Kudos to cricketing soldier Ajantha
Sri Lanka Army's latest gift to national sports,
Gunner Ajantha Mendis of Sri Lanka Army Artillery Regiment, brought
great glory to his motherland yesterday (June 6) with his excellent
cricketing performance at Asia Cup final in Pakistan.
Ajantha with his magical spin bowling helped the Sri
Lankan team to beat India by 100 runs in the final in Karachi and to
defend the Asia Cup title, winning it for the fourth time. Facing the
mighty Indians for the first time in his career, Ajantha took six
wickets for just 13 runs bowling only 8 overs. India lost 9 wickets for
97 runs and were finally bowled out for 173 in 39.3 overs. The
23-year-old spinner won both the Man of the Series and Man of the Match
Awards. He also bettered the best bowling figures in Asia Cup history,
erasing the 5 wickets for 19 runs record set by Aaqub Javid for Pakistan
against India in 1995.
Gunner Balapuwaduge Ajantha Winslow Mendis made
history in the Sri Lanka Army by being the first Army cricketer to
represent the National Team. He made his debut in April this year
against West Indies . Having spotted his talents during 2003/2004 under
23 division 11 tournaments, the Army Cricket Committee invited Ajantha
to play for the Army Cricket Club. As a result, he joined Army regular
force as a gunner in the Artillery Regiment.
After his basic military training he was sent to the
Army Cricket Pool and from there on given good training. Being a hard
working youngster and quick learner, Ajantha was able to cement his
place in the Army team due to his skill in all three aspects of the game
- bowling, batting and fielding. He was initially coached by Mr Saman
Hewawithrana and Mr Neil Rajapakse. Later, both coaches did a good job
in guiding him. He has shown a steady progress in all the tournaments
organized by Sri Lanka Cricket when representing the Army. His first
appearance for the Army was in the 2004/2005 Sara Trophy Tournament. In
the same tournament the following year he was awarded the Best All-Rounder's
Trophy by Sri Lanka Cricket.
Defence.lk extends its best wishes to this excellent
cricketer and fellow soldier.