JOSEPHIAN DUNITH WELLALAGE SET TO LEAD SRI LANKA U19 IN ODI SERIES AGAINST BANGLADESH U19
By Kiyasha Kohombanwickramage
The Sri Lankan U19 team, is set to take on Bangladesh U19, in the upcoming five-match Youth ODI series from the 15th-25th October, at the Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium.
Josephian cricket captain and all-rounder Dunith Wellalage, is set to lead the Sri Lankans. The skipper made his U19 debut for Sri Lanka in 2018 and his first-class debut in 2019 for Lankan CC.
Matheesha Pathirana from Trinity College, Kandy is the only player in the squad to have represented the country in the 2020 ICC U19 World Cup. Apart from Pathirana, Sri Lanka also has the experience of right-arm medium pacie and all-rounder Chamindu Wickramasinghe, left arm seamer Yasiru Rodrigo and leg spin all-rounder Raveen De Silva. The squad was drawn out of 75 member initial pool selected by the regional selectors of Sri Lanka Cricket together with Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association from the limited over Cricket tournament conducted earlier this year before Covid 19 put a break again for sports in March 2021. They had several trial matches leading up to further pruning the squad down to 26 players. The squad comprises of 03 players from St. Joseph’s College, the winner’s of the limited overs tournament, 03 each from St. Peter’s College and St. Anthony’s College Kandy, 02 each from Nalanda College, Trinity College and S.Thomas’ College Mt.Lavinia and Sadisha Rajapaksha being the solitary Royalist. Also encouraging to note three Cricketers from Division II and from outstation schools being picked for the 20 member squad, from Madampa MMV, Ambalangoda, Devapathiraja College, Rathgama and St. Thomas College, Matara. Sri Lanka Cricket appointed former Sri Lanka Cricketer Mr. Avishka Gunawardene as the Coach and Mr. Mahinda Halangoda as the Manager. Also, former Sri Lanka Cricket Captain Mr. Mahela Jayawardene volunteered to assist the Under 19 squad as a Consultant & Mentor as this young brigade needs all guidance and support to be groomed for the future. The entire squad was, due to the pandemic and also for better preparations, spent nearly two months in a residential camp (a secure Bio Bubble) leading up to this series. Kudos to Sri Lanka Cricket for their effort and commitment to building a stronger and well prepared Sri Lanka Under 19 squad for the forthcoming Youth World Cup in 2022.
Speaking to Quadrangle Magazine, the team’s manager Mr. Mahinda Halangoda mentioned how being in a bubble has helped the team not only develop skills on and off the field but also how it certainly has helped them bond as a team. The mood within the camp too is very positive, as the players are all in good spirits and excited for the upcoming series. When asked about the team and skipper Wellalage, Halangoda had very positive comments to offer, as he stated that the players are no doubt a talented bunch and mentioned that although it was too early to comment on Wellalage’s role as captain, the skipper is not just a talented player but a fabulously skilled bowler. He further went on to mention that coach Avishka Gunewardene too has a lot to offer for the players, especially in terms of his expertise and experience, and has also well-adjusted himself with the team.
Out of the 26 member U19 squad chosen by the Junior National Selectors, although only 20 players have been selected for the series against Bangladesh, the squad will be rotated for future games, in order to give all players the opportunity to play the game.
This is the first time the Sri Lankans are gearing up for international exposure since the U19 World Cup in 2020. As for the Bangladesh U19s, they’re not only the current U19 world champs, having won the 2020 ICC Men’s U19 World Cup, the team also recently concluded an ODI series, securing a series win over Afghanistan on home turf 3-2. Not only does the Bangladesh team have a solid fast bowling attack but they also have a good set of spinners. Nevertheless, the Sri Lankans are confident and are set to take on the Bangladeshis.
The Sri Lanka U19 20-member squad that will take on Bangladesh U19:
Dunith Wellalage (Captain) – St. Joseph’s College, Colombo 10
Raveen De Silva (Vice Captain) – Nalanda College, Colombo
Shevon Daniel – St. Joseph’s College, Colombo 10
Pawan Pathiraja – Trinity College, Kandy
Sadisha Rajapaksa – Royal College, Colombo
Ryan Fernando – St. Thomas College, Mount Lavinia
Harindu Jayasekera – St. Thomas College, Matara
Sadeesh Jayawardena – St. Joseph’s College, Colombo 10
Lahiru Dawatage – St. Peter’s College, Colombo
Wanuja Sahan Kumara – St. Peter’s College, Colombo
Malsha Tharupathi – Madampa MMV, Ambalangoda
Jeewaka Shasheen Rashmitha – Devapathiraja College, Rathgama
Traveen Mathew – St. Anthony’s College, Kandy
Sasanka Nirmal – Devapathiraja College, Rathgama
Danal Hemananda – St. Peter’s College, Colombo
Yasiru Rodrigo – St. Thomas College, Mount Lavinia
Matheesha Pathirana – Trinity College, Kandy
Chamidu Wickramasinghe – St. Anthony’s College, Kandy
Lahiru Abeysinghe – St. Anthony’s College, Kandy
Vinuja Ranpul – Nalanda College, Colombo
BANGLADESH U19s TOUR OF SRI LANKA SCHEDULE
1st ODI – Friday 15th October
2nd ODI – Monday 18th October
3rd ODI – Wednesday 20th October
4th ODI – Saturday 23rd October
5th ODI – Monday 25th October