There is gloominess in Sri Lanka’s cricket circles; the country’s cricket board has been suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for mis-governance. It cannot participate in any International cricket events till the suspension is revoked. On the other hand, there is little to boast about the national team’s performance on the field. The side led by Dashun Shanaka and Kusal Mendis had a miserable campaign in India, the team lost seven out of the nine games they played in the World Cup.
The senior batsmen have not lived up to the expectations while bowlers like Maheesh Theekshana had an appalling tournament; the experienced spinner picked just eight wickets in eight matches with a dreadful average of 63.66. It is almost sure that there will be changes in the guard at Sri Lankan cricket both off the field and on the field.
Amid this gloom and doom, the only bright spot was the rise of young pacer Dilshan Madushanka.
23-year-old Madushanka has been impressive right from his debut in August last year.
He had performed well in limited overs cricket even before the global tournament in India.
The World Cup has, however, enhanced his reputation and he is now seen as one of the best fast bowlers on the global stage.
While the 2023 ODI World Cup went from bad to worse for Sri Lanka, Madushanka continued to impress everyone game after game. The left arm pacer ended up with 21 wickets in 9 matches,which was the second highest behind the Australian leg spinner Adam Zampa. Considering Sri Lanka’s disastrous World Cup and lack of any substantial support from other bowlers, Madushanka’s figures became more special.
The 23-year-old pacer was born in Hambantota. He grew up in the era when Sri Lanka was still a prominent force in cricket and hence developed a liking for the country’s most popular game, cricket. He studied in Hungama Vijayabahu Central, Hungama and also pursued his passion for cricket.
Madushanka’s ability to swing the ball both ways got him a place in the Matara Cricket Club. Before the pandemic hit the world, he made his domestic cricket debut for the famous Colts Cricket Club (CCC). While he continued to impress everyone in the longer format of domestic cricket, it was his exploits in the List A (50 overs domestic tournament) and T20 cricket that earned his call for the national team.
In August 2022, Dilshan Madushanka made his International debut in a T20 match against Afghanistan and, since then, his stocks have continued to grow in international cricket.
He has taken 12 wickets in 11 T20 Internationals at an average of 29.71.
In One-day Internationals, he had 31 wickets to his name from just 15 matches, which he’s taken at an average of 24.06. Looking for a fast bowler who’s exceptional at a young age, one whose name is neither Marco Jansen or Sean Abbott- don’t look further.
While he has played only 1 Test, his numbers in First class cricket are also impressive ones (10 matches-33 wickets-23.81 average).
In Dilshan Madushanka, Sri Lanka might have found a long-term prospect, but the big question is whether he can be managed properly? And whether he can perform admirably?
Cricket has seen talents like Chaminda Vaas who, through consistency and hard work, went on to achieve bigger milestones; on the other hand, it has also seen talents like Geoff Allott lost in oblivion after initial success.
Dilshan Madushanka has to ensure he works on his game and, more importantly, keep himself grounded.
Image source: Twitter/X