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OTD | Former Sri Lankan fast bowler Nuwan Zoysa was born in 1978

OTD | Former Sri Lankan fast bowler Nuwan Zoysa was born in 1978

Former Sri Lanka fast bowler Nuwan Zoysa is celebrating his 46th birthday on 13 May 2024. Zoysa, who combined a formidable opening bowling combination with Chaminda Vaas, had a promising start to his career, but a decade-long journey was marred by injuries and inconsistencies. However, the left-arm seamer remains a notable figure in Sri Lanka’s list of fast bowlers. 

The Colombo cricketer made his first-class debut in 1996/97 and it didn’t take long for him to impress with his skills. In his first season playing for Sinhalese Sports Club, Zoysa registered his career best figures of 7 for 58, which earned him national call-up to the Test team. The tall pacer with smooth bowling action was a threat to the opposition when on song. 

In his eighth Test against Zimbabwe, Zoysa scripted history by becoming the first player to take a hat-trick off his first three balls of a Test match. Bad things happen in life at unexpected times, and for Zoysa it happened when he was supposed to be at his peak. A stress fracture in his back saw him struggle for form and fitness and he eventually lost his place in the team.

Zoysa returns to national team as all-round package

Zoysa discovered his hidden talent in batting and made his comeback to the Sri Lankan side as a handy all-rounder. Batting in the lower order, the left-hander has showcased his aggressive stroke play on several occasions. One of his notable performances with the bat came in an ODI match against Australia, where he scored an unbeaten 47 to help the team win. 

His prime time with Sri Lankan cricket was the 2004 season – a key strike bowler alongside former pacer Chaminda Vaas and a handy finisher with the bat. Zoysa represented The Lions in 30 Test matches and accumulated 64 wickets and 288 runs. His numbers are much better in the 50-over format – 108 wickets and 3213 runs in 95 matches.  

Zoysa, who played his last ODI in 2007, later took up the role of coach of the Sri Lankan women’s and men’s ‘A’ teams. In April 2021, he was banned from all cricket for six years after being found guilty of attempting to fix matches and failing to disclose corrupt practices from a suspected Indian bookie. 

 

Also read: Hugh Trumble, the first man to take two Test hat-tricks was born in 1867

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