Muthumudalige Pushpakumara, the Tamil Union allrounder, has won the Rs 100,000 Player of the Tournament award in the recently concluded 2007-08 Premier League. In his first season with Tamil Union, Pushpakumara played a vital role in the club securing third place behind SSC and Moors SC with a fine all-round contribution of 590 runs at 42.14, including a century and four fifties, and 34 wickets at 24.02.
The team's coach Brendon Kuruppu, the former Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman, said: "Pushpakumara has been hiding behind other cricketers not allowing his natural talent to flow. We have given him the responsibility and he has responded very well.
"As a left-hand bat and a genuine offspinner he has the potential to make the grade. It's just that his talents have not been exploited to the full."
When Pushpakumara, 26, burst into the Sri Lanka Under-19 team eight years ago he was considered a future prospect for the national side. But in the following years Pushpakumara hardly made the grade with performances so sporadic the selectors barely took any notice of him.
Joining the Tamil Union from Colts has changed Pushpakumara's outlook and he is blossoming into the allrounder he originally promised to be. The prestigious Cricketer of the Year award, which carries prize money worth Rs 250,000, has yet to be decided by Sri Lanka Cricket.