'I have four types of deliveries' - Akila Dananjaya
By Ryan Francis | August 20, 2012
Sri Lanka's newest spin sensation is yet to play a single first-class or List A match, but has become one of the talking points of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) tournament.
The 18-year-old net bowler Akila Dananjaya was spotted by Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene who, to the surprise of many, requested the selectors to include the teenager in Sri Lanka's 30-man World Twenty20 2012 preliminary squad last month.
Dananjaya had never played a game of professional cricket at that stage, which sparked rumours that his selection was politically motivated. The rumours were squashed shortly after, when it was revealed that the Sri Lankan skipper had identified something special in the young bowler.
Jayawardene showed no hesitation in picking Dananjaya in the Wayamba United squad for the inaugural SLPL.
Now, with three T20 matches under his belt – all of them played in the ongoing SLPL – Dananjaya has caught the eye of several former players in the commentary box, which prompted them to interview the young lad at the conclusion of the match between Wayamba and Basnahira on Sunday.
Dananjaya was confusing television commentators who did not know whether to classify him as an off spinner or a leg spinner.
"I bowl off-spin mostly, but I have four types of deliveries – leg spin, googly, carrom ball and doosra. They are my own inventions and variations," Dananjaya explained.
The youngster went on to thank Jayawardene for the faith he has shown in him and the opportunity to play at the SLPL.
"I'm very happy to be a part of this tournament and it's a great honour. Mahela Jayawardene has given me good support, this is a good team," he said.
Dananjaya has bowled impressively in the tournament thus far, and has shown that he doesn't mind tossing the ball up. A bowling average of under 15, along with an economy rate of under five runs per over, has complimented his four-wicket tally. And with Wayamba left with three more matches before the semi-final stage, Dananjaya still has plenty of time to improve on his figures and perhaps even earn a spot in Sri Lanka's final World Twenty20 squad.
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