• Last Update 2022-05-18 19:41:00

U-19 Cricket: Matheesha Pathirana - the Mini Malinga

Sport

An Under-17 round-arm bowler has set tongues wagging by his resemblance to the Sri Lankan maestro Lasith Malinga. 

He almost set the neighbouring Mahaweli on fire by his exploits in his first-ever Under-19 match for his new school, Trinity College, when he blasted through the St. Servatius batting with a spell of six wickets for seven runs. 

But, “lets start at the very beginning, a very good place to start” as Julie Andrews said in the movie the Sound of Music. 

The lad, Mateesha Pathirana, was schooling at President’s Model School Dodanwela when fate took a hand. 

A fairly good student, he passed the Scholarship Exam and attended Ranabima Royal College, Gannoruwa. 

At 11 years, he played his first inter-school match against St. Anne’s and bagged six wickets. 

As a result of his exploits. Ranabima was promoted to Division Two of the Under-13 tournament. 

His first coach, former Dharmaraja stumper Sampath Silva says he made some fifties at Under-13, 15 and Under-17 levels. His highest was 68 against Kandy Model School. 

Word soon reached the ears of Trinity’s talent spotters and, ere long, he was part of the furniture at Trinity. 

A full scholarship means that he doesn’t have to spend on his education at the prestigious institution. 

Hostel facilities were not necessary as Mateesha comes from Gohagoda in Katugastota, literally, a stone's throw from Kandy. 

As luck would have it, two former Anthonian cricketers have had a big part in his development. 

Samson Burke, conducted his Cricket Academy right next door to Mateesha’s house.

It was only natural that the budding paceman was attracted to the Academy. 

Indika Fernando, a well-known figure in coaching circles in Kandy, took over the Academy a couple of years back. Mateesha continues to attend the latter’s coaching sessions. 

At this point, Kandy’s Provincial Coach Amila Pinnaduwa recommended the pacie to the fast bowling coaches - Chaminda Vaas, Ravindra Pushpakumara and J.C. Gamage. 

To a man, they were impressed with his talent.

They pointed out to him the importance of line and length. 

They also suggested gym work to build him up for greater speed. Currently he bowls at between 130 and 135 kmph. 

A little here and there at the start, his control has improved. He also developed his Yorker. 

Pressed on the weapons he uses, Pathirana points to the Yorker, the bouncer and the out-swinger. 

As for the in swinger, he concedes that he has still to do some work on that. 

Does he bowl six different deliveries in a over? 

No, says the youngster. 

"I change the delivery according to the batsman at the other end." 

All this is the result of the better facilities at his new school and the constant supervision of Trinity’s Coach, Kavinda Jayasuriya. 

What are the chances of a Katugastota born lad skittling the Anthonians in the Big Match? 

Time will tell.

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