Pushpakumara grabs rank of world’s second best bowler-BY DHAMMIKA RATNAWEERA
Malinda Pushpakumara the left arm leg spinner has been the most prolific scalp hunter in domestic cricket in recent years and the 33-year-old bowler is now the world’s second highest wicket taker in first class cricket in the last decade, according to the Australian based Testat Cricket database.
According to statistics released, from 2010 to 2019/2020 season Pushpakumara who plays for the Colombo Cricket Club (CCC) has picked up 667 wickets to become the world’s second highest wicket taker during that period. New Zealand spinner Jeethan Patel is ahead of Pushpakumara with 695 wickets but he has played 93 more games than the Sri Lankan.
Pushpakumara is the main spinner of the Premier league champion side CCC and has played four Test matches and captured 14 wickets. He has played in only two ODIs. However he has vast experience having played 139 first class matches and taking 793 wickets during his career.
In addition, he also holds the record for the best bowling figures in a first class innings in Sri Lanka with figures of 10/37 against Saracens playing for CCC in 2019 at Moratuwa. Earlier in 1991 Pramodya Wickramasinghe the former Sri Lanka paceman has taken 10 for 41 for SSC against Kalutara PCC.
Pushpakumara became the highest wicket taker in the 2016/17 Premier league tournament and has taken 77 wickets in 18 innings while he repeated his performances by taking the highest number of wickets in 2017/18 with 70 scalps in 20 innings.
Pushpakumara started his cricket career at Lumbini College Colombo and also played for the Sri Lanka under-19 side in 2005 in a triangular tournament featuring England and Bangladesh. Later after coming of age he played for Sri Lanka ‘A’ with success against the likes of South Africa, New Zealand and West Indies ‘A’ teams.
However he had to wait some time to enter the national team as he could not replace Rangana Herath.
After the retirement of Herath, Pushpakumara finally found himself in the Sri Lanka Test squad.
By that time he was 29 and with 558 first class wickets to his credit he was not able to secure a permanent slot in the side.
But Pushpakumara has matured with age to become a consistent match winner most of the time and says he will never stop learning for as long as he is able to play.
“I knew Rangana (Herath) had to wait a long time with Muralidaran doing the job in the Sri Lanka team and so did I have to wait as Rangana was around and this is the way in cricket. I will never forget my best figures of 10 for 37 at club cricket and that gave me a big boost to go forward,” said Pushpakumara.