By Bipin Dani
The first thing Praveen Jayawickrama did after claiming the Man of the Match award on his Test debut was to make two calls.
The first was to his mother Nimali Pieris and the second was to his mentor Chamila Gamage, without whom Jayawickrama may not have even been in Sri Lanka to represent his country.
"His second call was to his mentor Chamila Gamage. Praveen did not forget to thank the former fast bowler Gamage, who has been his motivator all these years," Jayawickrama’s mother, who runs a driving school in her town, said.
Gamage had been the Kalutara district coach for eight years, under whom Jayawickrama and another current Test cricketer Pathum Nissanka played.
"It was Gamage who persuaded him to stay in Sri Lanka. In fact, my son was not getting an opportunity to play either in Development or Emerging squads and was considering leaving for the UK to play minor counties there. However, Chamila knew his talent well and inspired him to keep patience and wait for the right time to come and play for the country", Jayawickrama's mother said.