Buddhija: a cricketer and a magician

By Olu Anthony 

Meet Buddhija, a 14 year old young cricket star from Lyceum International School, Nugegoda who one daydreams of becoming a champion just like his idols are. Except for excelling in cricket, he’s also a dazzling magician, making Buddhija an even more interesting youngster among his friends. 

Please introduce yourself to the Little Stars audience. 

My name is Buddhija Atapattu. I’m 12 years old. My school is Lyceum International school, Nugegoda. I love to play cricket. I go to the Colombo Crickets Club for practices. 

Since when have you been playing cricket? To whom do you play for? 

I started playing cricket as a sport on the 19 September 2017 at the CCC School of Cricket. Before I started playing it, I didn’t know much about it. But it had always been a sport I loved. My head coach is Nelson Mendis. He is a great coach who has helped me a lot. Starting from Grade 5, I started playing cricket at school as well and I was immediately selected to the school team since I already had enough practice. I have continued playing for the CCC cricket team as well. 

CCC is known for discipline. Even more than practicing cricket, they teach us about discipline and shape us boys into real men. Our coach is also a superb coach who teaches us the importance of discipline. For example, it’s mandatory that we always wear the handkerchief and the cap given by the club. We have a specific practice kit we are supposed to wear. 

Are you a batsman, baller, or a fielder? 

I’m an all-rounder. The most important position to be playing is fielding. Which is also my favourite thing to do. If I had to choose between batting and bowling, I’d choose bowling. Because I’m a bowling all-rounder. I use techniques such as Orthodox, Chinaman and as variation, Carrom ball, Flipper, Googly. I like balling the Orthodox the most. 

Who is a player you look up to? Foreign or Sri Lankan? 

When it comes to bowling, it is Rangana Herath. As an all-rounder I like Ben Stokes, who is an English cricketer. When it comes to fielding I like Jonty Rhodes who is a South African cricketer. When it comes to batting, I like Aravinda De Silva. 

Your friends think you ball like Rangana Herath. Why is that? Do you like being called so? 

When Rangana Herath balls, he turns. His body isn’t facing straight, and he angles his body. That is exactly how I ball too so many have told me that my technique is similar to his. But I do not prefer being called so. I want to be me. I want them to say ‘that’s like Buddhija’ not Rangana Herath. 

You also like football. If you had to choose one, what would it be? 

It would be cricket of course. As much as I like knowing the scores after a football game, I don’t like watching the games. Results are interesting and it’s fun to play football with my friends. But when it comes to cricket, I want to watch it, learn it, and play it for the rest of my life. I hope to make a career out of it someday. 

How often do you play football? 

When I was in Grade 5, I played football the whole year during the intervals. Except for that, not very often. Whenever I play with my neighbour’s kids, we play football. 

I heard you like magic. What kind of tricks do you know? 

I know card tricks. Mind reading tricks. Rubber band tricks and many more stuff. I know over 100 tricks. 

What is your favourite game show? Tell us a bit about it. 

I like Takeshi’s Castle, which is an obstacle course that we start with 100 people and it goes on with many adventures to play with. I like it because it’s fun to watch people get messy and clumsy. 

Who do you think is the best cricketer that has ever played? Why do you think so? 

I cannot name exactly one. From Sri Lankan players I like Dhananjaya De Silva. Because I’ve noticed that, if he fails in batting, he will definitely deliver a show with bowling. If he fails in bowling, he will definitely do something worthwhile while batting. In case he fails in both, he will be remembered with the fielding. 

Tell us something that happened during practice or on the field that is the most memorable. 

My best memory is when during a match, in the last ball they needed exactly one mark to win. I was small during that time. I was bowling and I managed to get a wicket with the last bowl. Everyone cheered me on and carried me on their shoulders. I will never forget that moment.