Rising star and Waratah batsman, Ashley Chandrasinghe, hopes to play for the nation one day.
From the NT News by Josh Spasaro. Picture by Roz Lavercombe.
Gifted Waratah batsman Ashley Chandrasinghe has an ambition to play for Australia.
Ask any coach who has worked alongside him and there is no doubt he has the ability to do just that, but he isn’t worried about if or when it may happen.
And it is this kind of temperament which allowed him to play a brilliant match-winning innings in the 2020 Darwin Premier Grade final against Palmerston on Sunday.
Chandrasinghe’s classy 61 from 77 balls – with just two boundaries, but full of skill and poise – helped the Warriors to a competitive 8-195 from their 38 rain-reduced overs.
Palmerston – a young team which exceeded all expectations in making the premiership decider – could only manage 101 all-out in reply, with star offspinner Udara Weerasinghe taking 4-29.
Chandrasinghe’s innings is exactly why Weerasinghe – the Warriors coach who has helped the 18-year-old’s development – believes the exciting prospect can make a career out of the game.
It is also why he is so highly regarded in Victoria where he plays for Casey South Melbourne, making 144 on his first-grade debut against Northcote on January 25.
It is also no wonder that Chandrasinghe was selected in Victoria’s 2020-21 Under-19 Emerging Performance Squad on Monday.
“Ashley will play at state level or for Australia in the next five years if he gets the opportunity,” Weerasinghe said.
“His innings for us on Sunday for an 18-year-old in a grand final was unbelievable, and this is why Cricket Victoria wants him back.”
Chandrasinghe admits he fought some jitters early in his knock.
“I was nervous – it was my first senior grand final,” he told the NT News.
“But I tried to tell myself ‘it’s just another game’.
“I really like batting with Jimmy Seymour (the opener scoring 67 off 96 balls, the two combining for a 113-run partnership). He helped me early on, and it was good to knuckle down with him and set up the team to attack in the later overs.”
“I’m pretty proud and happy with the innings. It was pretty gritty. I didn’t hit too many boundaries and it was tough running a lot.”
“I was on my knees in the heat out there a few times.”
Making the under-19 Victorian squad was a just reward for the countless amounts of balls Chandrasinghe has hit in the nets.
“I’m quite happy and grateful to be in the squad. I have put in a lot of work and effort,” he said.
“I haven’t set a date (as to when I want to play at a higher level). I’m just trying to go as far as I can.
“The end goal is to play for Australia.”
This article has been reproduced from the NT News.