October 18, 2013

Sri Lanka cricket

From hurling javelins to bowling bouncers

Andrew Fidel Fernando

In a case of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em", cricket in Sri Lanka has gained a convert from the world of athletics, thanks to an evangelistic prod from Dinesh Chandimal. National javelin record-holder Sachith Maduranga shocked the track and field community in Sri Lanka when he retired from his sport at 23, last month, citing his frustration at the lack of recognition for his achievement. But weeks later, he has turned his attention to cricket - which is the country's biggest culprit for robbing other sports of their limelight.

School-mate Chandimal had reportedly suggested that Maduranga try his hand at fast bowling, and he has since been working in the nets at the Premadasa Stadium to some success, according to fast bowling coach Anusha Samaranayake.

"He averages between 130-135kmph without any difficulty," Samaranayake told The Island newspaper. "The only concern is his bowling action which he said he would like to work with us to improve." Maduranga said he had not yet fully committed to a career in cricket, but a bowler of his description will be a boon to Sri Lanka's sparse fast-bowling stocks.

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Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

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