As we eagerly await the start of another sporting year, we are pleased to feature one of our current students, Malinda Warnapura. Born on 26 May 1979 in Colombo, Sri Lanka), Malinda is a former Sri Lankan International cricketer. He is a left-handed batsman and right-arm off-break bowler. Malinda made his first class debut in 1998/99, represented Sri Lanka in the cricket tournament at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, and eventually played international cricket for Sri Lanka in 2007. He made his highest first class score of 242 playing for Sri Lanka A against Bangladesh A in 2007. Malinda made his ODI debut on 20 May 2007 against Bangladesh, and Test debut at the same series, on 25 June 2007. Malinda scored his first Test century in his third test, where he scored 120 runs in the first innings against West Indies. Malinda played a total of 14 Tests with 2 centuries and 3 ODIs.

Malinda was part of the LSC cricket team that was crowned champions of London and South East Conference in the British Universities and College Sports Cricket Championships in 2013 as well the university team that won the MCC Universities Limited overs championships final. In addition to this, Malinda and another Sri Lankan cricketing legend, Chaminda Vaas were involved in the training the LSC cricket team.

In addition to undertaking the MBAe, Malinda is also a professional sports commentator on television and plays domestic cricket. He is married to Shanika and they have two children.

LSC Connect: Malinda, you are from a well-known Sri Lankan cricketing family. Can you tell us how you got into cricket yourself? Would you say it’s in the blood?
Malinda: My father, Upali Warnapura was a Club Cricketer who still plays for veteran teams. My uncle, Bandula Warnapura was the first official Sri Lankan Cricket Captain after gaining Test status.As a child I heard a lot about the game of cricket whenever my father, uncles when they gather at any family function. There are several cousins of mine presently in big time cricket. So, I would say yes, cricket is definitely in my blood.

In addition to undertaking the MBAe, Malinda is also a professional sports commentator on television and plays domestic cricket. He is married to Shanika and they have two children.

LSC Connect: Malinda, you are from a well-known Sri Lankan cricketing family. Can you tell us how you got into cricket yourself? Would you say it’s in the blood?
Malinda: My father, Upali Warnapura was a Club Cricketer who still plays for veteran teams. My uncle, Bandula Warnapura was the first official Sri Lankan Cricket Captain after gaining Test status.As a child I heard a lot about the game of cricket whenever my father, uncles when they gather at any family function. There are several cousins of mine presently in big time cricket. So, I would say yes, cricket is definitely in my blood.

LSC Connect: What are your earliest memories of cricket?
Malinda: When I captained my College in 1998. The memorable 159 runs that I scored at the Colombo Oval during the annual Joe-Pete big match which stands in the records as the third best batting performance to date and in the same year when I scored 126 runs in the limited Over annual encounter, which I still treasure with fond memories.

LSC Connect: Can you share a career highlight?
Malinda: This would be when I scored my first Test Century during the third Test match that I played against the West Indies. It was a milestone in my career.

LSC Connect: You have certainly had an impressive cricket career, who or what were have influenced and motivated you?
Malinda: My father has been the biggest influence in my cricket career and my school authorities at St. Peter’s College in Colombo encouraged me to go into cricket.

LSC Connect: What was your motivation for doing the MBAe?
Malinda: In 2009, I had a near death experience in Karachi, Pakistan. This high drama episode got me thinking about what I would do if I got so badly injured that I could no longer take part in active cricket. That was the moment I thought that I should be equipped with the knowledge and qualifications to take my life forward without any hindrance or burden to my family.

LSC Connect: How has the MBAe translated into your life?
Malinda: It has made an enormous contribution to my career to have the knowledge and business skills when making decision and taking calculated risks.

LSC Connect: If you had your time over again, what one thing would you do differently?
Malinda: I would have pursued my studies to be a professional in some established vocation.

LSC Connect: You now have children of your own. Do you have any cricket ambitions for them?
Malinda: It is up to them if they take a liking to the game of cricket but I am very optimistic.

LSC Connect: Can you give three pieces of advice or encouragement for youngsters who admire you and what you have achieved?
Malinda: 1. To have dreams in your life; 2. give 100% to whatever you do; and 3. be disciplined.

LSC Connect: That is very sound advice. Can you tell us something about Malinda the man and Malinda the professional sportsperson?
Malinda: As a person, family is very important to me and always will be. In my professional life, I will always be highly disciplined in any stage of my sports career.

LSC Connect: What are your plans for the future both professionally and personally?
Malinda: I would say that I am in the twilight of my cricketing career. I want to pass on my knowledge and skills to the younger generation and personally I want my children to be professionals in their chosen careers.

LSC Connect: Thank you for your time Malinda. I am sure the next generation of cricketers will benefit from the expertise and experience you can share from your brilliant cricketing career.