Middlesex left-arm spinner Thilan Walallawita granted British citizenship

Middlesex left-arm spinner Thilan Walallawita granted British citizenship

Sri Lanka-born spinner escaped Boxing Day tsunami before moving to England as child

Thilan Walallawita, Middlesex’s Sri Lanka-born left-arm spinner, will be able to compete during the 2022 county season as a home-registered player, after finally being granted British Citizenship.
As a child Walallawita, now 23, escaped the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, which decimated large parts of his home country and claimed the lives of over 30,000 Sri Lankans, before moving to England at the age of 12.

After developing his game at Potters Bar Cricket Club, Walallawita entered the Middlesex Academy via their age-group set-up, and earned his first professional contract in 2020 after finishing the 2019 season as the club’s leading wicket taker in the Second Eleven Championship.

He made both his first-class and T20 debuts later that summer and his List A debut in 2021, all while registered as an overseas player with his citizenship application still pending. Now, however, that status has been resolved and Middlesex confirmed that they will soon be able to register him as a local cricketer.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a very long time and it feels like today a massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” Walallawita said. “I’ve been a part of this county for ten years and since I first started it’s been my ambition to play as a local player – at last that day has come. I can now concentrate fully on trying to cement my place in the side in all formats and lo longer worry about things off the field that have been out of my control.

“I would like to thanks the club for all their support through this process and am looking forward to repaying their faith in me by delivering for them on the pitch. Hopefully I can play my part in what we all hope will be a successful period for the Club on the field.

Alan Coleman, Middlesex’s head of Men’s Performance Cricket, added: “We are absolutely thrilled that Thilan is now in a position to be registered as a local cricketer and his career with the club can continue to thrive.

“He is a hugely popular member of the dressing room here, and he has had quite the journey to reach this point. It’s great to see his patience and hard work rewarded in this way and he can now focus on developing and improving his game.

“As a left-arm spinner with immense talent, Thilan is a rare breed in modern day cricket, and is someone that we have high hopes for in the game. We look forward to supporting him through the next phase of his career.”

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