Wanindu Hasaranga was terrific in the outings against India during the limited overs series. In his short T20I career, the 24-year-old has jumped to a career best ranking of second in the ICC bowlers’ rankings despite playing just 21 international matches.
The frenzy of the Indian Premier League is set to resume once again in just over a month’s time. IPL 2021 had unfortunately come to a quick conclusion due to the unprecedented rise of COVID-19 cases in the country and the outbreak in the camps of several franchises.
However, all that is behind us now and teams will be hoping to pick things up from right where they left off when the tournament resumes in the United Arab Emirates which also hosted the IPL last year.
It goes without saying that because of the disrupted schedule, national commitments, COVID protocols, or rest requirements, several players will be unavailable to represent their franchises in the second half of the IPL season. According to several reports, franchises are already on the hunt for suitable replacements.
Former India batting great Virender Sehwag has put his money behind Sri Lankan spinner Wanindu Hasarang. He believes that Hasaranga will be one of the most sought-after players and he has all the tools to surprise and impress everyone in the IPL.
The Sri Lankan bowler recently troubled Indian batsmen on the tour of the island nation. He had picked up 10 wickets from five matches and also registered a decisive spell of 4 for 9 in the final T20I which helped his side clinch the T20 series.
“He bowled brilliantly. And the two wickets he took in the middle – of Sanju Samson and Ruturaj Gaikwad – broke India’s back. I think there was some news that Hasaranga is targeting a few IPL teams as a replacement player,” Sehwag said on Cricbuzz.
“I mean he was hoping for something like that and he proved himself… it doesn’t get bigger than this. Those who would be thinking of picking him would be saying ‘we need to talk to him’ and get him as a replacement player. He delivered the right performance at the right time.”
As per reports, Royal Challengers Bangalore are already considering picking Hasaranga in order to replace Australian spinner Adam Zampa. Zampa had withdrawn from the IPL in the first half of the tournament, even before it got postponed.
Former Indian bowler Ashish Nehra also made a case for Hasaranga to play in the IPL. “Only time will tell which franchise needs a replacement. But if there are discussions, and someone needs a spinner – he (Hasaranga) could be the guy. If a player plays for a year and a half, he is considered a senior player in T20Is. He is the No. 2 ranked T20I bowler, although I do not believe much in rankings,” Nehra said on Cricbuzz.
“Not too many Sri Lankan are playing the IPL and if you talk about the India vs Sri Lanka series, Hasaranga has shown a lot of positives. Even Shanaka sent Hasaranga ahead of himself in batting.”