Sri Lankan batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa hopes to use his experience in the Indian Premier League (IPL) to improve the national side ahead of a crucial set of assignments on the horizon, including the 2022 T20 World Cup.
The left-handed batter looked in ominous touch for the Punjab Kings (PBKS) earlier this year, scoring 206 runs at a strike rate of 160. He was deployed at No.3 by management and fit well into their brand of cricket. He faced a brief spell on the sidelines when Jonny Bairstow was available for selection.
Speaking ahead of Sri Lanka’s opening Asia Cup group clash against Afghanistan, Rajapaksa said:
“For me, the experience I bring after playing in the IPL will create good energy for the side. One of the best chats I had with Liam [Livingstone] was when he said, ‘If it’s in the V, make sure the ball is in the trees’. He’d just be that aggressive. Proper slam-bang player.”
The flamboyant left-handed batter worked hard on his fitness after initially quitting the national team over differences with then-head coach Mickey Arthur. He had a fruitful individual campaign at the 2021 T20 World Cup and hopes to replicate the same in the coming months.
The 30-year-old’s aggressive intent has garnered several admirers, which has subsequently helped him secure a deal with the Dubai Capitals in the upcoming International League T20.
Speaking further on how the IPL has helped him evolve as a cricketer, he said:
“Coming back to the Sri Lankan side, I have brought in a lot of positivity after speaking to a lot of the IPL players, like Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal and KG [Kagiso Rabada]. I don’t think I have the time to explain in detail the talks we had, but there were a lot of positive vibes. I’m hoping we can take that same brand of cricket to the world.”