By: Chinmay Vaidya
Akila Dananjaya, your table is ready.
The offspinning all-rounder has displayed his brilliance during his first 30 ODI matches with Sri Lanka and his recent run in the ODI series against South Africa and England shows he's translating his potential into production. Even in Sri Lanka's jumbled roster management system, Dananjaya broke through.
In the South Africa tour, Dananjaya took 14 wickets across the five ODI matches and singlehandedly won Sri Lanka the final one-day match in the series. He was economical as well, conceding just 5.95 runs per over in an otherwise disastrous Sri Lankan bowling lineup. Dananjaya parlayed that success to the England series. He took nine wickets to once again lead all Sri Lankan bowlers and had an economy rate of 5.37. After seeing Muttiah Murlitharan rack up wickets for decades, Sri Lanka fans will certainly feel they have another deadly spinner in Dananjaya.
His abilities with the bat are still relatively unknown and he doesn't get much of an opportunity to play meaningful innings. However, his 32 not out in the fourth ODI of the England series showcased his potential for developing into a meaningful all-rounder. He may never be considered a batting all-rounder but if he can do damage at the end of the innings, Sri Lanka's batting lineup suddenly gets a little more pop.
Dananjaya is just 25, so he's got a long way to go and will continue to improve. If Sri Lanka is able to find ways to get him more batting opportunities, he has the ability to be the cornerstone for the country's next generation of cricketers.