Wendel Delpechitra calls time on career

Shining light: Wendel Delpechitra. Picture: Chris Lane
Shining light: Wendel Delpechitra. Picture: Chris Lane

When Fairfield Liverpool batsman Wendel Delpechitra was dismissed lbw for 3 against Hawkesbury in the final round of the NSW Premier Cricket season it brought to an end his first grade career which began on November 18, 2007.

A career that yielded more than 5000 runs. A career that saw him become a vital cog in a golden era for the Lions. A career that included one of the great centuries for the club. What people may not know, it's a 12-year career that got off to a rocky start.

Solid defence: Fairfield Liverpool batsman Wendel Delpechitra on the front foot at Rosedale Oval. He is Lion No.117. Picture: Simon Bennett

Solid defence: Fairfield Liverpool batsman Wendel Delpechitra on the front foot at Rosedale Oval. He is Lion No.117. Picture: Simon Bennett

After playing in the lower grades with Blacktown, the 31-year-old got the call-up to the top grade to play St George.

"It wasn't a very good game to start," the Fairfield resident said. "I actually turned up late to the game. I got caught in traffic on the way to Hurstville Oval... I was stressing and as I go there the boys were walking out for warm-ups.

"We batted first and I came in with 10 overs to go and I had that nervous energy and third ball I got a little feather to the keeper and I was out for a duck....and I also got a fine for coming late."

Lucky for him things improved. He became a consistent run scorer at the top of the order and as he got older became a mentor to the younger generation coming into grade.

Things have come full circle for the former Green Shield coach with many of the players he coached playing alongside him.

"I knew it was the right time to retire. We have a lot of good young kids and I have a lot of faith in them and I feel it is their opportunity to take the game forward," said Delpechitra, who has two first grade wickets to his name with his leg-spin.

"You have that feeling when your time is done so I decided to make the call that this season was it. Its been really good to share my experiences with the younger boys."

The Patrician Brothers College, Fairfield physical education teacher, who appears alongside his family on the reality show Gogglebox, still rates his best innings as the 106 he scored in 2009 against Gordon. He shared a 209-run partnership with Grant Lambert (205 not out) to help the Lions chase 404 at Chatswood Oval.

"Lambo [Grant Lambert] kept telling me to play positive through the whole week at training and I didn't think that much of it. When you're pretty young, you just want to get out there and play," he said. "I was a bit nervous at the start but I managed to survive the first 15 minutes and then I started to found my flow and things started to hit the middle of the bat."

End of an era: Wendel Delpechitra padded up at home in Fairfield. He played his last game for the club last month. Picture: Chris Lane

End of an era: Wendel Delpechitra padded up at home in Fairfield. He played his last game for the club last month. Picture: Chris Lane

Sri-Lankan-born, Delpechitra came to Australia with his parents when three and is a self-confessed cricket tragic. He lists his favourite players as Sanath Jayasuriya,Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Ricky Ponting and Mark Waugh.

He plans to take a season or two off and maybe hit the beach after 22-straight summers on the cricket field. He then wants to captain a lower grade team and work with the players coming through the system.

"I know what it is like to come into the grade system and the pressure that comes with wanting to play higher grades and I feel I can teach them what I learnt," he said.

This story DELPECHITRA DECLARES first appeared on Fairfield City Champion.