The left arm spinner, Sajeewa Weerakon is in sight of making his ODI debut for Sri Lanka as Rangana Hearath was given some rest by the national selectors.
Weerakoon has been knocking the doors of the international cricket since long with his impressive performance on the domestic level and his dream will finally come true in the ongoing One Day International series against Pakistan. A brief introduction of Weerakoon follows below:
He was born on February 17, 1978, in Galle, a left arm spinner and left hand lower order batsman. Weerakoon has played for Sri Lanka A, Colts Cricket Club, Burgher Recreation Club, Ruhuna, Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club and Galle Cricket Club.
Weerakoon is an excellent spinner who has been doing well in the domestic cricket but was unable to find his place in the national side due to the presence of the heavy weights like Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath. He is a quality spinner who can make long spells with accuracy while taking wickets and containing runs. He made his debut in first class cricket in 1995-96, List A 1997-98 and T20 on August 17, 2004.
The 34-year-old performed well with the ball in the recently concluded ‘Premier League Tournament Tier A, 2011-12. He grabbed 42 wickets at an excellent average of 22.04 runs per wicket with the best of 5-61 in an innings and 9-195 in a match.
Weerakoon has played 126 List A matches and clinched 166 wickets averaging 21.61 with the best of 5-24 runs.
The skipper of Sri Lanka, Mahela Jayawardene hailed the performance of Sajeewa Weerakoon at the domestic level and predicted his success in the forthcoming ODI vs. the Green Shirts by saying,
“Personally I feel he is a deserving candidate and hopefully he will get his opportunity tomorrow. He has been in the shadows of Murali, Malinga Bandara, Herath and Ajantha Mendis for quite some time. He is a fighter. He has a lot of experience in club cricket and the A team.”
Rangana Herath had a knee operation after the conclusion of the home series vs. England in March, 2012, and was rested in the Asia Cup 2012, held in Bangladesh. He was uncomfortable in the initial two ODIs and could not perform as expected as he was still recovering.
Hearth played the first two ODIs, delivered 16 overs at an economy rate of 3.43 and secured just one wicket. Sri Lanka will require his services badly in the three Test series against Pakistan which will commence from June 22, 2012 at Galle. The team management has decided to give him proper rest before the longer versions of the game and Mahela Jayawardene commented on the fitness of Herath by saying,
“He felt it sore in the first two games. If you noticed while fielding he was struggling a bit. After speaking to the selectors and the medical team we felt it was best he got some rest before the Test series. We needed to make sure we manage him well after his operation.”
Pakistan won the first ODI by six wickets at Pallekelle on June 7, 2012 and Sri Lanka bounced back by clinching the second match with a margin of 76 runs at the same venue on June 9, 2012. The five match series is levelled at 1-1 and both teams will face each other on June 13, 2012 at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo.