Chanaka Welegedara isn’t the most famous name to ever tour Australia. However, locals only have to remember the former Sri Lankan great Chaminda Vaas for inspiration. Welegedara is built from the same mould as the former left-arm paceman. Known for his ability to swing the ball back into the right-handers, the Sri Lankan could be a handful in friendly Australian conditions.
Welegedara started his career with the Moors SC, and was a major reason behind their successful 2002 campaign. He caught the eye of national selectors with 34 wickets the following year, including nine in one match against Colombo Cricket Club.
Just when he was on the cusp of a national call-up, Welegedara suffered a major setback when he badly injured his ankle. The 18 month layoff threatened to derail his career, but he fought bravely upon his return.
Continued success in First Class cricket led to his debut against England in 2007. It was a bright start to his career, with the seamer picking up two wickets in each innings, as well as a catch and a run out. He hasn’t played a lot of five day cricket since, however. His 18 appearances have yielded 48 wickets, including a career best 5/52 against South Africa in last year’s Boxing Day test.
Welegedara has been in and out of the Sri Lankan side, highlighted by just 10 ODI appearances in four years.
His late swing has been useful in all forms of the game. Late, sharp movement has led to a host of LBW decisions going his way. He will enjoy the Australian conditions, which should see him bring the ball back into the right-handers and slide away from the lefties.