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Fitness is the key to Chamika’s success

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“I like the finishing overs. Team management asked me whether I would like to bat at no. 7 and I told them if you want me to I don’t’ mind. But the captain, selectors and everyone said that I am doing well in the finishing overs. However I am ready to bat in any position.

Karunaratne the 25 year old all-rounder comes from a sporting family. His father Louis was a former cricketer and Badminton player later became a Badminton coach. His three elder brothers Niluka, Dinuka and Diluka are National Badminton players and Niluka is the most decorated shuttler in Sri Lanka having represented Olympics three times. Chamika the youngest of the family entered the National team as a Test team fast bowler but now he has turned to be a good all-rounder.

He started his cricket from Royal College Colombo and later started club cricket from Tamil Union and crossed over to NCC where he performed well to gain ODI and T20 format as an all-rounder two years after playing his first Test match. He came to this level with dedication and commitment. He is not only a cricketer but a shuttler and athlete and later preferred to play cricket to come to this level.

“I started my cricket career from Royal College under 13 ‘C’ team in 2008. At that time already 40 players were in A and B teams of the under 13 in my school but I couldn’t enter the 40 player pool. However I was the highest scorer among C division cricket teams and as a result I was selected to play under 13 A team in same year. My first coach was Rohan Soysa and from there I was able to represent all age groups in school.”

“Actually I was playing Badminton from the ages of seven years and my three brothers Niluka, Diluka and Dinuka were playing badminton at that time. Then I also started athletics and was adjudged best athlete in Grade 3. I was under 11 Badminton champion before I started my cricket career. In the meantime our Athlatic coach invited me to join as a Javelin thrower. He noticed my throwing skills at cricket to invite me. I have broken National schools under 14 record at the College selection meet and was able to continue Javelin throw as the schools number one athlete until under 17 age group. At one time I was adjudged best thrower in schools.

“When I was just 15 years old I captained College under 19 Badminton team and was the National Badminton runner-up losing to my eldest brother Niluka also ranked number two shuttler during that year.

“However I selected Cricket as my major sport and also captained Royal College under 19 team in 2014 and that was the touring point of my cricket career. My club cricket career started from Tamil Union Club and my first year I was able to play only four Premier matches. Following year I played whole season Premier League , limited over as well as under 23 and was able to score more than 400 runs and capture 23 wickets as an all rounder .With this performance I was able to enter Sri Lanka emerging squad and National fast bowling sqaud .Former fast bowlers Chamila Gamage and Chaminda Vass were very helpful to build up my skills at that time with their Coaching.Actually I did really well for Emerging team especially against Ireland.”

“When I played for Sri Lanka A against Ireland team suddenly I was called to the National team practices and that was unforgettable and got a chance to make my debut against Australia in 2019. when we started our warm up training before the Canberra test Suranga Lakmal had a leg injury and team management told me to be ready to replace Lakmal. I was shocked at that time. Luckily I got a wicket in my first over. However I had a injury and was out of the field nearly two months. My aim was to enter National side once again and trained hard and maintained my fitness.

“I have to thank God that I am here now. I really had a hard time in the last 10-11 months where I worked really hard. Actually I didn’t get selected even to the 1st LPL in Sri Lanka. It was really sad but never was disheartened. In the last 6-8 months I worked really hard in batting, bowling and fitness,” said Karunaratne,.I always highly appreciated my all coaches from school to club level and Sri Lanka emerging, A team and National team coaches.

Especially my parents and three brothers Niluka,Diluka and Dinuka always backed and encouraged me.”

“Fitness is the key for me. Even in my small days in school, in the Sri Lanka under-19 team, the emerging team and national team I was the fittest. That’s the main thing for me doing fitness and doing hard work.

Especially when you talk about confidence, it is coming from my family because I was Sri Lanka’s number one javelin champion in under 17, 15, 14 and 13 age groups.

“When I come to the ground for any sport at any time, even a school match I always want to win. I want to give not 100 per cent but 200 per cent. as, you will end up with 100 per cent or 120” continued Karunaratne. This always shows his commitment to the game.

Chamika Karunaratne is always very active on the field and he is known as “Unanduwa” ‘ with his skills on the field. The bowling all rounder is an asset for the National team. He wants to play all three formats. He wants to become world’s best all rounder one day and work hard to achieve his goal. But he always wants to play for the team and bring honour for the country.”

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