Fast bowler Dhammika Prasad ended his international cricket career that spanned well over 15 years, after officially making an announcement on Thursday at his club, the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC). Prasad, known to have a heart of gold, however, failed to deliver his best since a shoulder injury took him off the international scene in [...]


Ragama, here I come

Dhammika Prasad announces retirement from international cricket

Thank you God, for the good times - Prasad

Fast bowler Dhammika Prasad ended his international cricket career that spanned well over 15 years, after officially making an announcement on Thursday at his club, the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC).

Prasad, known to have a heart of gold, however, failed to deliver his best since a shoulder injury took him off the international scene in 2015. But he retired at the age of 37 years and 267 days, as a veteran of 107 international wickets — 75 in Tests and 32 in One-Day Internationals.

One of the two presentations shown at his retirement ceremony, showed a series of photos and video clips of Prasad’s surgery done to his shoulder. In it he takes a mountain of pain on the road to recovery. But never did he find his usual spot in the Sri Lanka team, where Prasad had cemented and dominated as the opening bowler.

He last played for Sri Lanka against West Indies on October 22-26, 2015 at the P. Sara Oval, the very game the now-much-talked-about Kusal Mendis made his Test debut. Prasad claimed five wickets in the game, but never in his wildest dream would he ever thought that would be his final game with the number 110 in his Test kit.

Hailing from Ragama, Prasad claims a unique record. Throughout his life and cricket career Prasad is known to be one of the few who had stuck himself on to one entity constantly. He proudly claims of his school De Mazenod College, Kandana, known to have produced another fast bowler Dilhara Fernando. As Fernando, Prasad went on to represent SSC in the domestic circuit and remains loyal to his club ever since 2001.

Unlike many other cricketers, who move away from their hometowns to better and posh neighbourhoods, Prasad still lives in his city of birth, Ragama, and is popular in and around there, not only for cricket but for the amount of social services he still continues to engage in.

During the recent island-wide lockdown, Prasad has provided over 2,000 less-privileged families of the Gampaha district with essential goods, a fact only a handful know about.

Interestingly Prasad played cricket for his school, De Mazenod, not as a fast bowler, but as a top order batsman. His then master-in-charge, Malik Keerthi, fondly recalled of a crucial century Prasad scored against St Peter’s College in a First XI match coming into bat at No. 3.

But his fate changed for good when Keerthi Gunaratne, Prasad’s then coach at school, asked him to take the first ball. From there Prasad’s career blossomed. He was picked to represent Sri Lanka Under-19s, Sri Lanka ‘A’ and then Sri Lanka.

“I was called to do net bowling to the Sri Lanka team during the time I was in the national Under-19s. I bowled to Marvan Atapattu during a session and managed to get him bowled out several times. He asked me if I’m playing for any club. At that time I was after a six-month cricket scholarship from England and I was free. He asked me if I’m interested in joining SSC and that’s how I joined the club,” Prasad recalled.

His international debut was a One-Day International against Bangladesh at Chittagong in 2006, where he claimed two wickets in his first over. After a couple of games, the beginning of his injury that would finally contribute to his decision of retirement, sidelined him for some months.

After recovering, Prasad made a comeback to the Sri Lanka ‘A’ side in 2007. During his sabbatical, Prasad managed to develop and add variations into his bowling and that helped him become a consistent bowler in the ‘A’ side. This earned him a Test call up against India in 2008.

“He claimed three wickets in his first game. The wickets were of Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid — all important ones. This was an impressive start for a fast bowler, but what’s good in Dhammika’s retirement is, he will be able to really enjoy life. Being an energetic, positive, outgoing and friendly person he is, he deserves this. For him, life really starts from now,” Marvan Atapattu, who paid a brief visit to Prasad’s occasion, stated.

As his former skipper described of Prasad, the fast bowler has been able to become the live wire of the dressing room, be it Sri Lanka, SSC or any other side he is in with. Rarely seen losing his temper on the field, Rangana Herath, who claimed that he was comfortable sharing the ball with Prasad to apply pressure on the opponents, recalled a few light moments involving the paceman.

“I remember in 2015 at the SSC in a Test against India, there was almost a fight between Dhammika and Ishant Sharma. We thought that it would lead to many ugly things to follow, but what we saw later in the day at the hotel lobby made us and the Indian team look like dupes. Dhammika and Sharma were having coffee together in the lobby of the hotel we were staying in. That’s Dhammika Prasad I know. He quickly forgets anything that shouldn’t stay in your mind,” Herath recalled.

After all his contributions to Sri Lanka cricket, Prasad proudly claimed that he does not have any regrets through his career at all. A family man and a devoted father of a daughter and son — Dihashi and Dihash — Prasad highly admired the support he received from his wife, Nihari Silva.

While extensively thanking each person who influenced or helped him throughout his life, including his parents, brother and in-laws, Prasad mentioned the only regret he had, if there were any.

“My daughter, Dihashi, made a plea after my shoulder surgery in 2015. She said that I should play for Sri Lanka again and she wanted me somehow to really focus on that. Regrettably, I haven’t been able to do that. If I had any regret, that would be not being able to fulfill my little girl’s wish,” Prasad said with a heavy heart.

Prasad played 25 Tests, 24 One-Day Internationals and a Twenty20 for Sri Lanka before his career was blighted by injuries, which eventually was the indirect cause for his retirement. In Tests, Prasad has a tally of 75 wickets and 41 out of them came in 2015 during nine matches. He has claimed 32 ODI wickets and from 130 first class games has a tally of 351 wickets.

He is currently focusing on a career in coaching, already being qualified to a certain level. Prasad stated that he would continue to play for his club SSC for a season or two, with the sole intention of grooming and motivating the youngsters, a vision he dearly wishes to engage in his afterlife of cricket.

Share This Post


Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.