By Srian Obeyesekere
To emerge the top batsman crossing the 1000-run milestone in the concluded Sri Lanka Cricket Major League Tier ‘A’ Super Eight Championship this year for NCC’s opening batsman Lahiru Udara is indeed Sky high stuff in a thumbs up finish as the Super batsman in that tall feat!
For, it is high riding a gallop in the run industry’s run making lane for the 27-year old that has set him apart creating an awareness of a new find to have emerged on the blocks. It has been the firing up chagrin to Lahiru Udara Igalagamage’s cricketing career in a starry eyed young cricketer’s dream of making the big leap to big time cricket. “My humble dream is to catch the eye of the national selectors to opening the batting for my country in both Test and one-day cricket,” are the youngster’s aspiring words to making his batting efforts count which he voiced in an exclusive interview with the Sri Lanka Cricket website www.srilankacricket.lk after his 1039-landmark feat.
Lahiru, who credits his uncle Nalin Perera, a former Isipatana College cricketer for influencing him largely to playing cricket and backing him all the way, thus describes his positive approach to crossing the run border of top domestic cricket, “From the very start of the cricket season I resolved that somehow I would reach the magical 1000-run landmark. To have finished on averaging 87 and strike rate of 86.72 is very satisfying.” The only other batsman to have crossed that milestone was Dinesh Chandimal of the Sri Lanka Army SC.
A right hander who has nourished his batting from experience representing the Sri Lanka A and Emerging Team last year versus Bangladesh, ignited this season’s herculean record run trail as the highest scorer among the pack in a 3-ton blaze and 6 half tons. The gold value in that gallop was his 290 against Ragama CC. It was in the wake of a pleasing 2018-19 season when Lahiru aggregated 861 runs to be placed fifth among highest run getters in the championship with a century and 7 half centuries to his credit.
This Elpitiya native, born on November 27, 1993 in Batuwanhena recalls a childhood when ‘my uncle Nalin and a child in the house opposite mine played cricket. It fuelled my way to forging a cricket career playing for Ananda Vidyalaya, Elpitiya U13 XI. The same year I joined St. John’s College, Nugegoda representing the U13 XI. I went on to play for the St. John’s U15, U17 and U19 teams and captained the U17, U19 XIs and I led the U17 XI to the season’s championship title scoring 3 centuries from 9 matches and was picked the Sunday Observer’s Best Runner-up Batsman among the outstation schools.
The early promise opened the doors to play for NCC in the U23 age group where he was coached by Duminda Perera while his Sri Lanka A Team and Emerging Team coaches were Roy Dias and Chaminda Vaas whom Lahiru credits for ingraining in him a sound batting technique and aptitude for run making. His school coaches included Masters Nalanda Pushpakumara and Saparamadu.
Lahiru, who has two siblings in the family including an elder sister and younger brother, is married to Malsi Perera, a pre-school teacher, and residing in Boralesgamuwa. Employed at LB Finance Company, Lahiru is the Mercantile sector team’s opening batsman which is a strong pack consisting of several Sri Lanka players namely Sadeera Samarawickrema, Kusal Mendis, Isuru Udana, Dhananjaya de Silva, Shehan Jayasuriya and Angelo Perera.
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-