Captain requests unknown 18-year-old in Sri Lanka WT20 squad

By Staff Writers | July 26, 2012

Sri Lanka's captain and coach request the inclusion of teenage net bowler in World Cup squad. The inclusion of Akhila Dhananjaya, a previously unknown schoolboy cricketer, in Sri Lanka's ICC World Twenty20 provisional squad and the Wayamba squad for the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) caused an uproar amongst cricket enthusiasts on the island, as the 18-year-old had failed previously to make it into Sri Lanka's under-19 World Cup squad.

But Dhananjaya, who is a mystery spinner of sorts with several variations, did not miss out on the under-19 World Cup due to a lack of skill or unimpressive performances. In 12 matches for his alma mater Mahanama Vidyalaya in Panadura this season he took 60 wickets, according to reports.

"We [the national selection panel] took over the under-19 selections only after the Asia Cup. We were not familiar with them [under-19 players] because we had not worked with them," chief selector Ashantha de Mel admitted to the Daily Mirror newspaper in Sri Lanka.

"We had to go with the recommendations of the former selection committee [when picking the under-19 World Cup squad] because we were not in a position to look at anything. They had selected a squad of thirty and we had to work within that squad and what they gave.

"We basically had to agree because we didn’t know anything. We hadn’t seen the boys."

According to Sri Lanka's chief selector, Dhananjaya has "the same kind of doosra as Ajmal" and was picked up by Mahela Jayawardene at the SLPL auction without hesitation. The Sri Lankan skipper had also requested the spinner's inclusion in the World Twenty20 squad because he had felt the young spinner showed a lot of promise.

Dhananjaya impressed the Sri Lankan captain and other batsmen as a net bowler but de Mel said he is yet to see the young lad in action.

"We selected him on the basis of the request of the captain and the coach and not for anything else," he said.

Dhananjaya will likely represent Wayamba in this year's SLPL, which starts on August 11, although the final squads are yet to be named.

© Island Cricket


Theekshana Somaratna's picture
Member since:
14 April 2012
Last activity:
4 years 39 weeks

We do need an X factor and if this kid is it, i dont mind taking a chance. we can only judge once we have seen him perform at intl level. however i do not like it that some players who has done well in local contests (Munaweera etc) had not been given a chance instead of Mubarak and a few others. still in favor of Kapu getting a longer run but that is increasingly become difficult to justify.

Hilal's picture
Member since:
20 November 2008
Last activity:
1 day 22 hours

Now there's something to look forward to, even if you don't like anything else about the SLPL tournament! SLC could have marketed the tournament by utilising all their players as icon players.

Picture a TV commercial with this young bowler, and at the end of the commercial it says: "Catch Sri Lanka's newest spin sensation at the SLPL". There's many ways they could have generated a lot more interest in this tournament.

But for his own good, I hope he isn't rushed into international cricket like we did with Mendis.

UppercuT's picture
Member since:
19 October 2011
Last activity:
1 year 22 weeks

interesting....but i'd rather go for a straight up 'AMBUSH' for the rest of the world in T20 WC, rather than giving them a 'PREVIEW' of him in the SLPL. it might work against us, if they(other countries) have footage of him by the time, of the 1st game of T20 WC.

PS: btw if he has the same kinda doosra as 'ajamal', doenst dat mean he might get into trouble with ICC for bent elbow and all dat?????(ajmal claims he has a unnatural position of elbow)

Anonymous's picture

I knw abouth him, he is a bowler like naraine. He can ball both side far. his bowling action & flighting is superb. but he should improve his aim

Stormy's picture
Member since:
15 January 2011
Last activity:
3 days 28 min

This is interesting but it sort of highlights selection issues in SLC. Why must the captain personally call for this guy - surely if he is good enough he should be already in the squad - atleast the under 19 squad!

I like the idea of yet another mystery bowler but mindfull of the last two in Mendis and Pradeep! One was a flash in the pan and the other is yet to make the pan!!

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