1996 World Cup winner for Sri Lankan cricket team now sells sports goods for a living

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1996 World Cup winner of the Sri Lankan team, Upul Chandana now owns a sports goods store for a living.

Colombo: Once regarded as one of the country’s most talented spinners along with Muttaih Muralidharan, former Sri Lanka cricketer and 1996 World Cup winner Upul Chandana now makes a living as the owner of a sports goods store.
The former Sri Lankan all-rounder revealed his interest was influenced due to the Indian Premier League, which he was banned from.
“It was a stupid decision. The next year, they started the IPL, and they still owe me 60,000 USD. There are so many cricket clubs around and there weren’t too many good sports stores in the locality. So I thought I’ll start one. People don’t spot it easily. Only if you come inside the club will you notice it,” Chandana was quoted saying by the Indian Express. Therefore in an attempt to remain financially stable, Chandana opened the store.
“There are so many cricket clubs around and there weren’t too many good sports stores in the locality. So I thought I’ll start one. People don’t spot it easily. Only if you come inside the club will you notice it,” Chandana said.
The former Sri Lankan all-rounder also recalled the financial difficulties he faced in his childhood that urged him to take up the interest.
“In my childhood in Galle, we played with one ball for months. There was no sports store and we had little money. Even the schools couldn’t afford it. The first time I held a cricket ball, my fingers almost went inside the ball. It was almost two separate pieces. So I decided one day when I grow up I’d open a sports store,” Chandana continued.
“I lost my father when I was seven. Ours was a big family of 10, relying entirely on my eldest brother’s income. He was into making furniture in Dambulla and up north. You endure all those hardships and you get that mindset to take everything positively,” the former Sri Lanka cricketer added.
Chandana also revealed how hard it was replacing Sri Lankan spin legend Muttaih Muralidharan in the team.
“We started together at the Tamil Union, and the amount of hard work he put in was unbelievable. He would slog the entire day. The first half of the day will be spot bowling. The second half was devoted to batsmen. I was not that hard working, or had that amount of talent,” he admits.
However, Chandana expressed gratitude for all the opportunities despite his bad fortunes. “A poor boy from Galle playing so many matches is an achievement, don’t you think so?” he asks. “I can at least tell my children and grandchildren that I was in the World Cup winning squad and played with all the greats of Sri Lankan cricket. I’ve bowled to (Sachin) Tendulkar and (Brian) Lara,” Chandana concluded.

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