One day I want to play for my country, says prolific run machine Lahiru Udara | Daily News

One day I want to play for my country, says prolific run machine Lahiru Udara

Lahiru Udara
Lahiru Udara

The prolific run machine 26 year old opening batsman cum wickets keeper Lahiru Udara, who is the first batsman to cross the 1000-run milestone in the just concluded Sri Lanka Cricket Premier League Tier ‘A’ Super Eight Championship this year for NCC, expressed his thoughts in an exclusive interview with the Daily News.

Lahiru Udara Igalagamage born on November 27, 1993 in Batuwanhena, first played Cricket during his childhood days for Ananda Vidyalaya, Elpitiya Under 13 team. The same year he joined St. John’s College, Nugegoda and represented their Under13 team in 2004. Recalling his young days he said “ After representing the Under 13 team, I went on to play for the St. John’s Under15, Under 17 and Under19 teams. Finally I went on to captain the School Under 17 team and led them to the season’s championship runner's up title in the 50 over tournament scoring a total of 600 odd runs with three centuries from eight matches.

“The year I captained the school Under 19 team and was picked as the Sunday Observer’s outstation Schoolboy Best Batsman Runner-up". Lahiru, was thankful to his uncle Nalin Perera, a former Isipatana College 1st XI cricketer, who influenced him to play cricket and backed me all the way by getting the required Cricket gear. “Even now my uncle Nalin will

support me with anything, whenever I require any help to continue playing Cricket” said Lahiru.

When playing School cricket I have to mention Saparamadu Sir, Nalanda Pushpakumara Sir and Mohan Perera sir, all of them really helped me out every way possible while playing for St.John's.

Recalling his club cricket career Lahiru said “actually I am eternally grateful to Nishanth Abeysekara aiya “Jeep Man” - because he is the one who really spotted me and got me to play club cricket first. I was just 17 years old at that time and frankly speaking he was my mentor”. I wanted to thank Kelum Gangodawila sir at Wattala Antonians who also helped me a lot”.

He scored this record run trail for NCC this season as the highest scorer among the premier tournament scoring a total of 1039 runs with 3 cracking centuries and 6 superb half centuries. The highest score was an exceptional knock of 290 against Ragama CC. Lahiru finished on averaging 87 and a strike rate of 86.72. He scored 6 consecutive 50 plus scores. His last 6 innings contained 70, 105, 90, 93, 111, 66 hence it was a phenomenal achievement.

Lahiru scored 550 plus runs in 2017/18 season with one century and 7 fifties, inclusive of a brilliant century 150 against Colts CC in their last game played in Galle. He also had a very successful 2018-19 season as well when he aggregated 861 runs to be placed fifth among highest run getters in the Premier championship with a century and 7 half centuries to his credit.

Right handed Lahiru Udara who has got batting experience representing the Sri Lanka ‘A. and Emerging Team last year against Bangladesh. Lahiru said “

I was fortunate enough, because i was really successful in just concluded premier tournament as a batsman thanks to Sumithra Warnakulasuriya “Charlie” Sir, Chaminda Vass Sir and Roy Dias Sir they all helped me out while i was playing under them for Sri Lanka Emerging team and Sri Lanka ‘A’ team”.

Speaking further Lahiru commented “Actually at NCC it was first Nuwan Zoysa sir, Sajith Fernando sir and then Ruvin Peiris Sir – who is my previous coach at NCC as well as my present Sri Lanka Cricket “Max Academy” coach. Also I can't forget Duminda Perera Sir - my present NCC head coach and assistant coach Manju sir because they really help me out by giving me all the necessary assistance for me to come this far and be successful in this year’s premier tournament where I managed to score 1039 runs” said Lahiru.

He wanted to thank his grandmother, mother, father, elder sister, younger brother and his wife Malshi Perera for all the necessary support given to him to really concentrate on playing Cricket.

Lahiru said “I am also very much thankful to my manager Amila Kalugalage and my batting sponsor “SF” and they give me immense support”.

Finally he wishes to state that one day he is really looking forward to representing the Sri Lanka national team in all three formats and wishes to score thousand runs in test cricket. “The day I achieve that feat, honestly I will be a very happy cricketer” concluded Lahiru Udara . Incidentally Lahiru has been selected for the 23 man test squad to play against the Bangladesh team, but unfortunately the tour was postponed.