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10 Unknown facts about Akila Dananjaya

Here are some unknown facts about the canny spinner.

Akila Dananjaya Sri Lanka v India
Akila Dananjaya. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The off-spinner from the Lankan Isles, Akila Dananjaya stole the show in the second ODI against India with his breathtaking rendition. He has been an integral part of the Sri Lankan side for some time now, but inconsistency kept haunting his progress and didn’t let him reach the goals that he set for himself.

But as they say, “All it needs is one good performance” and this might be it for Dananjaya. The youngster made his debut a long time back in 2012 and it took him some time to re-enter the side and stamp his authority. The Sri Lankan team is currently in a transition phase and they’ve been terrible coping with the absence of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.

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After these two legends of the game retired, they never looked the same, but there are some fine talents in the bag who need proper nourishment. Akila is definitely one of them here are some unknown facts about this youngster.

1. Birth and early life

He was born on 4 October 1993 in the Panadura region of Basnahira, Sri Lanka. His father was a carpenter and he completed his schooling Mahanama Vidyalaya, Panadura.

2. A productive stint at Wayamba United

Dananjaya was picked to play for Wayamba United in the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League. In only his second match for the franchise, he took 3/18 against Nagenahira Nagas. He impressed one and all with his flight, variation and most importantly, a lethal googly.

3. Roped into national side on Jayawardene’s request

He impressed the former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene a lot during the nets sessions at Wayamba United. This made Jayawardene request the national selectors to rope him into the side and a fairytale just turned a reality. He was selected in the Sri Lankan squad that participated in the 2012 ICC World T20.

4. Suffered a horrendous injury

In his debut match against New Zealand in the World T20, Rob Nicol hit the ball straight towards the bowler. Dananjaya couldn’t hold on to the ball and it slipped through his fingers, on to his face. This resulted in a fracture on his left cheek bone and hence, he did not play in the pool match against West Indies.

5. International debut before first-class debut

Akila Dananjaya is one of the few cricketers in the world, who made his International debut before the first-class debut. He played his first game in Sri Lankan colours in a T20I game against New Zealand in 2012 ICC World T20. A year later in 2013, he made his first-class debut for Colts Cricket Club against  Ragama Cricket Club.

6. Disappeared from the International side

After making his debut at a tender age of 18, he failed to consolidate his place in the national side as his performances were not up to the mark. He eventually disappeared from the spotlight and his first-class performances too were not convincing enough to get a place in the national team.

7. Sold to Chennai Super Kings in the IPL Auction 2013

In the 2013 IPL auction, Dananjaya was bought by the giants of the tournament, Chennai Super Kings. He was sold for a base price of $20,000, which approximately sums up to Rs. 10.5 Lakh.

8. Made a comeback after 5 years

Dananjaya was finally recalled into the ODI squad after five years for the Zimbabwe tour in 2017. In the first match of the series, he took his maiden ODI wicket by dismissing Craig Ervine.

9. Marriage

He was a part of the Sri Lankan squad during the India series but a day ahead of the second ODI he tied the knot with Nethali Tekshini. The offie wasn’t a part of the playing XI in the first match but was included in the following game where he put up the best show of his career.

10. A mind boggling spell of wrist spin

In the second ODI against India in 2017, the visitors were running away with the match as they stood at 109/0 chasing 231. But Dananjaya turned the game on its head and bamboozled each and every batter in the Indian middle order. In a span of few minutes, India was down to 131/7 and he had picked up 6 wickets, out of which 4 were bowled and 2 were leg-before dismissals. But a sensational fight back from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and MS Dhoni helped India complete the run chase and his effort went in vain.

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