‘I miss my dad as never before as he would have been the happiest person to see me captain Sri Lanka’
By Srian Obeyesekere
Sri Lanka’s new test cricket captain Dhananjaya de Silva, addressing the media ahead of Friday’s one-off test match against Afghanistan at the SSC, while theming on playing positive attacking cricket with emphasis on brushing up the fielding, did strike an emotional note when he said, “Today, I miss my father as never before because he would have been the happiest man on earth had been alive and known that my cricket career had reached its zenith by being appointed to captain my country’s test team.”
Dhananjaya de Silva’s father, Ranjan, a local politician, was gunned down cold bloodedly by unidentified gunmen near their Ratmalana home close to 8.30 p.m. on the eve of the national team’s departure to the West Indies in 2018.
The new skipper went on to state that ‘I always think of my father and what he meant to me and he rest of our family, and particularly today his loss has moved me as never before.’
As to the responsibility ahead of leading Sri Lanka in his maiden test against Afghanistan, once minnows who have won the admiration of the rest of the cricketing world by a fast forward approach in gaining recognition in the short format of the game, Dhananjaya, de Silva, a sharp batting all-rounder known for his knack of sheet anchor roles in pulling the team from tight situations said, “Although we have a distinct advantage against a side that has played just seven test matches, we are not taking Afghanistan lightly. We know how capable they have been in the one-day format.”
He went on to voice his concern over Sri Lanka’s flagging fielding image which he said was his main priority area to getting the test team to top measure in the future. “The fielding is a key area that needs to be addressed positively and put right before long.”
As to the overall composition of the team, 33-year old De Silva said, “I have at my disposal the services of three former captains in Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne. As a player I gave my hundred per cent playing under them when they captained Sri Lanka, I too look forward to getting their unstinted support on the road to rebuilding a winning side.”
He added that a cause for concern having taken over the reins was also the lately changing nature of home tracks from a traditional past when pitches were known at their fingertips. “This changing pattern in pitches has been a worrying factor unlike the past in having to adapt to such sudden changes.”
His test match aggregate oozes in a high of 33o1 runs from 51 appearances on a very pleasing high of 10 hundreds and 13 half centuries with highest of 173 and averaging of 39.77 having debuted on July 26, 2016 against Australia at Pallekelle. As a stock bowler who has reveled in breakthroughs he has claimed 34 wickets with best figures of 3 for 25 and averaging 57.29.