As world cricket has been showering praise on Sri Lanka off spinner Akila Dananjaya after his heroics against India, Mahela Jayawardene, the man who identified him, told some unheard stories.
“I just wanted to give him a game early on that his jitters are over. He bowled really well and came back even with a knock. Good that he got a game under the belt. He’s a competitor. When he got hit, I went to him thinking he was gone for the game. He said “Shit, I missed that catch.” and he was bleeding from his nose. That’s his attitude.” Mahela Jayawardene as quoted by espncricinfo.
Akila, an off spinner with as much as seven variations including leg-break, googly, carrom ball, had impressed Mahela Jayawardene so much in 2012, in the nets, that he immediately fast tracked him into the national team. At that time, Akila had played no first class, list A or even U19 cricket.
Sri Lanka famous commentator Roshan Abeysinghe also praised Mahela for his trust on Akila.
“@MahelaJay deserve a lot of credit for Akila Dananjaya! Remember how he picked him from the nets and played him in the World T 20!” wrote Roshan Abeysinghe