Sri Lanka chief selector Ashantha de Mel was rich in praise of the team’s youngsters after they swept Pakistan 3-0 in their recently concluded T20I series.
Sri Lanka were without several key players for the tour of Pakistan after they pulled out due to security reasons. However, the youngsters stepped up to stun the No. 1 T20I side according to ICC rankings.
“What I was impressed with the youngsters is that they took the opportunity they were given with both hands," de Mel said. “Bhanuka (Rajapaksa) was debuting, and Oshada (Fernando) was debuting as well, and they played out of their skins. We have watched these players, but to really come out and perform against the best T20I side in the world - their bowling is one of the strongest - for the way they played, it was amazing."
Rajapaksa made a 48-ball 77 in the second game while Fernando scored 78 in the third game. Wanindu Hasaranga picked up eight wickets in three games.
“He (Fernando) took no risks. He reminded me of Mahela (Jayawardene), just placing it over extra cover, very risk-free batting," de Mel said. “As a chief selector, I was happy because we were able to give these guys a chance. Because sometimes what happens is we take them on the tour but we’re not able to actually give them a chance.
“For me, Wanindu is the most improved player that I’ve seen this year. Whether it’s batting, bowling, fielding, the confidence he has is now fantastic."
Sri Lanka had lost the three-match ODI series 2-0 prior to the T20Is.