Chamara Kantha Kapugedera
February 24, 1987, Kandy
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
Middle order batsman
Among the more frustrating players to have represented Sri Lanka in recent years, Chamara Kapugedara had ample opportunities at the top level between 2006 and 2012, but did not manage to nail down a place. That he is a rare talent has never been in doubt, but in international cricket, that raw ability has not usually translated into runs. Perhaps his fans will argue that he was asked to bat too low in limited-overs cricket to have a major impact on the game. Nevertheless, his returns were modest, and his place in the side became untenable, for a few years at least.
Kapugedara has, however, enjoyed something of a renaissance in T20 cricket, after he was picked in the national side again in 2015. He impressed initially during his second coming, but another round of mixed results saw him in and out of the team. Despite having played top-level cricket for over a decade, he is still relatively young, and it is hoped he may yet come good as a consistent player.
Naturally aggressive, and capable of clearing the boundary, Kapugedara had been one of the few genuinely exciting batsmen the selectors unearthed from Sri Lanka's Under-19 set-up. From the age of 11, when he first turned out for Dharmaraja College in Kandy, Kapugedera had hardly wasted an opportunity to push himself up the ladder. He had captained all the junior school sides from the U-13 to the first XI. Following a prolific 2003-04 season, where he scored over 1000 runs, he was picked for the U-19 tour to Pakistan the following year and had excelled with a stunning knock of 131 in a one-dayer against the world champions.
It was an innings he had rated as one of his best although he batted equally well for 70 in his first game for Sri Lanka A against the strong New Zealand A team in 2005. The selectors, desperate to unearth new talent, eventually gambled on an early promotion and fast-tracked him into the national squad after several glowing reports from development coaches.
Kapugedera's father, also a former Dharmaraja cricketer, provided early coaching and all the encouragement he needed to develop. David Karunaratne (his first coach) and Sumithra Warnakulasuriya (his U-19 coach) also played important roles in shaping Kapugedera's career. He was first picked in the national squad against India in November but pulled out of the tour with an injury. However, he made his ODI debut, aged just 18, against Australia in Perth in 2006, immediately impressing with his composure.
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