testli5504537 on August 1, 2010, 15:05 GMT

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

  • testli5504537 on July 31, 2010, 4:48 GMT

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

  • testli5504537 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!!!

  • testli5504537 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?

  • testli5504537 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!

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