Monday, February 13, 2012

The Pleasure and Pain of Dinesh Chandimal

I have been blessed in my Life to have had many Sri Lankan friends and visited their paradise island on a few separate occasions. The one thing that stands out is the sincere beauty and warmth of the people that is so characterised by their broad brimmed smiles and lovely mannerisms coupled with the inner strength and steely resolve that you can see as you gaze in their eyes.


They will look after you, laugh with you, be loyal to you, but if you challenge them or present them with a threat they will never take a step back in the face of the confrontation. Rather a step forward to eyeball it, deal with it, and overcome it. You saw this in the brutal civil war that simmered and boiled on and off since 1971, that thankfully now has been put to rest. Then amidst this sincerest tragedy that raged, the Nation was brought to its knees by the 2004 Tsunami that devastated the Nation with 500000 people being displaced and tragically over 35000 people killed. This out of a population of 20 million underlining the magnitude of the heartbreak.
A 13 year old boy by the name of Dinesh Chandimal shared the burden of this with his family home being destroyed by the brutal tsunami and the livelihood of his father taken with it. This immense hardship that would have brought most others to their knees seems to have breed a real strength in him in the guise of a relentless desire to overcome and rise. This was not his only obstacle to overcome in his pursuit of a cricket career with the lack of finances of his family and then burden in a struggle with identity in his junior career weighing on him. That saw him burdened with the mental duress of being tagged a 'chucker' in his dabbling in off spin.

He later showed talent as a glove man, and then Fate steps in with him meeting Kusum Nandasiri, the first-XI coach of Dharmasoka, who encouraged him to become a top order batsman.


On this the day of love, Valentines Day how Mr Nandashiri's letter box must be over flowing with letters of affection in appreciation the role he has played in the rise of Chandimal!

A young player that has not only shown a real skill and dexterity with both bat and gloves in all forms of the game, but that determination and inner strength to meet and overcome challenge has risen to the fore.

There for all to see against the Indians in Harare in an ODI in 2010 when he lavished all our senses with a delightful century that was symbolised by his ice cool demeanour in a pressurised chase. Compelling us to stand and applaud him in all regards. You were in awe of his sublime skill, but you were made to feel chicken skin through the inspiration of a young man being the torch bearer as a leader of men. Despite him being basically still a slip of a lad.

The Sri Lankan Lion roared deep in this lad, and you could see it in his eyes that defined his unshakable belief in self, and made his Team mates buy into that in the sincerest manner. Indelibly seen in his Test debut in the 2nd Test in South Africa in the wake of an embarrassing loss in the first Test that prompted Kepler Wessels to exclaim a South Africa A side could defeat the tourists. Coming in with his side on the edge of another batting abyss at 162/5, Chandimal despite facing a brutal pace battery on a willing pitch hit a game changing 58. Just to make us understand it was not a fluke he repeated the dose in the 2nd innings with 54 and was impeccable behind the stumps with the gloves.

You had to pinch yourself to fully appreciate a 21 year old in very foreign confines in a virtual pressure cooker situation being the one leading from the front in this game that lead to a remarkable win.

Though when the sting of the pinch made you appreciate this. You realised that a new star on the World Cricket scene had been born that will dazzle with his skill and leave a legacy that will be sung in songs in honour of his natural leadership in generations to come.

11 comments:

  1. proud f him.. Keep it up Chandimal..

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  2. He indeed is a true blessing to the country!

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  3. Tim, which part of Ireland are you from?

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    1. Im from Derry, but live in Melbourne, Australia

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    2. Hi Tim, Nice article. But moving from Dharmasoka College to Ananada College Colombo got him the stardom. Sgouldn't forget his U-19 coach at Ananda, Mr. Lucky Rogers Fernando.

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  4. Wow, Mr. Tim! Absolutely beautiful piece! enjoyed it alot!! Keep up the good work! I too am a big fan of Chandimal and of the Sri Lankan team. I too have many good friends from this great island who are very nice people.

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  5. Nice piece Tim. He's one of my favourite players...He's had a good start to his test career...It'll be interesting if he'll have to compete for the keeper spot with Prasanna Jayawardena...

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  6. heart touching article...keep up the good work.Definitely CHANDIMAL will be a great batsman.

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  7. heart touching story. i hope he will be a legend lyk sachin

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  8. A man who sets an example for the world not only in cricket but in living. Proud Sri Lankan I am.!!

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