A Cricketer and a Family Man

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DSC_1046Dilhara Fernando first started playing cricket in 1995 at the age of 15. Before embracing the game of cricket he was a basketball player for De Mazenod College, Kandana where he had his education. The basketball court and the cricket grounds were situated at close proximity, hence while he was playing basketball he always used to watch cricket matches played in the neighboring ground. One day the cricket team was running short of one player for a match, and Dilhara was asked if he wanted to play since he had the height and the build. He was an active kid since his early childhood and was into sports a lot. So he accepted the invitation and played the game that day and it triggered a special kind of hunger towards Cricket in his life and hence he gave up basketball. And thus his life was changed forever when the ‘cricket fever’ took hold.

When he was a young lad his father fell ill and as a result his entire family endured a very hard time. Fueled by his dream young Dilhara pushed himself beyond his limits, determined that one day he would play for the National Cricket team. He never took his eye off the ball. One day while he was playing a school match, umpire ‘Lalith Jayasundara’ who noticed his talent convinced ‘Arjuna Ranatunga’ who was the captain of the Sri Lankan Cricket Team back then, to pay attention to Dilhara’s bowling as he might be a good addition for the team. Arjuna who was immediately impressed by his bowling skills, provided him a place in the national team. He played his debut test match for Sri Lanka against Pakistan at Colombo in June 2000. And since that day he has played an integral role in the bowling attack of the National Cricket team and is considered one of the finest pace man our country has produced. .

Question: What is Cricket to you? How did it make an impact in your life?

Some people think cricket is their life. But for me it’s just a part of my life. I don’t make cricket my life. We live for around sixty or seventy years of our lives but we play cricket only for like 10 or 15 years so it’s just only one part of me. I consider family life as a main priority to me and what I should do next after cricket is what I’m focusing right now and that’s how everyone should be.


Question: Tell us about the responses you receive from your fans? How do you reciprocate?

Fan responses are not bad. I get good responses. I receive phone calls, messages etc. and when people meet me on the road or at functions they come and talk me without hesitating and therefore I could say I have a good fan base.

Question: You had to suffer from numerous injuries in the past. What can you say about it?

Yes I faced a lot of injuries. In 2012 my right eye was blackened for a period of time and my vision was impaired but now I have recovered from it. And I suffered a lot of back injuries but I believe that is the norm for any fast bowler.

Question: What’s your best experience or incident you have encountered in your cricket career?

There are so many. Having had the opportunity to play for three world cups itself is quite a privilege. My first match against Pakistan was quite a memorable one. And also my first six wicket haul is another. I’m also one of the five players in Sri Lankan cricket history to take more than five wickets in a match, so I’m happy about that achievement as well.


Question: How did you balance your family life with cricket?

I didn’t put much of an effort to balance family life in such a manner. Whenever I’m not playing I made sure I’m at home. Sometimes my wife also travelled with me on tours overseas, so it was not much of a problem to balance my family life along with cricket.

(Contd. in Jan. 2015 Issue )

By: Heshan Perera



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