The first thing after claiming the Man of the Match award on his debut Test, Sri Lanka’s newest spinner Praveen Jayawickrama did was to make two calls from the pavillion.
His first call was to his mother Nimali Pieris , who blessed her son for the fabulous perforamnce.
“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”, the mother, who runs a driving school in her town, said exclusively over the telephone.
Gamage had been Praveen and Pathum Nissanka’s District coach at Kaluthara for eight years.
“It was Gamage who persuaded him to be in Sri Lanka. In fact, my son was not getting an opporunity to play either in Development or Emrging squads and was considering to leave for UK to play minor countires 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”, the mother said. Praveen may have dedicated his best performance to his late father.
He was advised by Gamage to keep the image of his father at the back of his mind before going to field on each day of the Test.
Interestingly, Gamage did remember his late mother when he was selected to play his first Test.
Gamage took a wicket with his first ever delivery in Test cricket and he dedicated Mohammad Ashraful’s wicket (Colombo, July 2002) to his late mother.
Members of the Sri Lankan team celebrated the series win with a cake cutting. “Captain Dimuth cut the cake for all of us”, a member of the squad, speaking from the team bus said.
“Players left the ground and most of them headed to Colombo”, the source added. The players living in Kandy did not board the bus and few of them had their own vehicles”, the source added.