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June 8, 2021
Wanindu Hasaranga, at age 23, the most telling recent discovery to SL cricket

Sri Lanka Cricket

All-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga has by all accounts been the most telling recent discovery to Sri Lanka cricket for the rousing impact he has imparted both with bat and ball. While the 23-year old from Galle broke into international cricket in the magical of becoming the third bowler to claim an ODI hat-trick on debut against Zimbabwe in a home series in July 2017 at Galle, he has since ascended to be arguably the most powerful hitter of the ball for his sixes hitting clout. What has set apart the former Richmond College product in leaps and bounds has been the pinch-hitting flair the right-hander packs as a lower order No.8 batsman. In a career spanning just over three years fractured by the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020, Wanindu Hasaranga has demonstrated that uncanny flair to good measure.  His cameo 74 showcased by 5 sixes in a lost cause to Bangladesh in the first ODI in Dhaka last week  has further raised his standings. His late charge did kindle the feeling that this mauler of the ball had been let loose in a typical after the horse had bolted from the stable scenario with Sri Lanka far behind the run rate following a top order debacle.    

In a short stint, Hasaranga has scaled a few record summits for his age. His most runs in an ODI innings of an unbeaten 80 batting at No.8 against the West Indies on March 14, 2021 at North Sound puts him in 8th place behind C.R. Woakes 95 n.o (92 balls)., S.M. Curran 95 n.o. (83 b), N.M. Coulter-Nile 92 (60), T.M. Odoyo 84 (97), L. Klusener 83 (77), D.L. Vettoris 83 (77),  J.D.P. Oram 83 (40). 

Similarly, as a bowler too Hasaranga has tipped the records as the sixth bowler with the most number of LBWs in T20 cricket numbering 11 in 2019-2021, after Rashid Khan 19, compatriot Ajantha Mendis 16, Shahid Afridi 14, R.E. van der Merwe 13, and compatriot Lasith Malinga 12 in that order. 

With an ODI aggregate of 418 runs from 19 innings and 21 matches, he has a highest of 80 not out and two half centuries averaging 27.86 and strike rate of 116.11. He has done justice as a bowler too with a tally of 21 ODI wickets from 21 appearances with best of 3 for 15 averaging 38.00.

Hasaranga has been quick to insulate himself as a worthy cog in the wheel in all three forms of the game. For a batsman who has displayed the sword edge of taking bowling attacks apart at short notice and conspicuously mostly in bad situations given top order let downs, his averages could have been on the up had he batted higher up, what is more adding the lacking fire power at the top that has led to debacles. 

He has scored  154 T20 runs from 13 innings and 16 matches with highest of 44 averaging 19.25 and 24 wickets in 14 innings with best of 3 for 12 averaging 14.00.

In test cricket, from 4 appearances Hasaranga has aggregated 196 runs with a highest of 59 averaging 28.00 and strike rate of 86.34, and claimed 4 wickets – a best of 4 for 171.

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