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Wanindu Hasaranga, Sri Lanka’s Kapil Dev-lite

Sri Lankan cricket, once a force to be reckoned with, is currently facing a period of significant hardship. Recent performances, including a heavy defeat to India in the 2023 World Cup and a disappointing showing in the Asia Cup, have highlighted concerning inconsistencies.

Several factors seem to be contributing to this struggle. Allegations of administrative issues, including potential mismanagement and lack of transparency, have cast a shadow over the sport.

Additionally, the team is transitioning from a golden generation, with the retirement of experienced players creating gaps that young talents are yet to fill.

The nation is working to rebuild and rediscover its winning spirit, with recent changes to the administration aiming to address existing problems. However, the new skipper and the spin sensation – Wanindu Hasaranga has come out as the new hope of Sri Lankan cricket.

Wanindu Hasaranga – The Aspiration of Sri Lanka

Hasaranga's journey began on the Under-19 stage, where his aggressive batting and a hint of his future brilliance with the ball caught the eye of selectors.

He burst onto the international scene in 2017, taking three wickets with his first three deliveries in an ODI against Zimbabwe, a feat rarely achieved in international cricket.

Since then, Hasaranga has steadily established himself as a vital cog in Sri Lanka's limited-overs setup. He possesses a unique arsenal of bowling variations, including the deceptive googly, the sharp leg-break, and the effective carrom ball.

His ability to spin the ball both ways and deceive batsmen with his disguised deliveries makes him a nightmare for many.

Beyond his bowling prowess, Hasaranga showcases surprising power with the bat, often playing impactful cameos down the order.

This all-round ability adds another dimension to his game, making him a true match-winner. Hasaranga's impact transcends statistics.

He injects an infectious energy and spirit into the team, inspiring his fellow players with his aggressive and fearless approach. This leadership quality and his ever-developing skills make him a crucial figure in Sri Lanka's rebuild.

However, Hasaranga's journey hasn't been without challenges. Injuries have hampered his progress at times, and maintaining consistency remains an ongoing pursuit. Nonetheless, his dedication and commitment to the game are undeniable.

Wanindu Hasaranga – Sri Lanka’s Kapil Dev Lite

While drawing direct comparisons between players from different eras is tricky, Wanindu Hasaranga's rise in Sri Lankan cricket evokes shades of the legendary Kapil Dev. Both share the rare distinction of being all-rounders who excel in both batting and bowling.

Dev, an Indian icon, was a fearsome pace-bowling all-rounder who could turn the tide of a match single-handedly. Hasaranga, on the other hand, mesmerises with his leg-spin wizardry and packs a punch with his lower-order hitting. Like Dev, Hasaranga carries the hopes of a nation.

He emerged during a transition period for Sri Lankan cricket, much like Dev did in his time for India. Both players inspire their teammates with their aggressive and passionate brand of cricket.

He showcased his similar allrounder skills and helped Sri Lanka score a win in October 2021 against Ireland. Sri Lankan top order was a major disaster but as soon as Hasaranga came to bat, he changed the outcome of the whole match and scored 71 off 47 at a strike rate of 151.06. He also contributed with a single wicket during the match.

A similar situation happened on Sunday, 18th February 2024, when Sri Lanka was in trouble against Afghanistan. The Skipper came to bat and led the team to a winnable score by scoring 67 off 32 at a strike rate of 209.38.

The newly made captain is not only taking tough calls for the team but he is leading the team from the front just like the Indian legend Kapil Dev in the 80s.

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