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Charith Asalanka, in the left-hand mould, signals arrival

Where the left-handed species of batsmen in cricket are outnumbered by right- handers, but known to have produced many greats, the emrgence of the 24-year old Charith Asalanka to Sri Lanka cricket as a stroke filled left-hander, is indeed a plus point. That the youngster, hailing from down South Galle, who forged his career from Richmond College to making the grade to becoming Sri Lanka’s latest potential youth batting find by emerging as the country’s top batsman in the 2-1 ODI Series triumph against South Africa is heady stuff. If it was the realisation of a dream come true for the starry eyed youngster in scores of 47, 72 and 77, it was as much a shot in the arm for Sri Lanka Cricket’s investment in its ambitious national youth drive. Asalanka so blossomed from having captained the Sri Lanka Emerging Team to catching the eye of the selectors in opting for young blood in a major shake-up.

In that lèft-hand mould, underlining the traits of composed maturity in innings building run grafting against South Africa did stand out Asalanka as a potential find for the future. That in the process, he scored a point for the left-handed species of another in the making with the hallmarks of walking the walk is significant. From a Sri Lankan perspective, as far as left-handers go, the arrival of Asalanka is of a promising discovery since the days of Sanath Jayasuriya, Hashan Tillekeratne and Arjuna Ranatunga of the 1995-96 world cup winning era. In contrasting flair, Jayasuriya etched his name as the Master Blaster for his explosive batting. Tillekaratne was rock solid a run grafter while Ranatunga, who broke out to the game as the local Sobers hieghtened by his classic sweep having in fact come under the coaching wings of the former West Indian great, was known for his cat and mouse run craft.

That in early days of coming on the blocks, Charith Asalanka has raised great expectations for the future as the country accentuates largely on new blood in quest of a new era, does stir the imagination of the arrival of the new guard.

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