Thanks given to Potters Bar as Walallawita claims debut first-class wicket for Middlesex

PUBLISHED: 10:24 03 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:24 03 August 2020

Potters Bars Thilan Walallawita bowls for Middlesex against Surrey at the Oval. Picture: JOHN WALTON/PA

Potters Bars Thilan Walallawita bowls for Middlesex against Surrey at the Oval. Picture: JOHN WALTON/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Thilan Walallawita gave thanks to coaches and players at Potters Bar after claiming a maiden first-class wicket on his Middlesex debut.

The 22-year-old is a former junior and first-team star at The Walk-based cricket club having arrived in this country at the age of 12 from Sri Lanka.

And the left-arm spinner’s big moment came in the afternoon session on day two of the Seaxes’ clash with Surrey at the Oval, claiming the wicket of Anthony Stoneman.

Walallawita said: “It was a great first wicket to get, an England test opener, and no words can describe how memorable a moment it was for me.

“Thanks are due to everyone who has helped me to get to this point. My dream since coming to school here in England was to play for Middlesex.

“It is also a great ground on which to make my debut, and in a London derby against Surrey.

“The pitch is a good one, perhaps a bit slow, but there was some spin and a bit of bounce.”

He has had a fascinating and fraught journey to get this point having survived the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 aged just six.

The family were enjoying a meal in a beach-side restaurant when the disaster struck.

“Dad heard a noise and went outside to check,” said Walallawita.

“He saw the waves going back and building up. He said it was like the end of the world was coming. He was shouting ‘get out, get out, a tsunami is happening’.

“The bridge we needed to get across was gone by the time we reached it, so we had to park our car in front of a house and run.

“There was a church on top of a hill we had to reach to escape the second more deadly wave, so my dad had to carry me and run.”

Having made it to England he was soon sent for Middlesex trials where he progressed through the county’s age-groups and academy, becoming their leading wicket taker in second-team cricket last season and earning his first professional contract in January.

“This is a dream, there are no words to describe how grateful I am to the Middlesex staff for having my back and showing faith in me,” he said.

“I’m known for my consistency as I can get onto a line and length very quickly. I didn’t used to turn the ball as much, but now I get turn, bounce, everything.

“I now have to work on my tactical side, such as getting all the fielders in the right place for every ball.”

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