What makes a Blues cricketer tick?
FELIX STYLES chats to upcoming cricket legend, Nipuna Senaratne.
With a century against Cambs County, and a scorching 81 in the defeat to Teddington, Nipuna Senaratne is one of the biggest threats the Dark Blue bowlers will face in the Varsity match at Lords on the 20th June.
I find Senaratne in his college library, fully padded up and reciting his notes to himself as he swings his bat at frightened freshers. It’s a challenging interview to conduct, and he straight-bats me both metaphorically and actually on my first few questions. Gradually however, I coax the wily willow-wielder into revealing his darkest secrets and deepest sources of motivation. As legendary and scandalous as his off-the-pitch achievements are, I have been instructed to stick to cricket in this interview, so I do.
Senaratne is particularly keen to share with The Tab his desire to avenge last year’s underwhelming results: “The next part of the season is crucial for us as we prepare for the Lord’s Varsity game on the 20th June. We’re especially motivated to atone for a couple of disappointing performances in last year’s Varsity games where we didn’t really do ourselves justice. We’ve definitely shown improvements in the first part of the season so far and hopefully we can continue that trend for the important games to come.”
I ask the stern stump-defender about his Varsity opposition, but the mere mention of a slightly darker shade of blue sends Senaratne into a quivering rage. He brings his bat smashing down upon an innocent piece of furniture before I can calm him down and return to the subject of Cambridge’s season so far.
Indeed, the Blues’ season so far has hardly been plain sailing, a fact Senaratne puts down to the changes to the side, as well as conflicts between MCCU and Blues commitments: “We had a slow start to the season mainly due to a lot of players coming in and out of the side and balancing MCCU cricket at the same time. But in the last few games the squad has been more consistent and there have been some good team and individual performances especially in the back to back wins against the Quidnuncs and The Duke of Norfolk’s XI.”
Those wins have lent new momentum to Tom Elliott’s side as they look to prepare for their Varsity clash. Senaratne is quick to emphasise the importance of the Lord’s Varsity match on Friday 20th June, as compared with the T20 result. “It’s still quite far off but we’re looking to drum up interest in the game already. Our squad is shaping up well so far this year. Most of the guys are pretty experienced having played at least a year for the Blues but there have been some exciting new additions who have already performed well in the games so far.”
On that note, I leave the leather-sphere destroyer to his studies and practice shots, pitying the Oxford side that will line up against this man in just a few weeks’ time.