SSC’s man of the moment – Kaushal  By Naushad Amit If the word ‘resurgence’ stands for what it is, last weekend Kaushal Silva definitely gave this word a new definition. Kaushal at the age of 26 has represented the country in of three Tests, but, fell out of favour thereafter. Yet this young lad played [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

A stitch in time, but a knock for the future


SSC’s man of the moment – Kaushal 

By Naushad Amit

If the word ‘resurgence’ stands for what it is, last weekend Kaushal Silva definitely gave this word a new definition. Kaushal at the age of 26 has represented the country in of three Tests, but, fell out of favour thereafter. Yet this young lad played his heart out last weekend by standing tall like the rock of Gibraltar.

His side was in the dumps at 35 for 3. So the initial fight was to of salvage a draw. Yet the final outcome was like an episode of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Kaushal’s side – the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) marched to the Sri Lanka Cricket Inter-Club Premier Championship against Moors Sports Club by six wickets.

“I have done reasonably well in the recent domestic seasons to prove my consistency as a specialised batsman.” - Pic by Amila Gamage

First when Kaushal walked in it was 35 for three, in reply to Moors SC’s first innings total of 262 runs. But in no time Kaushal saw side was reeling at 168 for 8. Then it all began like a miracle. Kaushal stood at one end to make a well composed 171 runs off 240 balls to guide his side to a respectable total of 324 runs. SSC ended with a first innings lead of 62 runs.

During his knock Kaushal was associated in two partnerships. One worth 102 runs for the ninth wicket with fast bowler Dhammika Prasad and then a 54-run partnership for the tenth wicket with Kasun Madushanka. Carrying on his form during the second innings, Kaushal made 88 runs more to help SSC chase 262 runs inside 80 overs.

With this feat Kaushal has made 23 hundreds and 33 half centuries during his seven-year First Class cricket career. According to the SSC run machine, his 23rd ton last week erased his previous best for many reasons. “Nothing was pre-planned as we were struggling for survival and hoping for the best to happen on that Saturday, especially on our home ground. Our batsmen had dominated the competition from the beginning but that certainly was not our day. We lost wickets regularly and we saw us reeling at 168-8. It was at this juncture that I became more determined to safeguard my end. I badly needed a solid partner in the other end. Finally I did find that cohort in Dhammika Prasad. I think it was the best thing that could have happened for SSC considering the fact that we had lost eight wickets,” Kaushal recalled of how it all began.

“My best knock earlier was the 112 runs made for Academy XI against England ‘A’, but I can surely place this knock above it. This was special as it came a time when SSC was eight wickets down, in a final and more importantly at a time when the team expected a win. Someone had to rise to the occasion and I’m proud that it was me who eventually became that someone,” he added.

But composing a knock of that sort is not an easy task, especially when his team lost renowned batsmen and relying much on the tailenders. However Kaushal depicted his maturity while building up his own knock to dig out the batting abilities of bowling specialists like Prasad and Madushanka.

“During our century stand Dhammika and I did not plan anything in a big way. As a much experienced batsman I made it a point to brake our sessions into five runs each. We went by five runs at a time and whenever we accomplished that target we acknowledged each other. This series of celebrations probably was probably was having a strange effect on the opponents, but by the time they understood the motive behind it, we had come too far. There were occasions when Dhammika had to face bouncers and yorkers, but I spoke to him every now and then to help keep his composure. Eventually we had made a number of little hops into one great journey. It was the same with Madushan for the tenth wicket. I gave him the same encouragement but after the previous partnership Madushan was adamant to hang around. He adjusted well as a tailender and even took the challenge to face an entire over against a new ball. Eventually we had made a greater impact to our team’s winning chances,” Kaushal, a team man as he is preferred to be known explained.

Again in the second innings Moors made 323 runs leaving SSC a target of 262 runs with well over two sessions and nearly 81 overs remaining on the final day. Kaushal continued to play a vital role in SSC’s second innings as he made a well composed 88 runs from 105 deliveries inclusive of nine fours and a six taking his total tally of boundaries to 32 fours and two sixes during that victorious encounter. But 27 runs away from a possible win Kaushal lost his poise and threw away his wicket thus leaving his skipper Thilina Kandamby to do the honours of scoring the winning runs.

“I always make it a point to play for pride under whatever circumstances. During my seven-year First Class career, I also have set myself with certain standards as a player. I do not regret getting out for 88 runs in our run chase, when we were sniffing victory with five more overs to go. I could have waited till that winning moment. I have to admit that I lost my concentration and played a bad shot. But I played my part for the team. I seriously wanted my team to record an outright win in the final and achieving that was grateful above anything else.”

Kaushal said Coach Avishka Gunawardene and his assistant Kapila Weerasinghe are great motivators and they know what is best for the SSC. The coaches possess a balanced view on all players.

“I think SSC has a well balanced team and a mixture of players. There are players at SSC from different walks of life but as a team we enjoy camaraderie. I think that is the reason why SSC is one of the top cricket teams in Sri Lanka even today.”

With this season’s accolades Kaushal has accumulated a total of 7809 First Class runs at an average of 47.61 in 123 matches. His List ‘A’ career spans 110 matches with a tally of 2607 runs with an average of 36.71. Kaushal has never played First Class cricket other than for his club, the SSC and emerging team’s of Sri Lanka Cricket and the Sri Lanka ‘A’ side where he has served for a considerably long period as its wicketkeeper/batsman. At the conclusion of this year’s Premier Cricket season Kaushal became the top run getter after making 1073 runs from 13 innings. He averages 89.41 under a healthy strike rate of 71.10 with five centuries and three fifties. In total he has reached the boundary 135 times and hit three sixes. This feat follows his form at the Inter-Club Limited Overs tournament where he became the second best run getter with a tally of 380 runs, which is also the same tally made up by the top batsman of the tournament. Here Kaushal completes the tournament with an average of 54.28 in nine innings under a strike rate of 80.00. All these achievements have become a possibility today according to Kaushal’s own assessment is due to the self-imposed qualities that he tries to adhere all the time.

“As a batsman I’m never satisfied with a knock of 50. I always aim to reach the magical triple figure. I have scored five tons and three half centuries during this year’s tournament, to accumulate 1073 runs. I could have made my sixth century if not for the bad mistake in the second innings at the final. After reaching a fifty any batsman will like to transform it to a hundred and I’m someone who is always with that hunger.”

Despite all these silver linings portrayed around, Kaushal’s international career still stands gloomy as he is considered as second fiddle to Sri Lanka’s permanent Test wicketkeepers. But Kaushal observes a totally different view. He never considers the likes of Prasanna Jayawardene as a threat or an obstruction to his international career but considers as a great challenge in his quest to reach the national side.

“Obviously I have to prove better than Prasanna and Co to take that position. I think I have done reasonably well during the recent domestic seasons but I have never been treated as a specialised batsman. The selectors treat me as a wicketkeeper/batsman and I will be happy if they look at me as a genuine batsman. Wicketkeeping can be considered as an extra ability. I have played three Tests, two against Pakistan and one against South Africa. I admit that I could not perform to my ability but I managed to make reasonably good knocks. And it’s not fair to categorise me strictly as a Test player. I’m ready for ODI’s and Twenty20 and my List ‘A’ average proves my consistency.

“Some say that I cannot hit sixes, but cricket is not all about sixes. I have hit 135 boundaries this season and scored over 1000 runs. If someone can be consistent as a batsman what more can one expect? I consider myself as a batsman who can fit into any format because I have the mixture to score from singles as well as sixes. But I think I was not treated fairly during the recent times. I hope things will change in time. I will never give up as an individual. When I was dropped my aim was to regain my place in the national team. If I get back I will make sure never to repeat the same mistakes. I think my performances this season can be considered as a prelude to my ambition.”

Share This Post

comments powered by Disqus

Advertising Rates

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