Sri Lanka A in West Indies November 18, 2006

Warnapura determined to prove a point

Malinda Warnapura is determined to put behind the disappointment of being overlooked for Sri Lanka's tour of New Zealand and pile on the runs for the A side in the Caribbean.

Warnapura, the left-handed middle-order batsman, was the leading light in the Duleep Trophy rattling off successive unbeaten centuries for Sri Lanka A at the famous venue Eden Gardens in Calcutta. His knock of 111 not out steered them to the final of the tournament and he followed this up with another undefeated innings of 149 in the final against North Zone, although they lost by eight wickets. He finished the three-match tournament with a handsome 421 runs (average 105.25), including two hundreds and two fifties.

"The A team is considered the stepping-stone towards gaining selection to the national side," said Warnapura. "When you perform for the 'A' team you are expected to get some kind of recognition.

"I am a bit disappointed that I am not on the tour to New Zealand but I am determined to continue making runs to prove that I am good enough to take the next step."

Warnapura's A-team coach, Chandika Hathurusingha, likened his batting style to Asanka Gurusinha, the former Sri Lanka lefthander, and Australia's Allan Border. "Malinda has a good temperament to bat for longer periods of time," said Hathurusingha. "He has a good defence coupled with crisp pulls and cuts."

Warnapura who represents BRC in the premier league, said he receives constant words of advice from his uncle Bandula, the former Sri Lanka opener and captain. "He told me that I was batting well and wanted me to continue the same form in the West Indies."

Having started his first-class career in 1998-99, Warnapura has 12 centuries under his belt including one for Sri Lanka A on their tour of Bangladesh. His burning ambition is to make it to the national side. At 27 he knows time is not on his side.