He is the new sensation, the unlikely hero, the man to emerge from deep down of the batting depths to stand and deliver when it looks like everything is lost. It is this innocuous ability to emerge from the shadows and do the job for his side that has created a cutting edge to the Sri Lankan ODI team in a long time.
Matter of fact, it was a key area in the batting order that the Sri Lankan cricket authorities had been searching to plug. But that it did not happen just then and became a long running concern that has been plugged at long last after several years of talent search that has yielded in the discovery of 22-year old Pinnaduwage Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva, a product from Down South Galle is indeed like seeing light out of a dark tunnel. For, the presence of this dare devil batsman going after bowlers weaving his bat like a magic wand is indeed enriching to imbibing the much needed impetus to the Lankan batting order; an assuredness of depth which is a much defining yardstick in the fast paced biff bang game.
And, that it is an extraordinary talent in this youngster is a bonus of a game-battler who can take it right down to the wire. It is this rare quality in the lad that sets him apart belying more senior players for his age. As Wanindu told me soon after his match winning unbeaten match winning knock for his local club the CCC in the Premier League final few weeks ago, “I’m working hard to be a perfect all-rounder. So, I’m also working on further developing my bowling to be a productive wicket taker for Sri Lanka.” As for his batting prowess, he said, “It is due to my 100 per cent self belief and confidence in my shot making.” Certainly, precise shot making or placement in piercing fields during crunch situations is his specialty as he demonstrated against the West Indies.
Born on July 29, 1997 in Galle, Wanindu Hasaranga is a product who cut his teeth in the game at Richmond College. He has been discovered from the Sri Lanka Under-19s and Sri Lanka Under-23s. As a leg break bowler, he does pack promise for the future with varying pace and trajectory.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-