Born in the city of Kurunegala, Jeevantha made his first class debut for his home club Kurunegala YCC at a tender age of 17. The young right hand middle order batsman made 64 runs against Colts cc who ultimately secured his services as their all rounder for the premier league. His career so far has been a roller coaster ride, taking into consideration his immense talent and skill levels. The selectors realized his skills in limited over cricket, hence gave him the nod for the T20 Canada cup back in 2008. Jeevantha was able to represent his country only in two T20 internationals while some pundits openly stated that he deserved much more.
Prior to 2008, Jeevantha was selected to represent the Board Presidents X1 against the touring Englishman in 2001. The young right hander made a well compiled half century, however the selectors still felt that Jeevantha was not ready for national consideration.
The roller coaster forbear kept haunting this talented player who only appeared for Sri Lanka “A” team, that too occasionally. Kulatunga has been his club’s main stay in the middle order for over a decade. In the domestic season he has faced the best of Sri Lankan bowlers who have represented the country. The score book speaks volumes of his consistency in the middle order. Have the selectors missed a trick here asked a leading journalist at a press conference, when Sri Lanka’s limited over squad was announced for the recently concluded Asia cup in Bangladesh.
Jeevantha top the run chart for his club in 2008/2009 premier league season in which he aggregated 566 runs at an average of 43.53. Jeevantha recorded the fastest double hundred in the same season against Ragama CC. He made a flashy 200 in 163 deliveries in which he executed his wide variety of strokes to near perfection. Being an intermediate captain Jeevantha of his team he enjoyed the Champaign after being crowned as premier league champions.
In the provincial limited over T20 tournament he represented Wayamba who incidentally have won the championship three years on the trot. Jeevantha bats alongside World star Mahela Jayewardene for Wayamba in the T20 version. The duo opened the batting in the semi finals and the finals at the Moratuwa stadium. The pair was a treat to watch. In the first semi final, Mahela and Jeevantha put on 86 runs in 57 deliveries for the first wicket with Jeevantha scoring an unbeaten 48 in 37 balls. The right hander hit four scintillating boundaries and three towering sixes. In the finals the duo made 89 for the first wicket in just 46 balls. Jeevantha made a quick fire 26 with five glorious boundaries in 16 deliveries.
In the 50 over limited provincial league Jeevantha aggregated 256 runs in six innings. His best effort being, 132. His strike rate of 91.75 goes to prove that he is not the boring type out in the centre.
In the T20 Version his highest score of 104 in 58 deliveries is the fastest recorded in Sri Lanka. Jeevantha aggregated 277 in 6 matches at an average 69.25 and a super strike rate of 152.19
Jeevantha seems a player who loves challenges. He was adjudicated as man of the final in the 2008 T20 Provincial tournament with an extra effort being the highest scorer.
BT:- I have termed your illustrious career as a roller coaster ride. Fair statement?
JK:- Yes I think so too. Roller coaster ride is always difficult to cope with. Records prove that I have blown hot, sometimes blown cold. Let me quickly add I’m not a loner here, hence take it as it come thank God for little mercies.
BT:- You have peaked in this season, have you done anything special with regard to your batting skill levels ?
JK:- I suppose the English summer played a big part in my career. I played eight seasons in good old blighty. The seam movement you encounter on English condition will compel you to tighten ones technique, play closer to the body and play it late as possible to survive. I re adjusted my stance and balance which helped. I also took a cue from my club mate Chaminda Vass, who despite his age, paved the way and proved to the world, the importance of fitness, and extra work at the nets. I am grateful to so many of my coaches who saw me through.
BT:- Interesting, you seem to like the T20, just imagine you were adjudicated as the man of the tournament with all the super stars playing in the championship. Is it anything to do with your style of batting those suites this version?
JK:- It’s basic cricketing knowledge. If you have a sound Technique and don’t over slog as an opener you are bound to score runs. Remember the power play gives an opportunity for the batsmen. All that you need to do is clear the 30 meter circle with legitimate cricketing strokes. I defend the good balls, put away the bad ones, and once I get the hang of the pitch, I use my third strategy improvise a bit on my stroke play and this more often than not helps me to get a few loose hits from a bowler who tries experimental deliveries. Simple I like to dominate the bowler, put pressure on him, and help him to make his own mistakes.
BT:- Smart thinking Jeevantha, I reckon the presence of Mahela, plus the opportunity of batting alongside this genius has changed your attitude.
JK- sorry mate no prizes on offer for your guess. You are spot on. His presence in the dressing room, his approach out in the middle is amazing. He keeps telling me not to be frighten of losing my wicket, go out their play the bowling to its merits, when you hit it make sure it stays it.
BT:- Did your experience in the champions league in India help min any way ?
JK;- Yes. It gave me an opportunity to face the big boys. The league is as competitive as any big game on a big stage. The crowds and the type of cricket that’s dished out in India is a life time experience. I’m glad I did well against some of the best bowlers in the business. Be it genuine quick’s, seam and spin I faced the package.
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