12 year-old Lankan lass carving a niche in UAE cricket history
A 12 year-old Sri Lankan girl is leaving an indelible imprint in the history of UAE cricket after becoming the youngest ever to represent the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) women's team.
In fact, she was only 11 when selected to play for ECB in the inaugural Gulf Cup T20 Women's Championship held in Oman in 2014.
Dubai-born Kavisha Kumari is now a regular member of the UAE women's cricket team that retained the Gulf Cup title in Qatar last year.
Kavisha is primed to go places in a sport that she took after her father Jagath Kumara, who represented school and employers before coming to the UAE more than two decades ago.
“My dad is my inspiration. He used to help me with techniques and coached me as well,” says Kavisha who began playing cricket at Desert Cubs Cricket Academy as a nine-year-old in 2009.
“Every evening she practices with me for one hour with a tennis ball at home,” said Kumara who has been Kavisha’s mentor throughout her fledgling career.
At school, Kavisha also plays badminton, volleyball and throwball but her focus is cricket.
“I encourage her to play only cricket because she has talent and since she has to give time for her studies,” he said.
“At the beginning playing cricket was just a pastime but at the end I took it seriously,” said Kavisha who now trains four days a week in Sharjah Cricket Council.
A Grade 8 student at Arab Unity School, Dubai, Kavisha whose hobbies are drawing, reading and watching cricket, was over the moon when first selected to play for UAE.
“I was really excited. It was really emotional. Playing for UAE team was one of my dreams,” she recalled of her debut for UAE last December.
“It was fun and you get a lot of experience from the senior players. Mostly we just enjoyed playing,” said Kavisha on her experience of playing with players some of whom were twice her age.
A strapping lass, Kavisha began as a fast bowler but switched to off spin and is a hard hitting opening batswoman.
One of her best performance was stroking 33 off 50 balls for ICC Academy in the inaugural Women's Cricket League conducted by the Dubai Cricket Council before the Gulf Cup.
“Now that time I am playing for UAE, I would try to play for Sri Lanka,” said Kavisha whose first coach was Indika Batuwitarachchi, a former Sri Lanka first class cricketer.
Her role model is cavalier Sri Lankan opening batsman TM Dilshan “because of his shot selection”.
Kavisha has not tried the ‘Dilscoop’ yet as she seems to be a wristy player preferring the flick and the cut shots.
“I want to actually improve on my on drive because I rarely play it. I play the flick for everything but I play the flick well,” said Kavisha who has yet to score a fifty or a six.
She is hungry for competition after not getting a chance to bat or bowl during the Gulf Cup as UAE rolled over weak opposition.
Kavisha is hoping to show her true mettle when UAE take part in the Under 19 World Cup qualifiers in Malaysia next year.
It won't be long before Kavisha outshines other Sri Lankan players in the UAE team like Kyna Vedhasinghe and Shalani Wanniarachchi.
She is undoubtedly a star of the future.
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