Sripali Weerakkody, not quite a household name, but if you’ve been a follower of the Sri Lankan Women’s Cricket team, no doubt you’ve seen her at work, leading Sri Lanka’s pace bowling attack.
One of the senior most players in the Sri Lankan ranks, Sripali made her debut way back in 2006 and has not looked back since then. She is currently among the top 50 players in both the ICC bowling rankings as well as batting rankings and prides herself on being a valuable fielder too. She is someone who places a lot of emphasis on hard work and “mahansi wenna ona” is a phrase that features in most of her conversations with young players. Sripali sat down with ThePapare to talk to us about her cricketing story and her future aspirations.
Tell us a little bit about how you got into the game? Why cricket?
Well, from the time I was little, I used to play cricket with my friends, brothers and sisters in Kandy. As I grew older, I kind of fell into the cricketing scene because I realized that I had a talent for it and began playing in school too.
What did you feel when you were first called up to the national team?
To this day, I still remember that moment – I got a call to my home and I just couldn’t believe it. I was so happy because I got selected to the national team while I was still schooling.
What is it that you enjoy the most about being an international cricketer?
I really enjoy playing!
Ok, what is it that you don’t like about it?
I’m really sick of travelling, it gets really difficult sometimes. Especially if we are travelling to a place like the West Indies, it takes so long to get there, it’s exhausting. I don’t like it at all.
What’s the most memorable moment in your cricketing career?
Definitely the 2013 World Cup! We beat India and England for the 1st time in our cricketing history. Those two matches are really unforgettable moments in my life.
Tell us about your team-mates, who do you work well with?
I really like batting with Dilani Manodara and Chamari Polgampola because we really have a good understanding when it comes to things like running between the wickets. We’re so comfortable with each other that all we need to do is make eye contact while batting together to pinch singles off the opposition.
Do you have anyone in opposition teams that you like to watch?
When it comes to women’s cricket, I really admire Ellyse Perry from Australia and Charlotte Edwards from England.
Women’s cricket in Sri Lanka, what do you think?
Our success at the 2013 Women’s World Cup brought a lot of exposure to the women’s game in Sri Lanka. Now, in a lot of schools, administrators are looking to start cricket. I’m honestly happy about it and I think that our country will do well in the cricketing scene as a result of this.
Any future stars you can tell us about?
Hmmm… I don’t want to name names, but during the recently concluded club tournament I noticed that a lot of good new players have emerged in the cricketing scene.
You have achieved a lot during the 9 years you have represented Sri Lanka, is there anything left that you want to do before you retire?
In terms of cricket, I haven’t had the opportunity of captaining my country, so my target is to captain Sri Lanka, that’s the ultimate dream. Once I’ve done that, I can leave the game content with what I’ve been able to do.
If not cricket, then what?
I think I may have gone into the business field, because I really like the idea of being involved in business.
What are your future plans, after Cricket?
Like I said, I really like to move into the business field. Even currently, I have started a small business of my own, so I would like to move forward in that field.
With her emphasis on the value of hard work, we at ThePapare, have no doubt that she will be able to accomplish her goals both on the field and off it. We wish her all the very best.