By Staff Writers | December 6, 2013
Some of Sri Lanka’s best T20 talent will be on show in this season’s Big Bash. © AFP
Several cricketers from the current number-on ranked T20 side in the world Sri Lanka will be on show this month in Australia’s premier T20 tournament the Big Bash League (BBL).
The latest signing to be announced was mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis, who was picked up Syndey Thunder this week.
"When Chandika [Hathurusingha] spoke to me about the opportunity of playing for the Thunder it was too good an opportunity to pass up," Mendis said, speaking about the new signing.
"I have watched the success of the BBL, and to have a chance to play in it and test myself against some of the best players in the world is extremely exciting."
Mendis has not been selected in Sri Lanka’s ODI squad, and the 28-year-old is also unlikely to make the Test squad for the series against Pakistan in the UAE. He is therefore expected to be available for the entire BBL starting December 20.
The Thunder’s coach Hathurusingha played Test and ODI cricket for Sri Lanka. He also served as former Sri Lankan coach Trevor Bayliss’ understudy prior to moving to Australia.
Hathurusingha’s involvement with the Thunder may help explain the side’s other high-profile Sri Lankan signing — Tillakaratne Dilshan.
"Having worked closely with Dilshan during my time with the Sri Lankan squad, I was very keen to get him to the Thunder this season," the Thunder coach said.
"He is a match-winner with the bat, but will also provide us with another spinning option with the ball, as well as being a brilliant fielder. He has played at the highest level for a long time, and knows how to perform on the big stage, and he will a major attraction for Thunder members and fans this summer."
As a result of his recent retirement from Test cricket, Dilshan will not feature in the upcoming Sri Lanka-Pakistan Test series, and will be available for six matches in the BBL.
Dilshan will make his BBL debut on January 1 in the Thunder vs Melbourne Stars New Year’s day clash.
After a successful debut season last year, where he stood out as the BBL’s most lethal bowler, it’s no surprise that Melbourne Stars chose to retain Lasith Malinga.
Malinga wrecked havoc in his debut season, creating a new Australian domestic T20 record with figures of 6/7 against Perth Scorchers.
In seven matches, Malinga took 13 wickets from seven games at an economy rate of 4.75 and an unbelievable average of 10. He was the second-highest wicket-taker in the second-edition of the BBL.
Murali bids farewell to the game for good
The highest Test and ODI wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan has quit the international game, but continues to play in T20 leagues around the world. It is understood that this BBL season is likely to be the last time the champion bowler will feature in a professional cricket game before bidding farewell to the game for good.
Muralitharan made his BBL debut playing for Melbourne Renegades last season, and has been retained by the Renegades. He scalped 11 wickets in eight matches at an average of 17.36 and an economy rate of 5.96.
Both Muralitharan and Malinga are expected to feature in the tournament’s curtain-raiser on December 20.
© Island Cricket