By Srian Obeyesekere
Sri Lanka Test and ODI Captain Dimuth Karunaratne lamented that one year of cricket inactivity due to the prevailing COVID 19 Pandemic was a setback to his career. “One year off my cricket career due to the COVID 19 is very disappointing. This is particularly so where a year of cricket inactivity has put on hold of realising my 10,000-run dream. In terms of a cricketer’s career to sit and watch a year pass by without playing is a bad blow because cricket is about youth and age and a year gone in the prime of my career is a big slice off,” said the 31 -year old Karunaratne in an exclusive interview with Sri Lanka Cricket’s website www.srilankacricket.lk.
Further elaborating, Karunaratne, on whom the responsibility of wearing the big mantle of leading his country over an year ago was a pleasant surprise in a captaincy shakeup, added, “Such a setback is impactful especially for a country like Sri Lanka which does not play that many test matches unlike the top test playing countries.
WILL NOT LET IT DAMPEN HIS GOAL
Karunaratne, who cut his teeth in the game at St. Joseph’s College, Colombo, and representing SSC in domestic cricket, went on to contend that to reach the 10,000-run mark in test cricket had been a goal he had set eyes on from the time he started playing test cricket. But he would not let the current drought dampen his cherished dream. “It is a milestone that I will be prioritizing when cricket resumes following the recent drought owing to the COVID 19 which was a bad blow,” he quipped.
Counting 4524 Test runs averaging 36.8 from from 66 matches, the left hand opening batsman, has quite an impressive record of 9 centuries and 24 half centuries for a batsman who leads from the front.
TARGETTING 20-25 TEST CENTURIES
He was hopeful that Sri Lanka would receive an equitable share of Test itineraries and ODI and T20 packages in the future. “If we receive more and more test itineraries, I am confident that I can achieve the 10,000-run mark in a few years,” he reasoned. “At 32 years, I believe I can play for another four years. My expectations are to score 20 to 25 Test centuries and I believe that in that equation my tally of half centuries too would double.
He further observed that it was unfortunate that the careers of many players across the world had been badly affected for several months due to the COVID 19. He hoped that cricket would return soon world-wide.
Asked to comment on the dual responsibility of captaining the side and opening the batting, Karunaratne said, “My role is to stay focused on delivering the team in thick and thin.”
The high point of Dimuth Karunaratne’s career was landing the plum as Sri Lanka’s ODI captain for a player who was once not considered worthy ODI stuff in manning the country’s topmost two versions of the game. And, it is significant that his appetite for run making increased to a steady level while shouldering responsibility.