There won’t be another Malinga, says his mentor
By Bipin Dani
Lasith Malinga’s talent on the field of cricket was first spotted by Champaka Ramanayake. Ten years elder to him, Champaka Ramanayake once stepped down for him to enable him to play first first-class cricket game for Galle Cricket Club.
Now attached with the Bangladesh team as a bowling coach, Champaka Ramanayake recalls,” he (Malinga) was 16-year-old boy when I was really excited with his unique bowling action. I have never seen someone who had that kind of uniqueness. He was so special to me”.
“Since that day I thought he is going to be special. I never changed his action because I thought he was unique. He was in my Galle team since I saw him. I told him you are in my team and let me know your availability to play first class cricket for Galle CC which I was the coach and player. I stepped down for him to play his first game for Galle Cricket Club vs. Colombo Cricket Club and he ended up with 8 wickets in the game and won the game easily”.
“He was only 17 years then. I became the National Fast bowling Coach for SL National team from 2001. Then he was included for the Fast bowling academy. He had his debut in 2004. Since that he blossomed and made history as one and only one in the history of world cricket”.
“He never had fear even at the age of 16 which was unique. He was very clever and street-smart to read the game so well. I was so fortunate to have discovered him and mentor for his entire career”.
“Also, I have learned lot with regard his ability to read the game and handling the situation in high pressure games. There won’t be any one like him. He always fought alone for his rights. He was out spoken and fought for the team. I am very proud of him as a person too. I wish him all success in his future. I have no doubts that his knowledge will be benefited for any team and country to be successful”, the coach concluded.