Kumar Dharmasena is going strong performing a tremendous task as an elite ICC umpire. Having made his foray in 2009 as an ICC accredited umpire in the ODI match between Sri Lanka and India at Dambulla, the former Sri Lanka cricketer was quick into his stride in cementing a name as one of world cricket’s most astute officiator’s in the middle. So much so that by 2012 Dharmasena hit the jackpot as world cricket’s No.1 umpire when he was adjudged the Umpire of the Year at the 2012 ICC Awards. The prestigious award won by a Sri Lankan for the first time at that level has served in enhancing not only the stock of the individual, but as much the island nation’s image in so much as producing a breed that hold sacred in split decision making in the fast paced game between bat and ball.
What has stood the 45-year old former Nalanda College, Colombo product who emerged as a dependable utility player in the champion 1990s team is the sound knowledge in which he cut his teeth in the game as a player. He proved to be a lynchpin of the 1995-96 world cup winning team as a first change stock bowler who invariably was known to make a break when his captain put the ball in his hand. He was similarly a dogged batsman in a crisis. He rose in stock going on to be inducted to the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires in 2011 following a successful stint standing in the 2011 Cricket World Cup. That honour fetched Dharmasena the oveted David Shepherd Trophy in recognition of his virtuous services to the game at that level. He has grown in stature having also officiated in the 2015 World Cup including the final with great aplomb. Standing in a cup final set Dharmasena in a rare hall of fame as the only person in cricket history to play in a final and officiate in a final.
Born Handunnettige Deepthi Priyantha Kumar Dharmasena on 24 April 1971 in Colombo, Dharmasena is among a few former Sri Lankan players who have done their country proud in world cricket. Former Sri Lanka captain Ranjan Madugalle has kept the Sri Lankan flag flying high in the coveted job of longtime ICC Chief Match Referee winning the respect of the cricket world while former captain/oening cum middle order batsman Roshan Mahanama, another top Nalanda College product has served as Match Referee.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-