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What next for Wanindu?

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Rex Clementine
in Sydney

It remains to be seen whether Wanindu Hasaranga  can end up a second T-20 World Cup as the leading wicket taker. In the last event in 2021 in UAE, he finished with 16 scalps, which is the most by a bowler in a T-20 World Cup of which the eighth edition is being played in Australia. In the ongoing tournament, with the game against  England left, he has accounted for 13 victims . Hasaranga is one of the most feared bowlers in the world and it’s just a matter of time before he goes onto become the next global star of the game.

T-20s certainly changed cricket’s world order with franchise cricket bringing unimaginable reaches to players. They say that Sanath Jayasuriya’s one year IPL contract of US$ 975,000 was more than his entire earnings from national contracts. He was T-20 cricket’s first global star and  others like Chris Gayle, A.B. de Villiers and Lasith Malinga followed.  Hasaranga topped the scale with an IPL salary of US$ 1.3 million last year. He has been highly sought after and had to forgo a lucrative deal for The Hundred conducted by English and Wales Cricket Board for fear  of burnout lead up to the World Cup.

Now that Hasaranga is not picked for Test match cricket, if Sri Lanka’s international schedule provides slots, he should engage in other franchise competitions  for the simple reason that exposure will enable him to further enhance  his game.At 25, we are yet to see the best of the leg-spinner and already he’s breathing down the neck of Lasith Malinga having taken 83 wickets in 51 T-20 games compared to Malinga’s 107 scalps in 84 games. By next year, he would have gone past Malinga and become the leading wicket taker of the world.

When Wanindu took a hat-trick on debut at the age of 19, we reckoned that authorities had found a special talent. But he was surprisingly overlooked for the 50 over World Cup in England in 2019 as the team management made a mess of  selections picking players who had  not featured in an ODI for four years. England captain Eoin Morgan’s comment that Sri Lanka were the surprise package in the tournament summed up the sorry state of affairs.

Following the arrival of Mickey Arthur, Hasaranga  was brought back in and he has become the mainstay in the attack.  Hasaranga comes to bowl after the Power Play overs and picks  up key wickets. Although leg-spinners usually go for runs, he’s been able to remain economical unless he is up against someone like Marcus Stoinis, who destroyed him in Perth  the other day. There seems to be a tendency that Hasaranga picks up wickets of  more right-handed  batsmen than lefties and tactically, opposition teams have left their left-handers tackle the leg-spinner.

The best thing about Hasaranga is his fighting ability. He’s in the deep while fielding and at a ground like Gabba you can get a closer look at what exactly is going  on and  apart from being alert, he also keeps other fielders on their toes.

With the bat, he has failed to click during  the World Cup, but Hasaranga is capable of producing knocks like that of Pakistan’s  Shadab Khan, who ended South Africa’s unbeaten run in the tournament with a 20 ball half-century. There was far more consistency from Hasaranga with the bat during the Asia Cup. Number seven is a position where you don’t get much of an opportunity but in the death overs a couple of clean hits can give your team an above par total. Or in the case of a collapse, like we saw during the Asia Cup, his  batting skills have come in handy. All in all, the stage is set for Wanindu to go onto become the game’s next big super star. His skill, work ethic and  competitiveness all point in that direction.



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Methwan wins marathon encounter

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ITF Junior Circuit Tennis

Methwan Wijemanne overcame Josh Hinton of Great Britain in a marathon three and half hour battle to win the first-round encounter of the ITF Junior Circuit Week 1 Tennis Event at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Tuesday.

Wijemanne scored 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 against Hinton.

ITF Junior Circuit Tennis Tournament which is currently underway in Colombo will conclude on February 5.

Meanwhile, in another first-round encounter, Nithila Goonathilake beat Aryan Mehata of India 6-3, 6-0.

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England Lions strongly placed

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Sadeera Samarawickrama with 43 runs was the top scorer for Sri Lanka.

Top-order batsmen Alex Lees, Haseeb Hameed and Tom Haines scored half-centuries for visiting England Lions to reach 249 for three wickets at stumps after they dismissed the hosts for 136 on day one of the unofficial Test at Galle on Tuesday.

Sadeera Samarawickrama with 43 runs was the top scorer for Sri Lanka.

Scores:

Sri Lanka ‘A’

136 all out in 35.4 overs (Oshada Fernando 21, Sadeera Samarawickrama 43, Lakshaitha Manasinghe 26; Matthew Fisher 5/34, Liam Patterson-White 3/51)

England Lions

249 for 3 in 48 overs (Alex Lees 56, Haseeb Hameed 81, Tom Haines 62, Josh Bohannon 26n.o.; Lasith Embuldeniya 2/89)

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Hathurusingha named Bangladesh head coach

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Bangladesh Cricket Board, on Tuesday (31), said that Chandika Hathurusingha has been named as the new head coach for a two-year period. He is expected to join the set-up in February.

“We have appointed Hathurusingha for two years as across the format head coach,” BCB chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury was quoted by Cricbuzz as having said.

The former Sri Lanka all-rounder had earlier served as the head coach of Bangladesh from 2014 to 2017. He has also served in various coaching positions with Sri Lanka, Canada, NSW and Sydney Thunder.

In his previous coaching tenure, Bangladesh had won ODI series against India, Pakistan and South Africa, alongside achieving Test victories versus Sri Lanka, England and Australia. During his stint, Bangladesh also reached the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy in 2017.

“It’s an honour to have been given this opportunity to coach the Bangladesh national team once again. I really loved the warmth of the people and the culture of Bangladesh whenever I have been there. I’m looking forward to working with the players once again and enjoy their successes,” he said in a press release.

Cricbuzz had earlier reported that BCB is unlikely to continue with split coaching and Hathurusingha is the front-runner to replace Russell Domingo, who resigned before completing his stint that ran until the end of the 50-over ICC World Cup.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s Test and T20I skipper Shakib Al Hasan remained tightlipped on the return of Hathurusingha as the head coach. No comments,” it’s all right,” he said, without elaborating further.

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