Sri Lanka wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella revealed that some of the antics done on Day 5 of the opening Test against India at the Eden Gardens were intentional and were done to kill time and ensure a draw for the visiting team. The home team had a little over a session to bowl the Sri Lankans, and after reducing them to 22/4, they had more than a sniff to register an unlikely come from behind victory.
Just as the hosts were tightening the screws in the match, it was Dickwella who came in their way and proved to be the thorn in the flesh. He attempted quite a few audacious shots and made the bowlers wait in the run-up which infuriated the skipper Kohli and also the local man Mohammed Shami.
“How it all started was, I hit a six over square leg. There were three fielders behind square on the leg side and I brought that to the notice of the umpire Nigel Llong. A no-ball was called and then Virat Kohli came towards me and told me that that’s the umpires’ job and you don’t worry. That’s how it all started,” Dickwella revealed.
“I thought, hang on, this is a good opportunity to get into an argument and kill some time. Kohli quickly realized what my intentions were and started walking back. Then the Mohammed Shami thing happened. It was funny I thought, I would like to think that I won that battle,” the left-hander added.
After a few moments, Shami and Dickwella confronted face to face after the batsmen made the bowler to wait in the run-up.
“Shami came up to me and said, ‘Look here, I am the local boy. I am from Kolkata.’ Then I said, ‘I don’t give a damn.’ A few seconds later, I said, ‘But you are bowling with good pace and bounce.’ Perhaps he was happy with the compliment and started walking back.
“I was taking my time while I was batting and Shami was rushing to bowl and that didn’t go down too well with the Indians. I was so happy to be in that situation. The captain was on the other side and was guiding me asking me to be calm and play the normal game and they will get frustrated,” the 24-year-old added further.
Dickwella also smashed an extraordinary flick shot of Mohammed Shami when he had spotted that three fielders were behind the square and informed the umpire about that.
“I don’t want anyone to dominate while I am batting or while I am on the field. I want to dominate the game. Virat Kohli is one of the best batsmen in the world and that’s the kind of mentality he has as well. That’s why all this drama happened,” Dickwella noted.
The Sri Lankan flamboyant wicket-keeper batsman has been cautioned by the match referee on a couple of occasions and was also suspended for a solitary T20I in Australia. If another demerit point is deducted, then he might face a four-match suspension.
“That is in my mind,” Dickwella said with a cheeky smile. “But I didn’t overstep the line in Kolkata.
“I always enjoy the battle out in the middle. I like to be involved and get under the opposition’s skin even when I am keeping wickets I try to do that. I always look to put the pressure back on the opposition. That was a good chance to kill some time as well. I guess they lost about two or three overs,” he mentioned.
“I don’t want to go on the backfoot anytime. Even in a fight, if you are being attacked by someone, if you take a backfoot, there’s a good chance you will lose the fight. Similarly, if they attack me, I will hit back.” Amidst the dramas and chit chats going on in the ground his extraordinary shot was forgotten.
“I enjoy all these unconventional shots. I enjoy the Dil-scoop, the dab over third man, paddle sweep and ramp shots. These things I train at the nets. I knew there were three fielders behind square on the leg side and I knew the rule. I thought that he was going to bounce me. I wanted to scoop that over fine leg, but he pitched it up for me. Had he bounced, that shot would have gone over the fine leg or over the wicketkeeper’s head.
“The three fast bowlers they had in the first Test were world-class. Rather than surviving, I thought attack is the best form of defense. It was a fast bowlers’ paradise and on top of it, there had been lot of rain and the wickets had been under covers. It was tough batting out there,” concluded Dickwella.