Pathum Nissanka Silva, born on May 18, 1998, in Galle, is making waves in the world of cricket as a talented Sri Lankan cricketer who has established himself in all three formats of the game. Despite a humble beginning, his journey to the international arena is inspiring.
Early Life and Domestic Career
Growing up in a modest family, Pathum’s father, Sunil Silva, worked as a ground boy, struggling to make ends meet. His mother sold flowers near the Kalutara temple to support the family. It was indeed a challenging environment for a young aspiring cricketer.
Pathum’s cricketing journey commenced during his school years at Kalutara Vidyalaya. His remarkable talent was evident when he scored an unbeaten double century (205) off just 190 balls against President’s College, Rajagiriya, at the Colts ground in Colombo during the School Cricket Championship.
His List A debut for Hambantota District came in the 2016–17 Districts One Day Tournament on March 17, 2017. Shortly after, he made his Twenty20 debut for Badureliya Sports Club in the 2017–18 SLC Twenty20 Tournament on February 24, 2018.
Pathum continued to impress, earning a spot in Kandy’s squad for the 2017–18 Super Four Provincial Tournament in March 2018. The following month, he was also selected for Kandy’s squad in the 2018 Super Provincial One Day Tournament.
His consistent performances led to further opportunities. In March 2019, he was named in Kandy’s squad for the 2019 Super Provincial One Day Tournament. His domestic career was steadily laying the foundation for his future in international cricket.
Pathum’s remarkable performances didn’t go unnoticed, and he earned a spot in Sri Lanka A’s squad for the first-class series against Ireland A in January 2019. His prowess with the bat saw him emerge as the leading run-scorer for Sri Lanka A, amassing 258 runs in just two matches.
In February 2019, he achieved a milestone by scoring his 1,000th run in the 2018–19 Premier League Tournament while playing for Nondescripts Cricket Club against Colombo Cricket Club. He concluded the tournament as the highest run-scorer for his team, tallying 1,088 runs in seven matches.
The year 2019 brought further recognition as he was named in Sri Lanka’s squad for the 2019 ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup in Bangladesh. He also featured in Sri Lanka’s squad for the men’s cricket tournament at the 2019 South Asian Games, helping the team secure the silver medal.
His dream of representing the national team came true in February 2021 when he was named in Sri Lanka’s limited-overs squad for their series against the West Indies. This marked the beginning of his international career, as he made his Twenty20 International (T20I) debut on March 3, 2021, against the West Indies.
Three days later, Nissanka was named in Sri Lanka’s Test squad, and on March 21, 2021, he made his Test debut against the West Indies, immediately leaving his mark by scoring 103 runs in the second innings. This achievement made him the fourth Sri Lankan batsman to score a century on debut in Test cricket and the first to do so away from home.
His exceptional performances led to his inclusion in Sri Lanka’s squad for the 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. During the tournament, Nissanka impressed with his bat, accumulating 221 runs in eight matches, including three half-centuries.
In January 2022, against Zimbabwe, Nissanka scored his maiden ODI half-century, amassing 146 runs in three matches and earning the Player of the Series award. Despite Sri Lanka’s 4-1 loss to Australia in the T20I series in February 2022, Nissanka made history by becoming the highest run-scorer in a T20I series against Australia, with 184 runs in five matches.
June 2022 brought another significant achievement as Nissanka scored his first century in an ODI match against Australia, with 137 runs, leading Sri Lanka to victory.
Despite a setback when he contracted COVID-19 during the Test series against Australia, Nissanka bounced back strongly in the T20I series, setting records for the most runs and 30+ scores in the first 20 T20I innings for Sri Lanka.
The 2022 Asia Cup showcased Nissanka’s prowess as an opener, with notable partnerships alongside Kusal Mendis. He also achieved half-centuries against India and Pakistan in the Super 4 stage. His partnership with Mendis played a crucial role in chasing down a target of 174 runs against India.
Nissanka’s consistent performances culminated in Sri Lanka winning the 2022 Asia Cup for the sixth time. In the first round of the T20I World Cup 2022 against UAE, he displayed his batting prowess once again, scoring his 8th T20I half-century.
Nissanka’s remarkable journey continued as he scored his 9th T20I half-century against England on November 5, 2022, though Sri Lanka narrowly lost the match by 4 wickets.
His impressive form extended to the ODI format, as he scored his 7th ODI half-century against Afghanistan on June 7, 2023. Sri Lanka emerged victorious in the match, with Nissanka being the second-highest run-scorer in the series.
In the qualifier match against UAE on June 19, 2023, Nissanka continued his stellar form by notching his 8th ODI half-century, scoring 57 runs and helping Sri Lanka secure a convincing 175-run victory.
On June 27, 2023, in the qualifier match against Scotland, Nissanka reached a significant milestone by scoring his 9th ODI half-century and reaching 1000 ODI runs. His innings of 75 runs from 85 balls included 10 boundaries, contributing to an 82-run victory for Sri Lanka.
Nissanka’s stellar form persisted as he scored his 2nd ODI century on July 2, 2023, in a qualifier match against Zimbabwe. His unbeaten 101 runs from 102 balls, including 14 boundaries, guided Sri Lanka to a resounding 9-wicket victory.
Continuing his remarkable run, Nissanka scored his second consecutive and third ODI century on July 7, 2023, in a qualifier match against West Indies. His 104 runs from 113 deliveries, featuring 14 boundaries, powered Sri Lanka to an emphatic 8-wicket win.
Pathum Nissanka Silva’s journey from humble beginnings to becoming a cricket sensation in Sri Lanka is a testament to his dedication and talent. As he continues to achieve milestones and break records, cricket enthusiasts eagerly await his future performances on the international stage.