Airtel Sri Lanka, the ‘93% buffer free video streaming’ mobile service provider, in keeping with its promise to enrich the lives of Sri Lankan youth introduced the ‘Airtel Fastest’ in February 2019. A hunt to identify Sri Lanka’s undiscovered fastest bowling talent, with a view to enriching the national fast bowling talent pool.
Promising to travel the length and breadth of the country to unearth grass-root talent ‘Airtel Fastest’ spanned through 11 trial locations across the country. The talent hunt was initially conducted in Jaffna, Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa, Matara, Badulla, Ruwanwella, Gampaha, Kurunagale, Kandy, Horana and Colombo. A total number of 145 fast bowlers were selected from the initial program under three categories; under 19 and over 19 boys as well as an open category for girls.
Jinesh Hegde, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Airtel Sri Lanka speaking at the event said, “As a brand that has pledged to enrich the lives of youth, we make it our priority to continuously create opportunities for the youth of the nation to showcase their talent. We’ve put together a team of some of the world’s best coaches to help the 45 boys and girls who made it through to the second achieve greater things. These competitors have eared themselves an opportunity to learn and from the best.”
Speaking at the top 45 selection, Anusha Samaranyake, the coach behind ‘Airtel Fastest’ said, “The players that we have identified through Airtel Fastest have great potential which we can nurture and bring up-to the international standards. The program is a huge service to the sport itself to identify much needed talent to represent the country”.
Out of the 145 initial pool that was selected, the organisers selected the top 45 fastest bowlers for the second round which will commence with a coaching camp. The coaching camp is said to focus the youngsters on key attributes like biomechanics of fast bowling, fitness, endurance, speed and agility.
‘Airtel Fastest’ will challenge the amateur bowlers in different forms and 05 fast bowlers will be selected for the final round.
Chathuranga Dilshan Abeysinghe, a competitor from Polonnaruwa said, “I bowled at 132 kmph at the initial competition and got selected and I am really excited about this journey. Most of the boys and girls here today are playing using a leather ball for the first time. Airtel has given us a unique opportunity to showcase our skills and work with a top level national coaches. Brining us closer to our dream of representing the national team one day.
For the second round of ‘Airtel Fastest’, 18 players will be selected from both the U-19 and over 19 level while 09 players will be selected from the open girl`s category.
Thus, the national duty of ensuring Sri Lanka Cricket`s future will continue with ‘Airtel Fastest’ and in the near future, the final ‘Airtel Fastest’ will take the nation to its utmost glory in the international arena just as the cricketing great, Lasith Malinga, the brand ambassador of the competition.