By Srian Obeyesekere
Dinesh Chandimal, the record breaking hero of domestic cricket at Major League and all levels for his unbeaten 354 for the Sri Lanka Army versus Saracens SC in this week’s Super Eight, attributed the feat to peak fitness and commitment.
In an exclusive interview with Sri Lanka Cricket’s website www.srilankacricket.lk Chandimal said, “I was able to go for record because of my optimum physical fitness and commitment in training and of course the blessings of a large number of persons.”
Reflecting on his career and the feat, Chandimal, who switched to the Sri Lanka Army from his longtime former club the NCC sometime ago, added, “I was out of the national team for about one year. After I accepted an invitation to join the Sri Lanka Army I was placed in the rank of a major so as to develop their cricket and represent the team. In the last few days I trained with tremendous commitment while maintaining optimum physical fitness. I had no intention to go for records in the game against Saracens SC. But when I passed 200 runs, I thought it would be appropriate to go for the 300 mark. When I was on 292 the Army coach Saman Jayantha sent me a message that if I reached 317 runs I would have made the 1000-run milestone this season. Once I had achieved that milestone, during the tea break, I was told by my team colleagues and officers that if I passed 351 runs I would break Kithruwan Vithanage’s Premier League record it would be an honour for myself, the Army and officers.”
THROUGHOUT MY CAREER I PRIORITISED THE TEAM CAUSE
Commenting further, he said, “Once I reached 354 it was suggested that I should go past Mahela Jayawardena’s 374 so that it would be the record for the highest individual score in Sri Lanka. However, even before the tea break I felt that once I reached 300 that Saracens should be given the opportunity to bat and once I reached 354 the team consensus was to declare the innings. I am happy about the success I achieved and I must honour the Army coach Saman Jayantha, the cricket organisation’s Dilshan Fonseka and other coaches, the Army Commander Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva and other officers, my wife, parents and all those who gave me all the encouragement. Never in my career have I thought of setting up individual records or showcasing individual brilliance. Since my days as Sri Lanka captain I always played for the team cause.”
AIM TO BRING HONOUR FOR SL TEAM AND COUNTRY
My aim is to represent the Sri Lanka team and bring honour to my country. There are so many talented players in the national pool. Any cricket playing country has its ups and downs. That is a natural thing. There are enough examples of that.”
When asked about his aspirations as to representing Sri Lanka in limited over cricket, Chandimal responded that in the past he had represented his country in all forms of cricket from the Test format to one-day and T-20 and displayed his skill. In the future it was the responsibility of those officials in charge of selecting the teams to witness his ability and afford him that opportunity.
Dinesh Chandimal took to cricket at Dharmasoka Vidyalaya, Ambalangoda, and having passed the GCE (O.L.) Examination, joined Ananda College, Colombo which he went on to captain in 2008-09. He has played 57 Test matches aggregating 3877 runs at an average of 40.8 and scored 11 centuries and 50 half centuries, and in ODIs scored 3597 runs from 146 matches averaging 32.4 scoring 4 centuries and 22 half tons while at T20 level scored 800 runs from 54 matches averaging 18.6 with 4 half centuries.