His teammates call him Sirasa. Sirasa is a popular television channel in Sri Lanka owned by one of the largest companies in the country - Maharaja’s. The Chairman of Maharaja’s R Rajamahendran was a former Vice-President of Sri Lanka Cricket and a keen cricket enthusiast. Sirasa TV, a decade ago, conducted a competition to unearth the fastest bowler in the country. The competition was open for rookies and Nuwan Pradeep, who had played little cricket at the school level, emerged the champion.
Sri Lanka Cricket soon cashed in offering him a contract and 18 months later he went onto make his debut. With international recognition came an IPL contract as well with RCB.
Pradeep gives Sri Lanka control in the middle overs after the initial burst by Lasith Malinga. Change of pace, yorkers and slower balls fetch him most wickets as otherwise, he bowls an impeccable line.
Pradeep has struggled to hold onto a permanent place in the side mainly due to injuries. Despite making his debut seven years ago, he has been able to play only 34 ODIs due to his injuries. Often his injuries have let the side down badly.
In 2017, he was picked as the team’s lone spinner for the second Test against India at SSC and he broke down halfway through the first innings compounding their problems. The hosts were forced to play catch-up for the rest of the game relying only on their spin bowling options.
It happened again last year during the Nidahas Trophy in the must-win clash against Bangladesh as he was forced to retire with a hamstring injury after bowling just one over. Earlier this year, he returned home from Australia with hamstring trouble and was ruled out for three months.
Hamstring trouble has restricted his appearances for eight ODIs and four T20 Internationals in the last 18 months.
Pradeep is expected to play the containing role during the middle overs.