Hours after returning from India, Tillakaratne Dilshan was busy hosting members of parliament and a bevy of celebrities, including former and current international cricketers, at the opening of DL-Step, an apparel store co-owned by him.
Though his mind was on Saturday's World Cup
quarterfinal against England, Dilshan cherished every moment of the grand opening ceremony. As Dilshan sat down for an interview with HT, he was as excited about his maiden business venture as the Cup knockouts.
Tillakaratne Dilshan drives during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 match between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele, Sri Lanka.
How did the apparel store come about?
I had a dream of opening a clothing factory from a very young age. I was in discussion with my partners for a while, and they supported the idea. We are importing stuff from Vietnam and China and soon we'll be launching our own brand 'Dila'. I also plan to bring out my jeans series 'Dilscoop' soon.
You couldn't have asked for a better time to open the store….
We had planned the opening a bit earlier. Unfortunately, we couldn't get all the stuff in time due to some glitches, but I am happy it has finally got off the block. We might open one or two more stores. But now, I have to forget all this and come back to cricket as an important match (against England) is round the corner.
Are you happy that you have avoided playing the quarterfinal in India against India?
We can't say that…we have to play against some very good sides. But we are happy to play at home and England is a good side and it will be a good test for us.
How do you see England an as opposition?
They have a few injury concerns and are missing two good players in Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad. Still they have a very good side and we are eagerly waiting for them.
You finally scored your maiden World Cup century in the league stage…
Right now, I feel good about my batting. The hundred against Zimbabwe really boosted my confidence. The first few matches, I got good starts but could not convert them, so I had to rethink my approach a bit, as I needed to stay longer at the crease. Now, hopefully, I can maintain that in the knockout matches.
You have been rolling your arm over with a lot of success….
Right now, I am feeling good about my bowling and rhythm. It gives my game that extra dimension.