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We shared the same breadfruit with my whole family

26 Mar 2021

[caption id="attachment_126476" align="alignleft" width="386"] Pathum Nissanka on Wednesday (24) became only the fourth Sri Lankan to score a Test century on debut[/caption] * Remarkable rise of Pathum Nissanka stuns Sri Lanka * Father reveals abject poverty his family had to undergo * Gave him the cricket bat since he started walking * The island is proud of boy who dared life’s challenges * Kuruppu advises to tread journey with caution   By Revatha S. Silva Pathum Nissanka Silva – Sri Lankan Diego Maradona has arrived. Wherever he is going to end up from here, be it in the IPL-like conundrum or the luxuries that would demolish his cricket –like what happened to many promising youngsters in the recent times— Nissanka has already made a bold statement: Sri Lanka is a place where talent can prosper and reach great heights, no matter what their financial standard could be. Nissanka has also made both Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and all its political detractors too (as they too were in SLC time and again) extremely proud because all of them have assured collectively one thing: a poor boy can represent the country if they are gritty, focussed, and persevering enough. Their economic standard does not matter! The England structure produced a son of a groundsman, Dan Lawrence, in their national ranks. India raised Thangarasu Natarajan, son of a poor weaver in Tamil Nadu, to international level. Sri Lanka on Wednesday (24) saw one of her youngsters scoring a century in his debut Test match in the West Indies emerging from probably the most abject of poverty lines, from Kalutara, about 50kms south of Colombo. “I planned to have a boy as my second child only to make him a national cricketer one day. I gave him the cricket bat since the day he started walking. We didn’t have a permanent place to live. Wednesday was a proud moment for us,” said Sunil Silva, father of Nissanka when The Morning Sports met him at the Kalutara Esplanade yesterday (25). [caption id="attachment_126477" align="alignleft" width="323"] Pathum’s father Sunil Silva talking to the Morning Sports yesterday (25)[/caption] An assistant in the Kalutara Town Club (KTC), adjoining the esplanade, Sunil did various odd jobs before taking to full-time cricket coaching after a brief career with the leather ball. He has one daughter too older to Pathum. They lived in a section of the KTC clubhouse and adjacent house temporarily, suffering without any permanent income. “We have shared the same breadfruit for a meal for the four members of my family. Those problems are difficult to explain,” he said while tears welled up in his eyes. Nissanka is the seventh proud product of Kalutara Vidyalaya following Dulip Liyanage, Sajeewa de Silva, Malinga Bandara, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sujeewa de Silva, and Milinda Siriwardene, who all went on to represent the country at the highest level by starting their cricket under unassuming coach Sunil Saluwadana. Nissanka later joined the famous Isipathana College in Colombo for his Under-19 level and honed his skills further. Talking about Nissanka’s rare feat of making a Test hundred on debut and his remarkable rise to the top, Brendon Kuruppu, former Sri Lankan opener who also scored a double-hundred in his Test debut in 1987 before being a national selector, said Nissanka has a bright future if he is to tread safely from here on. “I saw him first when I was a national selector somewhere around 2015. He had a great talent and temperament. He needs to give emphasis to the longer version of cricket rather than short formats in the initial period. If not, it might affect his solid technique. Nissanka will be able to serve Sri Lanka cricket for many more years to come if he is planning the journey wisely and intelligently from here on,” Kuruppu stressed.   [caption id="attachment_126478" align="alignright" width="670"] The Kalutara Town Club (KTC) and the adjoining houses where Nissanka lived his early life[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_126479" align="alignnone" width="564"] The KTC clubhouse[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_126480" align="alignnone" width="475"] The main entrance today at Kalutara Vidyalaya[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_126481" align="alignnone" width="508"] As Kalutara Vidyalaya is seen from the Colombo-Galle Main Road [/caption]

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