Among other things, a Youth World Cup is maybe a initial place where immature cricketers have their initial genuine brush with a media. It prepares destiny stars for obtuse trusting times when cameras and microphones will be bearing into their faces and an exploration will begin. At this stage, however, a press too ceases to be cynical. The chit-chats are friendlier; reporters demeanour honestly meddlesome in a back-story of their subjects. And they are prepared to hype adult a good and play down a bad. Which is, in many cases, a conflicting of what customarily happens during a comparison level.
Even so, inexperienced to a spotlight, a chirpiest of souls here have detected that a cat got their tongue once a camera started rolling. At best, they fuss some lingo such as “stick to a basics”, “back your game”, “it’s a process”, et al that they have picked adult from their coaches or television. And many of them demeanour relieved when they travel behind after these interactions. Their theatre trepidation is distinct though, for they are only teenagers. However, if there are apples, there are a few oranges too in this assorted basket that is a Under-19 World Cup. Some, like Sarfaraz Khan and Charith Asalanka, don’t solidify in a limelight, they revelry in it. We know Sarfaraz, yet Asalanka who?
The Sri Lankan Under-19 captain is utterly a character. His splay support is a gold of appetite and could be seen bobbing around during a warm-up football diversion during a Sher-e-Bangla Stadium’s use belligerent during Mirpur. This notwithstanding their manager Roger Wijesuriya being a tough taskmaster. After their final organisation compare opposite Pakistan, that a Sri Lankans lost, Wijesuriya done his wards lay on a belligerent while he lectured them for 20 mins — a crux of that was, “Avishka (Gunawardene, a batting coach) is not going to come and bat for you.” A few mins after a category was over, Asalanka was behind to his common effusive self.
“The manager was angry,” he told a media with a humble smile. “We didn’t bat well.” That was a singular off day for a maladroit Asalanka, Sri Lanka’s School Cricketer of a Year in 2015. Before that match, he had strike dual uninterrupted half-centuries. In fact, opposite Afghanistan, he dug a group out of hole with a 71-run knock, before holding dual wickets with his accessible right-arm off-spin.
He is as smooth with bat as he is fluent with his gestures. Even yet he struggles a bit with English, a kid from Galle is totally during palliate with this teenager handicap. In fact, it, along with his eager grin and fluent eyes, adds to his persona.
“In Sri Lanka, we have some-more comparison guys speak to me. (Uhh) Aravinda de Silva, Kumar Dharmasena and (uhh) Sanath Jayasuirya… they are really comparison guys! They told before entrance here, how to play matches, how to hoop vigour and… (uhh) how to be a hero, they told,” he says, regulating a lot of ‘umm’ and ‘uhh’ interjections.
And how is it that we turn a hero? “(Smiles) we consider favourite is… (uhh) they can doing any pressure. Who a actor scores runs in vigour (uhh) is a hero, we think,” he says.
Asalanka is distinct how captains in Sri Lanka have been. He is a leader, all right, yet not as lawful as Arjuna Ranatunga — he stays one among a boys. Asalanka is media savvy yet not polished like Kumar Sangakkara or Angelo Mathews, and he isn’t soft-spoken like Mahela Jayawardene. He would be, if we have to pull a together with a Sri Lankan cricketer, some-more like Muttiah Muralitharan — affably mischievous. Though during 18, Murali was nowhere nearby as assured in front of a camera as Asalanka is. You ask him where he has picked this up.
“(Uhh) since I’ve captained for dual years now. we am some-more knowledge now, and we have to demeanour confident,” he says and laughs an spreading laughter.
At a Under-19 level, we would contend a captain has a really singular purpose to play in a team, yet Asalanka would have we trust that he is a one pulling a strings on a field. In a quarterfinal opposite England, for example, he says he done his spinners play 40 overs, while underbowling his pacers. He explained a strategy.
“I have so many things (uhh) bowling changes, margin changes. You know since (uhh) this is sub-continent nation and (uhh) not many of support in representation to pacers, so spinners have role…really (uhh) many partial in bowling. So we tell to pacers (uhh) do a basics, and (uhh) give us to simple things and (umm) play some-more economically, and we tell to spinners (uhh) try to take wickets and put some vigour for batsmen (uhh) since there’s support from pitch,” he says, on a eve of a semifinal opposite India.
If he tells his players all things, what does Wijesuriya tell them?
He laughs. “(Umm) First manager tell to me (a prolonged postponement here) and after that we tell to others.” Laughter rings out in a press discussion hall, and even Wijesuriya smiles. You feel like a headmaster has picked a many mischievous child in a category and done him a monitor.
Tuesday will be a large game, then. India have large names in a squad, some of them have turn stars after a IPL auction. Their manager is a legend. And Asalanka’s group mislaid to them in a tri-series during home.
Yet, all that doesn’t so many as emanate a hole in his confidence.
“(Uhh) It doesn’t matter who came, what’s a name, we don’t… (looks for a right word)… what’s a name, what’s a man, we only face a round and we only play another large diversion for us. And it will be good compare since it’s (uhh) semifinal. And doesn’t matter, who came, who come, we play only (umm) a cricket,” says Asalanka, who loves his fish and Hindi song — generally from ‘RabNeBanaye (uhh) Jodi’. He doesn’t know what it means, yet after we interpret it for him — “Matches are done in heaven” – he confides that he has got a girlfriend.
So, what are his dreams detached from cricket?
“I have good family — father, mother, 3 sisters and one brother. we have to strengthen them, and we have to strengthen my group too. My aspiration is to be a inhabitant cricketer as quick as probable and a best batsman in world.” He says it in one breath, but pausing for a uhhs and umms this time. “And we will marry my girlfriend.”