Kamindu Mendis: Most awarded cricketer | Sunday Observer

Kamindu Mendis: Most awarded cricketer

Kamindu Mendis
Kamindu Mendis

It is extremely rare that a cricketer is able to pick up four man of the match awards during a tournament and promising Sri Lanka player Kamindu Mendis has done exactly that during the recently concluded Emerging Teams Asia Cup championship.

But Mendis has not being carried away by anything and wants to play as a team man along with the rest which he said is what makes up a successful team. He stoked four half centuries from the five matches that Sri Lanka played in as a middle order batsman who also comes in handy with the ball as an off-spinner.

“I just try to keep it simple and play as normal as I can,” said Mendis. “I know my role and I always try do my best for the team. If awards come my way I will accept it on behalf of the team but what matters to me will always be the result and not what comes for performances as an individual.”

Mendis was also the player of the series and rates his half century against Afghanistan as the most crucial of all as it helped Sri Lanka book a place in the semi finals.

He started the series making 76 against Oman and his best knock was produced against Bangladesh in the semi finals which was an unbeaten 91 in 88 balls.

In the final against India there was a score for Sri Lanka to settle after losing the qualifying round match and the entire team successfully rallied as one unit much to the delight of Mendis.

“My team mates did a superb job and we won the final,” Mendis recalled.

Mendis played in a T20 match against England in Sri Lanka late last year and can bowl his off-breaks with both arms, but he wants to see himself as a Test player. “To play Test cricket you got to go a long way and I am working towards that goal,” said the 20-year old Mendis.

He was initially coached by Dhanushka Denagama and Dhammika Sudhashana at Richmond College and went on to win the highest award at the school on offer which was the Richmond Knight Award at their Colours Night.

Mendis currently plays for Tamil Union in the domestic First Class tournament with Kapila Weerasinghe as coach and has been picked for the current Sri Lanka A series against Ireland A.

Sri Lanka A coach Avishka Gunawardena described Mendis as one of the most committed players he knows.

“Mendis is a very thinking cricketer. His technique is very sound and he works very hard at practices,” said Gunawardena.

Current Sri Lanka head selector Ashantha de Mel however does not want to push Mendis into the Sri Lanka team before he grooms himself thoroughly by playing for the second string team.

“What Sri Lanka needs is a very strong team of players in the second string side to replace the seniors and this is where we need players like Kamindu Mendis.

“Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara played for 15 years as did Muralideran and we were never able to build up a team for the future,” said De Mel.