'Like Lasith, he is a competitor' - Mahela Jayawardene points out similarities between Wanindu Hasaranga and Lasith Malinga

Wanindu Hasaranga was the leading wicket-taker at the T20 World Cup 2021 and second highest wicket-taker in the recently concluded Asia Cup.

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Mahela Jayawardene
Mahela Jayawardene. (Photo: IANS)

One of the poster boys of Sri Lankan cricket, Wanindu Hasaranga has been exceptional for his country in the past year as far as the white-ball cricket is concerned. Even though the Lankan Lions failed to perform as per expectations in the T20 World Cup 2021, Hasaranga emerged as the leading wicket-taker of the tournament in UAE.

His performances have got better with time as the all-rounder played sensational cricket and bagged the Player of the Tournament title in the recently concluded Asia Cup and helped Sri Lanka clinch their sixth title.

Mahela Jayawardene, former Sri Lanka captain seems very impressed with the rise of Hasaranga in international cricket. The 45-year-old deemed Hasaranga as the leader of all the young players. Despite not being the designated captain or vice-captain of the side, the 25-year-old leads the team based on his performances on the field as per the legendary cricketer.

“In the last 12 months, he has shown how mature he is – not just as a bowler but with the bat as well. In tough situations, he has really come and delivered,” said Jayawardene in the latest episode of the ICC Review.

“As a leader in that group, even if he doesn’t have the title as the vice-captain or the captain or anything like that, but underneath all of that he has become a leader who all the young guys look up to,” he added.

Jayawardene sees traits of Lasith Malinga in Hasaranga

Mahela in his conversation with Sanjana Ganeshan revealed how he saw traits of Lasith Malinga in Hasaranga. Malinga, who is one of the greats of Sri Lankan cricket was shy in nature at first before taking the cricketing world by storm. The same can be said for Hasaranga as well. Jayawardene drew similarities between the two cricketers in the episode.

“The way he has blossomed… He’s also from down south, quite close to where Lasith was (Galle) and they have similar mannerisms. The way they both came out, they started their careers quietly – you know, sat in the corner of the dressing room – and little by little they grew.

The hairstyles change, the tattoos came out and the whole thing. It (Hasaranga’s development) is quite similar to how Lasith became who Lasith was, and that’s how I see the way Wanindu has blossomed as a player. The most important thing is, once they cross the field, like Lasith, he is a competitor – that’s what I love about him,” Jayawardene added.

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