“Kusal Mendis will go onto become a classy player in world cricket. He plays some proper cricket shots. I don't see them played any better in the world. I am seeing bit of class in Mendis. We need to keep him relaxed so the class can come out,” Rixon was quoted as saying by ThePapare.
"The kid is only 24 years of age. He needs a lot of mentoring. But you don't want to take any individuality away from him. The kid has got something special in him. As time goes on, we will see him expand. He is still in the infant stage and has got some self-doubt. But the reality is, he is class. People will see greater things from him as time goes on. The more we see him, the more we are going to say 'wow'.
The Islanders had a tough run in the Tests last year where they lost series to England 3-0, and also faced defeat against New Zealand 1-0 & Australia 2-0. Rixon said while there was no change in approach in the losses in the Trans-Tasman tour, there was a visible difference when the team toured South Africa.
"In New Zealand and Australia, I didn't see a lot of adjustments but from Australia to South Africa, I have seen a change in mental attitude and the way we have gone about our training, which has got smarter," Rixon said. "Players feel happier about themselves. Obviously, winning that Test match in Durban was a once in a lifetime experience. It was a case of someone playing out of their skin. That added belief to the young kids who are coming along.
"Well, I wasn't thinking of winning," he added about chasing down a 304 target in Durban with a 78-run stand for the last wicket. "I didn't think we had a chance. But the reality of it is, if you stay in the game long enough, you never know. Vishwa did such a good job. He became more comfortable the longer he stayed on at the wicket. KJP [Kusal Perera] from the other end was whacking them out of the park. I didn't think we had any chance of winning.”
First Published: February 27, 2019, 8:57 AM IST