Thirimanne — a promising batsman
Dilanka Mannankara, from the Daily News, 30 April 2011
Lahiru Thirimanna is one of the most promising batsmen in the domestic circuit with a wonderful technique,a solid defence and a great temperament for the longer version of the game. “Thiri” who primarily bats as an opener or one down was thought of very highly by the selectors,the coaches and the management as a potential star for the Lankan national team. I have seen Lahiru bat with ease against top fast bowling and it was a treat to watch him belt Indian speedster Sreesanth for three crisp fours in a one day match in India.
Lahiru was unfortunately dropped from the side even after performing quite well in very limited opportunities as the previous set of selectors headed by Aravinda De Silva preferred the experience of inconsistent Chamara Silva and a woeful Chamara Kapugedara instead of young talent. But things have turned around and the new selectors in office have drafted Lahiru for the all important test tour inEngland. I met up with him and pondered a few hard hitting questions. These are some excerpts from the interview:
Q – You are back in the Lankan squad after playing against India last year. Did you expect this opportunity and how happy do you feel about it?
A – I feel very happy to be in the squad once again and my consistent performances with the bat have finally done justice to me.
I have done very well with the bat in this domestic Premier League and have scored over 450 runs in 8 matches and I only batted in 10 innings. I also scored two centuries and two half centuries and my average is close to 60. Most importantly my technique and my game style suits test cricket a lot more.
I thought that I would get a chance to get in to the team as I scored two hundred for the Board President’s 11 against thePakistanand Indian national teams in their practice games. I have been consistent throughout and it had finally paid off and I am raring’ to have a go inEngland.
Q – You last played an ODI against Zimbabwe and was dropped, your thoughts?
A – I had to bat at No 7 in that match which I am not familiar with and I scored 17 runs off 21 balls coming to bat in the 43nd over of the innings. A young team went for that tri series and I got an opportunity and I did well but I was dropped since senior players returned for the next tournaments.
Q – You are in the test squad for the second time and you were a reserve for three matches against India. How keen are you to make your debut?
A – I was in the squad which played againstIndia where Murali got 800 wickets. I didn’t get a chance in that series because the seniors were doing well. But this time around since Angelo Mathews is injured and if I perform well in the practice games,I might get a chance to make my debut.
Q – If you make your debut,you would be one of the few players to make your debut in England which is a rarity. The conditions will be tough,so are you ready for the challenge?
A – I would feel very happy and lucky if I make my debut inEngland because usually young players are given opportunities only in home games. Only the best players travel toEngland and I feel privileged to be in such a squad.
Yes the ball will swing around quite a lot and we would have to hit through the line when batting on English pitches.
But as international batsmen we cannot complain on such things and especially since I am an opener,I would definitely have to adjust to the conditions.
Q – You are in as a cover opener and if you are selected as a middle order player in the 11,how would you approach it?
A – I have batted at No 6,7 in Twenty 20 format for Basnahira South and Uva so I have some experience in batting as a middle order batsman. But definitely I prefer to open the innings.
Q – You have never played in England so how would you approach this testing tour after batting on flat pitches in Sri Lanka?
A – I have played inAustralia andNew Zealand for the Under 19 team and Sri Lanka A team. So I have some experience in batting in pitches where the ball comes fast on to the bat and there is good bounce and movement. We are practising with the Duke ball which is used in Engalnd and the two practice games would be a great opportunity to get used to the conditions.
Q – You are currently listed at a low No 18 position in the highest run getters in the domestic Premier league. Do you consider yourself as lucky to get in to the squad where youngsters like Roshen Silva, Dimuth Karunarathne and Sachithra Serasinghe have scored much more?
A – Well I have only batted in 10 innings and I scored centuries against a good NCC bowling attack and a CCC attack. Roshen and Sachithra are middle order players and they have batted in more innings than me.I have more experience than Dimuth and I think my technique is suited for test cricket and most importantly I have been very consistent over the last 2,3 seasons. I was the third highest run getter in last year’s premier league as well. So I think that I have earned my place in to the squad.
Q – You scored a lot of runs in the last three seasons. What have you done differently?
A – Well I haven’t changed my technique but I have been more mature over the past two years and have adjusted to the match situation quickly. I feel that I have the appetite to score runs and not to gift my wicket easily. I have scored four 140 odd scores as well,140 has been unlucky forme.( laughing)
Q – How has been the practising sessions without the core players like Sangakkara, Mahela and Dilshan.?
A – Only 7 of us practise right now. They will join us in England for the second practice game and I feel that practising in England would be the most important thing,so they wont miss much.
Thirimanne.s magnificent 102 runs
Chris Dhambarage16 July 2010
Promising left hander Lahiru Thirimanna joined the list of centurions with a magnificent 102 as the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI drew their three day practice match against the touring Indian cricket team at the Colts grounds in HavelockParkyesterday. The 20-year-old stylish opening batsman who missed out an opportunity in the first innings made amends and went on to reach the three figure mark from 142 balls inclusive of two sixes and nine boundaries.
Thirimanna who was out for 66 in the first innings made his intentions quite clear from the start and settled down to play a long innings where he occupied the crease for nearly three full sessions. After the home side lost the first innings centurion Upul Tharanga cheaply, Dinesh Chandimal joined Thirimanna and the pair build up the innings with a fine second wicket stand of 113 runs. Both these players, fresh after returning from Australia with the Sri Lanka‘A’ team demonstrated great skill and temperament to frustrate the fielding side during the opening session. Chandimal was the more aggressive as he raced to a 56 ball 69 inclusive of four sixes and nine boundaries before losing his wicket shortly before the lunch interval. However Thirimanna concentrated towards reaching a well deserved century and was fifth out with the total on 243. As a resultIndiawill head towards Galle for the opening Test match against Sri Lanka somewhat demoralized after being completely outplayed in the three day practice match. They failed to bowl out the home side in both innings and conceded four centuries.
The only bright spot for the Indians was the century from their middle order batsman Yuvraj Singh and left-arm spinner Prgyan Ojha who added three more wickets in the second innings following his five wicket haul in the first inning.