Like Romesh Kaluwitharana, hard-hitting opening batsman Avishka Fernando is a product of St Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa. Like Kalu, young Avishka has a reputation of putting the best of fast bowlers to the sword as he goes after the new ball.
One of the brightest young prospects in the country, Fernando made his international debut at 18 against Australia while still a schoolboy.
He was called up to the senior side after unprecedented success in England where Sri Lanka Under-19 whitewashed England Under-19. Fernando was the standout performer topping the run charts. His attitude and temperament impressed the team management.
Fernando went onto make his Sri Lanka debut even before he had chosen a club to play First Class cricket. Mitchell Starc dismissed him for a second ball duck on debut and he didn’t get a look in for the next three years. But he continued scoring big runs at lower levels.
He was picked for the tour of South Africa early this year, Sri Lanka’s last assignment before the World Cup and he replaced the experienced Upul Tharanga in the playing XI in the second ODI at Centurion. He played all seven remaining games and despite a top score of 29 has been picked for the World Cup as Sri Lanka’s selectors axed Tharanga and Niroshan Dickwella.
Fernando will be the back-up opener in the World Cup. However, if given a chance, he will have the license to go after the bowling making most of the field restrictions during the Powerplays.
His selection is based on promise rather than performance after he scored loads of runs for Under-19 side. He is a handy medium pace bowler as well and conditions in England will be to his liking to support the captain with a few overs.