‘Airtel Fastest’ the hunt for the fastest undiscovered pace bowling talent in the island unearths Eshan Malinga. Dubbed the ‘Rathnapura Express’ Eshan currently studying at Rathnapura Seewali Central College unleashed a thunderbolt at 133 KMPH. The fastest recorded thus far among all schoolboy participants.
“I started the sport just as anyone else in the country by playing soft-ball cricket. I was very much interested in the game, so I pursued every option and opportunity I had. I was able to find a spot in a club through our district association, where I first played leather ball cricket.” he said when inquired about his inception to the sport.
Eshan, clocked in 127 KMPH in his preliminary selections at the ‘Airtel Fastest’. However, after the technical sessions conducted by veteran fast bowling coach Anusha Samaranyake, a few adjustments in his action was recommended and it proved to be a game changer.
“Anusha sir, adjusted my technique and he told me how I could improve my speed. I practiced those drills and when I came back to the second round, I was able to clock a speed of 133 KMPH.’ stated Eshan.
A new and improved Eshan Malinga, advanced on to the second round of the ‘Airtel Fastest’ where he was fortunate to train under the guidance of Sri Lanka`s finest, Chaminda Vaas.
Eshan sharing his experience said,” It was the first time I met Chaminda Vaas. I had only seen him in the television. For someone like me it was a huge deal. He trained us very well. All our sessions with him were videoed and analysed thereafter. It really helped us all because he was able to exactly pin-point our mistakes and help us to improve.”
As a senior-school student, balancing studies and sports have been a stiff task for the young man. Travelling from Rathnapura to the commercial capital of the country, exposes him to further financial challenges in life.
“It`s not an easy task. I have a lot of obstacles in my life, especially financial challenges. But my parents with the greatest difficulty provide me with all my needs and it has really helped me to come this far in the competition. Balancing my sports and studies is the other prime challenge. I have to thank all my school friends and my teachers who help me immensely to cover missed work.”
Every budding cricketer in the Island, dreams of wearing the Sri Lankan Jersey with the ‘Lion’ next to their beating heart. Eshan Malinga dreams nothing less.
“My future plan is to represent my country, and ‘Airtel Fastest’ has been a great platform for me. I learnt from the best coaches and players in the country. Both Anusha Samaranayake and Chamnida Vaas gave us immense knowledge that will help us to play at that level.”
As Eshan Malinga, pays his gratitude to his family, friends and his well wishes, he hopes to complete his studies and move to Colombo. Upon his moving, he will begin his domestic cricket career and his hope of wearing the ‘Lion’ with pride will see reality eventually.