Lakmal Bandara, the older of the brothers who have dominated Icelandic cricket for the past few years, has formally been made captain of the Iceland national cricket team for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
Since the retirement of Iceland’s first captain, Ragnar Kristinsson, in 2008 it has been become customary for the national team’s leadership to be passed on every two years. Bandara will thus become the eighth official captain of the Falcons.
He was vice-captain to his predecessor, Nolan Williams, whose tenure met several challenging and unforeseen circumstances. First, he was kept out of the game with a shoulder injury; then he led Iceland in a series of international games against its strongest-ever opponents; finally, the coronavirus pandemic intervened. A diplomatic and popular leader, Williams says he looks forward to playing under Bandara as captain. “He’s a great choice. I believe Lakmal will be a good captain, once he’s given a proper run at it. I really think the responsibility will bring the best out of him,” said the former skipper.
Bandara made his debut in domestic cricket for Kópavogur in 2015, and was first selected for Iceland the following year, but it was when he moved to Reykjavík in 2018 that he really came into his own as a bowling all-rounder. He was entrusted with the Vikings’ vice-captaincy that year, and ascended to the captaincy in 2019, leading the team in 11 games with six victories and five defeats. He then became Williams’ number two in the national team. During Williams’ period of injury, Bandara stepped up to lead the side, winning three games and losing two. The captaincy is now his by appointment.
“I’ve been working with the guys for some time,” says Bandara. “I’ve also captained a few times. Everyone’s improved their talents in different ways. But two years ago, we played a very high standard, with those international matches. We haven’t played for some time now, so I’m excited to get started. I’m going to do my best to remind everyone that Iceland can play good cricket.”
Ihtisham-ul-Haq, the national team’s new Coach, said he was “very satisfied and grateful” to learn of Bandara’s elevation. “He’s a very healthy and fine individual,” said Haq. “He’s eager to learn and to win. I’m sure I will develop him into a great leader.”
It is anticipated that the Iceland national team will, as last season, play the winners of the Íslensk Premier League for the Samuel Gill Trophy. Circumstances permitting, the intention is then to tour overseas in the latter half of 2021 and make a return to international cricket.
The official Iceland captains, their records and their win percentages
1999—2008 R Kristinsson P8 W5 L3 (63)
2009—2010 LR Nelson P3 W2 T1 (66)
2011—2012 KR Hayward P2 W1 L1 (55)
2013—2014 A Thapa P1 L1
2015—2016 JWV Robertson P13 W5 L8 (38)
2017—2018 YD Deonarain P26 W13 L11 D1 T1 (50)
2019—2020 NL Williams P5 L5
2021—2022 RMNL Bandara P5 W3 L2 (60)
Three further players have captained Iceland, all by invitation: KC Harris in 2018 (P2 W1 L1), LS Dcunha in 2019 (P1 L1) and SK Gill in 2019 and 2020 (P2 W2).