Jayawickrama thought of playing county cricket overlooking national team
Sri Lanka’s newest spinner Praveen Jayawickrama’s mother has revealed that Jaywickrama was considering to leave Sri Lanka for UK to play minor counties there as he was not getting proper opportunity to play in SL. However, his mentor Chamila Gamage stopped the spinner to go UK.
“It was Gamage who persuaded him to be in Sri Lanka. In fact, my son was not getting an opportunity to play either in Development or Emerging squads and was considering leaving for the UK to play minor counties there. However, Chamila knew his talent well and inspired him to keep patience and wait for the right time to come and play for the country,” the mother said.
Meanwhile, he first thing after claiming the Man of the Match award on his debut Test, Jayawickrama did was to make two calls from the dressing room. His first call was to his mother Nimali Pieris, who blessed her son for the fabulous performance.
“His second call was to his mentor Chamila Gamage. Praveen did not forget to thank the former fast bowler Gamage, who has been his motivator all these years,” the mother, who runs a driving school in her town, said exclusively over the telephone.
Gamage had been Praveen and Pathum Nissanka’s District coach at Kaluthara in 2013 before moving to Colombo, now to be with the SLC as a bowling coach.
The 22-year old made a fairytale debut against Bangladesh with 11 wickets- only the 4th bowler to take 10 wicket haul on debut since 1980, first Sri Lankan to do so and since 2008 the only bowler to do so on debut.
Praveen may have dedicated his best performance to his late father. He was advised by Gamage to keep the image of his father at the back of his mind before going to the field on each day of the Test.
Interestingly, Gamage did remember his late mother when he was selected to play his first Test. Gamage took a wicket with his first ever delivery in Test cricket and he dedicated Mohammad Ashraful’s wicket (Colombo, July 2002) to his late mother.
Members of the Sri Lankan team celebrated the series win with a cake cutting. “Captain Dimuth [Karunaratne] cut the cake for all of us,” a member of the squad, speaking from the team bus said.
“Players left the ground and most of them headed to Colombo. The players living in Kandy did not board the bus and few of them had their own vehicles,” the source added.
Praveen’s brother Arun Jayawickrama, after attending his friend’s wedding went to Colombo to receive him at the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board office.