The Sri Lankan cricket team has got a new Lasith Malinga. Matheesha Pathirana. Pathirana is the bowler the video of whose bowling delivery had gone viral on social media three-four months ago. But once again Pathirana is in the headlines due to this.
On Sunday, 19 January, India and Sri Lanka faced off in the Under-19 World Cup at the Diamond Oval in Kimberley. In the end, Priyam Garg’s Boys in Blue won by 90 runs, bowling the opposition out for 207 in 45.2 overs.
In the Under-19 World Cup, this 17-year-old fast bowler achieved the amazing feat, about which the cricketing world is agog. Pathirana bowled a delivery against the Indian Under-19 team on Sunday at a speed of 175 km/h.
It is not known of course whether this was a speedometer flaw. When he threw the ball, the speed shown on the TV screen was 175 km/h. Unfortunately for Pathirana, the ball went wide. In what looked like an equally ferocious delivery in the fourth over of the Indian innings, the TV screen showed the speed to be 108 km/h. This anomaly makes the record doubtful. This delivery went wide too.
No official statement has come from the ICC in this regard.
Yashasvi Jaiswal of India was facing this ball of Pathirana. The final ball of the fourth over came off Jaiswal’s leg side, which the umpire called a wide. But if the record is authentic, the 17-year-old fast bowler has broken the record of former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar.
Akhtar holds the record for the fastest bowling in a World Cup match against England in 2003 at a speed of 161.3 km/h. The delivery style and follow-through of Pathirana are like those of Lasith Malinga. Australian bowlers Brett Lee and Shaun Tait have delivered balls at speeds above 160 km/h too.
Pathirana played a match for the Trinity College a few months ago where he took six wickets for seven runs. But in the particular match described above, his performance was otherwise forgettable. He wasn’t able to keep a check on the runs, giving away 49 runs in his eight overs.