Srimantha Wijeyeratne: Canadian Cricket’s Comeback “Kid!”

Admittedly any description including the word “Kid” might not be the most accurate for the soon-to-be thirtyfour-
year-old Srimantha Wijeyeratne. Comeback, however, definitely applies for Canada’s now-incumbent wicketkeeper batsman who has returned to international cricket having previously announced his retirement in 2021.

Since his return, “Wijers” as he’s fondly known by many of his teammates, ardent fans and numerous followers has certainly made his presence felt as at the top of the Canadian batting order. His 91 balls 63 which included 8 fours, was the backbone of Canada’s eventual 31run victory in its opening match at the ongoing Namibia hosted
ICC CWC Qualifier Playoff against Jersey. Wijeyeratne’s poised knock stabilized the Canadian first-strike innings which at point had been tottering precariously at 114-5 in the 24th over.

Prior to the Jersey match, now only the second ODI he’s played for Canada, Wijeyeratne had also been outstanding in his recent T20I appearances for his adopted homeland. Three half-centuries, as well as a 34, were included in his last nine T20 outings as a Canadian batsman.

Behind the stumps, Wijeyeratne has also proven himself to be extremely reliable
as the Canadian team’s wicket-keeper. His catching and glovework stumpings to
the Canadian spinners, the engine room of the team’s bowling attack, has been
particularly outstanding.

Born 3 June 1989 in Colombo Sri Lanka, Wijeyeratne made his List A cricket debut
in the 2015 ICC World Cricket League Division Two tournament for Canada
against the Netherlands on 17 January 2015. Wijeyeratne first represented Canada as a wicket-keeper batsman, charged with opening the batting. Within recent times, however, he has relinquished the opening spot
and has moved down the order often appearing as Canada’s number four batsman.

Described as an aggressive cricketer who bats with a lot of flamboyance, Wijeyeratne
made his List A debut for Canada during the 2015 ICC World Cricket League Division
Two Tournament in Holland. He scored a relatively slow 63 ball 35 on debut an innings
which only included 2 fours and a solitary six. Wijeyeratne had scores of 20*, 0, 16, 52
and 6 in the five additional innings he batted.

In January 2018, Wijeyeratne was named in Canada’s squad for the 2018 ICC World
Cricket League Division Two Tournament in Namibia. Wijeyeratne was somewhat
strangely not selected for any of Canada’s three opening matches at the Tournament
and only made his first appearance in the fourth. Sent in as an opener he scored just 8
in Canada’s losing total of 251/8 which was agonizingly just 17
runs short of the 268 they had been set by Namibia for victory.

In his very next match, Wijeyeratne embarrassed Canada’s
Tournament selectors by scoring an impressive 103 not our
off of 152 balls with 8 fours against Nepal. Wijeyeratne scored
just 28 in Canada’s final appearance of the 2018 ICC World
Cricket League Division Tournament, the 3rd Place Playoff
against hosts Namibia. Canada won comfortably by 49 runs.

On 3 June 2018, Wijeyeratne was selected to play for the
Vancouver Knights in the players’ draft for the inaugural edition
of the Global T20 Canada tournament. Wijeyeratne was
however one of the many Canadian players who were drafted
for the Tournament only to be totally denied any actual playing

In September 2018, Wijeyeratne was named in Canada’s squad
for the 2018–19 ICC World Twenty20 Americas Qualifier
tournament. He had a very subdued Tournament with scores
of 20*, 3 and 19 in the three innings he batted.

In October 2018, Wijeyeratne was named in Canada’s
squad for the 2018–19 Regional Super50 tournament in
the West Indies. He started impressively scoring a 66 ball 57
in Canada’s opening fixture against the West Indies B. Having
scored just 2 in Canada’s next match against the Windward
Islands he was then apparently discarded by the Tour Selectors.

Wijeyeratne’s only other appearance in the Tournament was
for Canada’s encore encounter against the Windwards during
which he scored 35 as part of Canada’s winning total of 206/9.
In April 2019, he was named in Canada’s squad for the 2019
ICC World Cricket League Division Two tournament in
Namibia. By his usually solid standards Wijeyeratne had a very
disappointing tournament with scores of 44, 3 and 2 the three
innings he played.

Wijeyeratne was however back to his consistent best during
Canada’s appearances in the recently concluded 2019 Malaysia
hosted Cricket World Cup Challenge League A tournament.
Wijeyeratne scored 242 runs from four completed innings
in the Tournament to end with an average of 60.50. His
aggregate was marginally short and second only to that of the
Canadian captain Navneet Dhaliwal, who complied 250 runs
from three innings batted. Wijeyeratne’s aggregate included
one century (112) and a fifty (84). Just as importantly his runs
were compiled at an impressive strike rate of 193.86.

Srimantha Wijeyeratne’s consistent performance of late have
now surely cemented not only his place in Canada’s batting
middle order, but also his ever-growing reputation as Team
Canada’s Mr. Solidity. Nice to have you back Wijers!

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