• Welcome to the Cricket Web forums, one of the biggest forums in the world dedicated to cricket.

    You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join the Cricket Web community today!

    If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us.

Chinaman Part Two – under arm


Cricketer Of The Year
Chinaman Part Two – under arm

[An adaptaion from a Sinhalese blog post: http://paadadaasapuva.blogspot.com/2016/02/blog-post_21.html]

The talk in the town is that Shehan Karunathilake, the author of the record seller “The Chinaman” is going to write part two of the story. And as we all have guessed, it is on Sri Lankan cricket too.The story consists of two parts, ten years apart.

The first part takes us to the late 70s. Three young men are coming to Colombo to begin their practices with the National team of Sri Lanka. All three travel by train. First is Dhanushka Bandara, played for Vidyartha Vidyalaya of Kandy (not one of the elite schools in Kandy). The quickest bowler since “Kehel Yaka” (Kehel the demon), or TB Kehelgamuwa of Dharmaraja College, Kandy. Strong as an ox and quick as lightening was he. Second, is Suneth Hewamithige, from St. Servatius' College, Matara. He was an adventurous batsmen, with very little respect for bowlers. He possessed a cover drive so violent, none of the off side fielders had a chance of a touch.

Third is less well known lad from Badulla. He used to be a net bowler to the estate owners cricket clubs, till one of his masters got impressed and sent him to Colombo via a contact of Colombo Cricket Club. That’s about what we know about him. No school is mentioned which “Raja” has attended, in fact we don’t know whether he is Rajalingam or Rajasinghe. This lad, a right arm leggie could certainly bowl. Leg breaks with variety of spin, top spin, flipper and googlies were all in his repertoire.

All three of them start practices with the National team, play first class matches and then international matches. The well known batsmen of the National team struggle against the guile spin and bounce of Raja. Batsmen who boasted as products of the Colombo elite schools, are made to look like clowns as the grope, guess, beaten and then shown the dressing room. The revenge is taken at the dressing room by these batsmen. The way Raja walks, talks, wears, inability to speak in English, poor usage of cutlery and crockery becomes talking points for these “gentlemen”.

Eventually Raja becomes the laughing stock of the dressing room. Even sympathizers of Raja were reluctant to have relations with him, fearing the backlash from the influential people in the team. The performance which usually read 5/40 drops to 2/90 sorts, as Raja is made to lose his confidence.

Suneth Hewamithige becomes the worst night mare of the bowlers. In every match, initial overs resulted in a run glut, where boundary was peppered with his bat. Suneth performed admirably in international matches, scoring frequent, run-a-ball half centuries. However, the coach doesn’t like him, because his style is not classical, and has a slanted bat when he plays the cover drive. The coaches rarely select him, and give the reason as an opening batsman should have a perfect technique., and Suneth will never be able to score a century as a result. Suneth’s replacements were players from Colombo elite schools, coached meticulously, with perfect technique. Most of the time they fail to reach double figures and once in a while make a century. “It’s not how many you make sana, it’s the way to make them” told the coach. Finally Suneth tries to play the cover drive with a straight bat, only to see that he also gets out before double figures.

Dhanushka Bandara’s name had been written on many things. This included gloves, helmets, ribs and boxes of batsmen. Even opening batsmen of the Ceylon team struggles to make contact, as they were beaten for pace, and wrapped on their armour to become battered blue and black. It was interesting that Dhanushka only gets selected to play in India and Pakistan. On barren dead pitches of subcontinent, Banda – the way he was referred in the team – bowls with plenty of steam. He takes a lot of wickets, injures few batsmen, but when tours away from subcontinet comes, he’s usually injured or rested. Only bowlers who played for Royal, St. Thomas, Trinity or St.Peters got the chance to play in England, New Zealand or Australia. Deep down Dhanushka knew that his days of express bowling was numbered. In 1982, Banda signs for the rebel South African tour – partly due to financial reasons – for the pleasure of bowling on a grassy track. He hits Mike Proctor on the head few times, sends Peter Kirsten to hospital with broken ribs and breaks a finger of Clive Rice.
With deporession, and being rejected, low on self esteem, Raja gets on the train and returns to Badulla. Today, he sells “wade” (a popular South Indian snack), with Podimenike in a hotel in Badulla. Suneth Hewamithige’s economic issues becomes severe, as he becomes increasingly sidelined from the team. His uncle introduces him to a job in People’s Bank at Matara, which he gleefully accepts. Today he is a quiet family man with his two kids, living in Matara. Banda directly goes to Kandy (by train) after the touchdown at Katunayake. From the money he gained from rebel tour, he starts a small business, a hardware. Today he is a successful business man. Round rather than lean, huffing and puffing after a hundred meter run, he cannot hit batsmen at will as he used to do.

Part two of the story begins in late eighties. A lad from St. Servatius' College, Matara, arrives at SSC for practices with the Sri Lankan team (once again by the train). This lad used to watch Suneth Hewamithige bat as in a trance. He is dark, left handed, strong as an ox, with fore arms as of steel, and unbelievably quick across the turf. He hit the ball with such power, as he wanted to send it to orbit. But, he never keeps his bat straight when cover driving.
Ghosts responsible for the downfall of Suneth Hewamithige starts to haunt him as well. But, this time around, a pricky, unfit, fat man, who played for Ananda asks him to continue as he was doing. His scores in initial matches were not flashy, but the fat man keeps encouraging him all the time, “Malli, play as you see it . . .” Five years later in Adelaide Australia . . . . . .
This story will be never written by Shehan Karunathilaka. Educated in a private school in Mt. Lavinia, graduated from a university in New Zealand, Shehan Karunathilaka will never write such a book.

It’s us who have to write this . . .


Request Your Custom Title Now!
Sounds a good read. That story about the leggie Raja is pretty ****ing sad tbh.


Cricketer Of The Year
These are half fictional as Chinaman story. But it tries to cover the story that Shehan Karunathillake, the Chinaman author tries to conceal deliberately. The non selection of people based on their social status and school they were educated in 70s to late 80s.

It was Arjuna Ranatunga who broke the ice, and that is the very reason he is held in such a high regard.