When the news came that I am to debut, tears came to my eyes – Roshen Silva

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Like in cricket’s lifeline player ups and downs, Roshen Silva’s was a long, long wait to make it to the Sri Lanka team. According to Roshen, it was a frustrating wait for the Colts CC player to making his Sri Lanka debut.

Roshen had already given up hope of realising that dream that any youngster dreams of. So much so that when Sri Lanka Team Manager, Asanka Gurusinha rang and told him the night before the home third test against India that he had been selected to play, Roshen wanted to cry. The elation was such after quite a long wait.

“When Asanka Gurusinha called and told me that I was going to debut against India, I told my wife the good news and was so elated I wanted to cry that night”, said 29-year old former St. Joseph’s product in an interview.

Sri Lankan cricketer Roshen Silva (R) reacts after scoring a half century (50 runs) as Bangladeshi wicketkeeper Liton Das (L) looks on during the second day of the second cricket Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at the Sher-e-Bangla national cricket stadium in Dhaka on February 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Munir UZ ZAMAN

Sri Lankan cricketer Roshen Silva (R) reacts after scoring a half century (50 runs) as Bangladeshi wicketkeeper Liton Das (L) looks on during the second day of the second cricket Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at the Sher-e-Bangla national cricket stadium in Dhaka on February 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Munir UZ ZAMAN

(Q). You got the big break to wear the national cap after quite a long wait?

(A). Yes. It was a good opportunity. I was a bit frustrated. I did not know when I would get to play for my country. I prayed to God. Now that I’ve got it I’m happy. I have made the most of it in a short time.

(Q). Your debut innings was a duck, but you made up for it in the second innings with a debut fifty. What was the feeling?

(A). When I got out without scoring in the first innings I was a bit sad. But I didn’t worry about it. I thought to myself that I would do it in the second innings. I waited that night and the next day thought I will do it for my team. The way the match was going nobody would have thought that we would draw it and felt that it will be over before tea. But as a player I had the resolve and thought to myself that as a player that I have to get out of that cocoon and perform for my country. I scored 75 and as a team we did well and drew the third test. That raised my morale a lot.

(Q). Thereafter you reached the magical three figure mark in the first test against Bangladesh. Your comments?

(A). I just wanted to achieve something for the team. That is how I play normally. So I just waited patiently and batted out there in the middle. I got a century. I never thought I would get a century in my second test outing. I was named the Man of the Match. Those were joyous moments achieving those feats. Reaching the test ton is something very special which is any batsman’s dream. To be named Man of the Match in my second outing was really great.

(Q). In that match you batted at No.4 and thereafter in the second test at No.6. Your comments?

(A).In the first test against Bangladesh I batted at No.4 because the team management and coaching staff and captain thought the wicket was flat and played an extra bowler and one specialist batsman. So I got the opportunity to bat at No.4.

(Q). Dhanushka Gunathilaka was slotted at 4 in the next match?

(A). Yes. That is because he had been batting previously in that slot. Also, I got the nod for that slot earlier because Angelo (Mathews) was not there.

(Q). How is it to bat at No.6 having scored two half centuries and taken the Man of the Match award?

(A). I believe that whatever position you are given even at No.8 or 11 you have to fall in line in the interest of the team. If I am told before a match that I was to be left out for a bowler owing to the nature of the wicket I would abide by whatever decision by the team management.

(Q). The Bangladesh series fetched rich rewards for you. Test century, two half centuries and Man of the Match plus Man of the Series to boot? What was the feeling?

(A). Honestly I never thought I would win those awards. The wicket was helping the bowlers. I’ve no words to say how happy I am. It’s still like a dream. I only know I performed with great resolve thinking of my country. I wanted to give my hundred per cent.  I must thank the national selectors and my captain. Every player’s dream is to perform for his country. End of the day representing your team means playing for your country. It is the country that matters.

(Q). Can you single out any coaches who helped you along in your early school career? What about your college coach Harsha de Silva?

(A). I would say Harsha helped me in the techniques. Thereafter when I got selected to the first eleven I got a thorough training from Roger Wijesuriya who the U-19 College coach.

(Q). What number did you bat at college and the Sri Lanka A team?

(A). At college as well as the Sri Lanka A team I batted at No.5.

(Q). You have a proud first class record?

(A). I’ve played for 10 years at first class club level. The year 2011 was my best year scoring 860 runs averaging 95.

 By Srian Obeyesekere