Middlesex spinner Thilan Walallawita has been granted British citizenship, bringing to an end a protracted process that has taken multiple years to resolve.
Walallawita, 23, moved to England aged 12 and came through the county’s youth system, only to find his path to regular senior cricket blocked by bureaucracy that meant he could not be registered as a local player, forcing him instead to compete with Middlesex’s overseas signings for a first-team berth.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a very long time, and it feels like today a massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” he said, also thanking Middlesex for their considerable support.
He added: “[I] am looking forward to repaying their faith in me by delivering for them on the pitch. Hopefully I can play my part in what we all hope will be a successful period for the club on the field.
“I’ve been a part of this county for 10 years and since I first started it’s been my ambition to play as a local player – at last that day has come.
“I can now concentrate fully on trying to cement my place in the side in all formats and no longer worry about things off the field that have been out of my control.”
The Cricketer understands that Walallawita’s citizenship was due to come through on April 19, but it has ultimately arrived three weeks earlier after much behind-the-scenes work.
The long road to resolving this issue included letters sent to Julian Knight MP, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Nadine Dorries, the secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Oliver Dowden, Walallawita’s local MP, who provided a direct response.