Dilshan Munaweera has lot to prove


When Dilshan Munaweera was selected for the Sri Lanka Under-19 team for the ICC Youth World Cup some four years ago, the sentiments to his selection were similar to the sentiments surrounding his selection to the national team for the forth coming ICC World T-20.

As of late the highest score of his four SLPL matches so far in the tournament is 36 runs when selectors kept faith on his hard hitting approach to make a surprise calling. He was not in the initial 30 member pool picked for the World T-20.

In 2008, Sri Lanka Cricket’s coaches were of the view that statistics could hardly portray how good a player he was when he was called up for the youth team to the World Cup in Malaysia.

His place in the Youth World Cup team was at stake when he failed on three occasions being bowled out for ducks twice and six runs once, before he produced some cameo roles during a Tri-Nation tournament involving England and Pakistan.

A blistering knock of 45 off 32 balls, inclusive of six fours and three sixes against England and 39 runs in the final against Pakistan were the only notable performances during youth international matches when he was called for the tournament in Malaysia.

When he played for Sri Lanka Under-19s the players who shone have already made their debuts for Sri Lanka.

During the Youth World Cup he was under the shadow of Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanna with whom he opened batting.

Chandimal and Thirimanna shared player of the match titles on more than one occasion while a knock of 43 runs (in 42 balls) against Australia was probably his best knock during the entire World Cup.

Like he did during most of his matches for Nalanda First XI, Munaweera could make amends for his batting failures with his off-spin for Sri Lanka Under-19 when he joined Sachith Pathirana and Naveen Kavikara.

Unlike some of his Sri Lanka Under-19 colleagues he did not have very many achievements at the school level either to boast about.

Probably his most impressive performance for Nalanda was a century he scored against Isipatana in a ten wicket victory in the year 2007 (two-day match).

In the limited overs version, his most impressive performance for Nalanda (in Inter School Tournaments) was probably in the bowling department. He picked up four wickets for 22 runs to skittle out Kalutara Vidyalaya for 88 runs to lead the side to a 196 run victory in a pre-quarter-final match.

Though his batting statistics during the school career have betrayed him he has managed to justify his selections at times. And he has to justify that once again when he makes the national debut.


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