The ascent of Hasaranga is quite similar to that of Malinga: Jayawardene

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Sri Lankan rapping legend Mahela Jayawardene is very impressed with the rise of Wanindu Hasaranga as he sees the traits of great rhythm beater Lasith Malinga in the 25-year-old allrounder spin.

Hasaranga, who plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, grabbed the limelight at the 2021 T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates when he topped the standings with 16 wickets – the most in a tournament.

He went on to be instrumental with both bat and ball in their Asian Cup triumph to rise to world number 4 overall. “The way he flourished…he’s also from the south, quite close to where Lasith (Galle) was and they have similar mannerisms,” Jayawardena told ICC Review.

“The way they both came out, they started their careers quietly — you know, sitting in the corner of the dressing room — and little by little they grew. The hairstyles changed, the tattoos came out. and all that. It’s (The Development of Hasaranga) is quite similar to how Lasith became what Lasith was, and that’s how I see the way Wanindu blossomed as a player. “

The biggest similarity between the two is their fierce competitiveness, said Jayawardene, who now works as a consultant coach from Sri Lanka. “The most important thing is that once they get across the pitch, like Lasith, he’s a competitor, that’s what I like about him,” he said.

At the Asian Cup, Hasaranga was the second highest wicket taker – nine scalps – and also contributed with 66 points to be named player of the tournament. He was also instrumental – 36 and 3/27 – in their eventual win over Pakistan.

“Over the past 12 months he has shown how mature he is – not just as a bowler, but also with the bat. In tough situations he really came and delivered,” Jayawardena said.

“But as the leader of this group, even though he doesn’t have the title of vice-captain or captain or anything like that, underneath all of that he has become a leader that all the young people look up to. “

Jayawardena has known Hasaranga since he was 19, thanks to his former teammate Chaturanga de Silva, Hasaranga’s brother. “To be honest, his brother was playing cricket while we were also playing cricket,” Jayawardena said.

“So Wanindu was much younger, was playing under-19 cricket when we were finishing, and then he started playing first-class cricket.

“We always knew this guy can bowl and bat but we never knew what quality of bowler he could become. I mean in the beginning he didn’t have the precision but he always had an X factor about him, how he did things.

“That’s where Sri Lanka invested in him when he was quite young, especially in white-ball cricket.”

Sri Lanka won their first warm-up match against Zimbabwe on Tuesday by 33 points. They will then face Ireland in their final warm-up game on Thursday before facing Namibia in their opening game of the T20 World Cup in a Group A match.

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