Asia Cup 2023: Matheesha Pathirana; Meteoric rise of the cricket sensation
The incredible journey of Matheesha Pathirana, the rising star in the world of cricket. From his humble beginnings to making waves in international cricket, Pathirana's rise is a story of determination and talent.
The remarkable rise of Matheesha Pathirana continues, the emerging 'slinga' sensation is leaving no stone unturned to prove his mettle and secure his place among cricket's elite. Discovered initially at Ranabima Royal College, merely six kilometers east of Kandy, Pathirana transitioned to Trinity College in the city during his mid-teens. With alumni like Kumar Sangakkara, Trinity has an impressive track record of producing top cricket talents in the province.
The subsequent years have been nothing short of extraordinary. A whirlwind of breathtaking pace, yorkers shattering stumps, and batsmen contorting to evade steep bounce from his round-arm action. Two appearances in Under-19 World Cups, dazzling performances in the Abu Dhabi T10 league, Thilina Kandamby identifying you as a star, and Darren Bravo taking notice. And then, a remarkable break - MS Dhoni, practically a demigod in your eyes, acknowledges your existence. He believes you can be a game-changer at the highest level of cricket, and his franchise team whisks you away to the grandest annual spectacle in the sport.
Late in the 2022 season, Adam Milne's injury opened the door for Pathirana to join the Chennai Super Kings squad, and he made a significant impression in the limited opportunities he received. Fast forward to 2023, and Pathirana is living a dream. As he walks back to his bowling mark to deliver another death over, the Chepauk stands reverberate with thunderous cheers. Thousands chant his name, urging him on. Over his shoulder, he receives guidance from one of the game's greatest white-ball strategists, instructing him on where to bowl, how fast to deliver, and how to outwit the batsman.
Even the IPL organisers unwittingly contributed to his meteoric rise by introducing the Impact Player rule. Currently, Pathirana's action is even lower than that of Lasith Malinga, the godfather of round-arm bowlers and his mentor. Consequently, he doesn't generate the outswing that Malinga often produced with the new ball.
However, what Pathirana does possess are those unplayable yorkers, bouncers that chase batsmen like muggers down a dark alley, and a slower ball that Malinga himself helped refine. All of these attributes make him a formidable death bowler, allowing him to bowl four overs of magic at the end of an innings.
Pathirana's extraordinary journey shows no signs of slowing down. It didn't stop when he played his first Asia Cup match in his hometown, Pallekele. A rapid bouncer in his first over fetched him his maiden wicket, dismissing Shakib Al Hasan, who could only glove the ball to the wicketkeeper. With another quick bouncer, he sent the experienced Mushfiqur Rahim packing. It will be interesting to see how he progresses in the rest of the tournament.