He is 23 years old. Bowls leg spin, off spin, googly, flipper, the faster one, and the doosra perfectly. He destroyed the inform batting lineup in the Asia Cup finals by picking up six wickets.
Yes, you've guessed it. Ajantha Mendis has created ripples across the cricketing world. His unpredictability has earned him fame, fortune, and more importantly for Sri Lanka, a successor to Murali's throne.
For a long time the Lankans have been looking for an able spinner who could bowl along side Murali and then do what he did later on without him. But Sri Lanka, as the board found out, is not a spinner friendly country anymore. Upul Chandana was, at one time, a very good partner for him, but he lacked the killer instinct that Muttiah had.
While Chandana tried to bowl, somewhere in Sri Lanka, a match between the Sri Lankan army and the Lankan cricket Club was going on where a young medium bowler made his debut. He did not pick up any wickets but, little did he know, that the following matches he played would get him a chance to play his cricketing idols.
Ajantha Mendis, then picked 111 wickets in 19 first class matches at an average of 14 and 57 wickets in the list A level at an unbelievable average if 11.07! Surely he would have got a call for national duty, and within no time he did.
He made his debut against West Indies and started with a bang, picking up three wickets at an economy rate of 3.9 an over. After that, Mendis became a wonder. After having a very good debut series against Windies, he was instantly picked for the Asia Cup squad and made his presence felt.
When I said a "medium bowler made his debut" I didn't write anything wrong because he was considered one, but obviously he showed he could turn the ball both ways and bamboozle the batsman however he likes. His performance was so good, that he was the one who got the rest against India in the Super four and not Muttiah.
After his success at the Asia Cup, Mendis is loved by the people of his country and he even got a promotion in the army (he is part of the Sri Lankan National Army). After playing eight One Dayers, he has an average of 10 (don't rub your eyes, you read that right) after taking 20 wickets.
Could he be the next great spinner or is he just a one show wonder?
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