Pinnaduwage Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva has emerged as Sri lanka’s most sensational young discovery in recent years. Ever since breaking into top flight international cricket in 2017 in a home ODI series against Zimbabwe at the age of 20, this product hailing from Galle who cut his teeth in the game at Richmond College has indeed matured in leaps and bounds. His most recent top performance of 4 for 9 in Sri Lanka’s 7-wicket T20 triumph against India was over the moon stuff given the four dimensional significance in bowling Sri Lanka from a long winless hibernation to a 2-1 series win as much as defeating India in a T20 series after several years. It was sword edged by the personal triumph of performance in the Player of the Match award as well as the Player of the Series award capped on his 24th birthday that raised his stocks as a potential match winner demonstrated by his wily leg spin and pinch hitting.
The youngster, who did have an enchanting debut by his hat-trick act against Zimbabwe, rose to the be ranked in ICC career best standings as the second best bowler in T20 cricket after South Africa’s Tabraiz Shamsi,
The Colombo Cricket Club player, who some years ago lashed a cavalier innings to take his club to the plum in the top rung domestic scenario in the final against Chilaw Marians, has certainly brought the flair and swagger of a tremendous young discovery for the future of Sri Lanka cricket.
A bruising lower-middle order batsman, and an aggressive legbreak bowler, Wanidu Hasaranga graduated from a strong Richmond College outfit, had a fine run in Sri Lanka’s 2015 and 2016 Under-19 teams, and has made a promising start to his domestic cricket career.
Though it was his bowling that largely impressed at the Under-19 level – he claimed a particularly impactful 3 for 34 in the 2016 Youth World Cup quarter-final against England – batting was Hasaranga’s stronger suit in his first two seasons of senior cricket. Hasaranga made a rapid 87 on first-class debut with Ports Authority Cricket Club, and, having switched to Colombo Cricket Club, hit 586 runs at an average of 39.06 and a strike rate of 93 in the 2017 Premier League Tournament.
When this first-class runs tally was followed by a stretch of good bowling form in List A domestic tournaments, Hasaranga piqued the national selectors’ interest. He was chosen in Sri Lanka’s squad for the first two one-dayers against Zimbabwe in June 2017, with his fielding also cited as a reason for his selection. And what a debut it subsequently was; he became the third debutant in ODI history to claim a hat-trick when he wiped out Zimbabwe’s tail with the 14th, 15th and 16th deliveries of his international career.