Sri Lanka Test hero Ramesh Mendis traded batting for bowling | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka Test hero Ramesh Mendis traded batting for bowling

5 December, 2021
Ramesh Mendis claimed 18 wickets in two Tests
Ramesh Mendis claimed 18 wickets in two Tests

Off-spinner Ramesh Mendis who bowled Sri Lanka to victory in the two-match Test series against the West Indies at the Galle International Cricket Stadium on Friday, said his success was because he turned himself from a batting all-rounder to a bowling all-rounder while being inspired by his fellow spinners in the team.

“I am very pleased that I was able to bowl my country to a win with the support of my coaches and the other spinners. I was working hard with my coaches Piyal Wijetunga and Sajeewa Weerakoon and made a few changes which gave me this success as a bowler.

“I now see myself more of a bowling all-rounder although I was more of a batting all-rounder in domestic cricket,” said Mendis who took 11 wickets in the second Test to finish with a haul of 18 wickets and claim the player of the series award.

“The pitch wasn’t turning as much as we thought it would, especially during the West Indies first innings. So we got together with the coaches and the plan was to bowl a lot of dot (non-scoring) balls and bowl to one spot.

“We didn’t have a lot of runs to defend. I just put the ball in the right place and (Lasith) Embuldeniya and (Praveen) Jayawickrama gave me good support from the other end”, said Mendis who has played in just four Test matches after making his debut against England in January this year at the same venue.

Mendis was first coached by Suraj Sanjeewa at Devananda College in Ambalangoda and later by Viraj Chamika.

He then crossed over to Dharmashoka College also in Ambalangoda and was in the care of IP Milton while former First Class cricketer Kushil Gunasekera’s Foundation of Goodness also gave him a hand while providing him with a place of residence in Colombo.

Coach Mickey Arthur, whose stint with the Sri Lanka team also ended with the conclusion of the West Indies series said Mendis made a big impression on him.

“One thing Mendis does is that he spins the ball really big. We’ve just had to work on him being really consistent with his lines and lengths.

“I was just sitting next to Grant Flower (batting coach) out there and we were watching the guys out on the field and I was saying which of the guys have really made an impression on you? For both of us it was Ramesh Mendis. He is an attacking cricketer and is going to be an asset to Sri Lanka,” said Arthur.