Sri Lanka’s wicket-keeper batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who made an impact on his debut with Punjab Kings, has said he is looking forward to taking fitness tips from Virat Kohli, whom he believes is the ‘Cristiano Ronaldo of cricket’. Rajapaksa also spoke about his admiration for Kohli’s work ethic.
Having missed out on international selection opportunities over the years due to fitness issues, Sri Lanka’s highly-rated wicket-keeper batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa is looking forward to making use of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 to showcase his talent as well as take some fitness lessons from some of the best in the business.
The 30-year-old Rajapaksa, who was bought by Punjab Kings (PBKS) at the 2022 mega auction, said he is looking forward to catching up with India’s stalwart Virat Kohli, whom he reckons is the "Cristiano Ronaldo of cricket". Rajapaksa heaped praise on the former RCB skipper, saying he has always admired Kohli’s work ethic.
As pointed out by Rajapaksa, Kohli has often been credited for inducing a fitness revolution in Team India. The 33-year-old has become one of the sensations in all three formats of the game, and he has been playing all three for close to a decade.
Speaking to Press Trust of India, Rajapaksa said, “IPL is the best league in the world and with every teammate of yours you get to learn a lot about the game, so I am loving picking the brains of Shikhar Dhawan. I get along very well with Mayank Agarwal as we played U-19 together.”
“Outside of the team, Virat Kohli is always someone I could speak to and get some advice on fitness. He's at another different level when it comes to fitness.
“To me, he is the Cristiano Ronaldo of cricket for sure. With the work he puts in you can obviously see the results. You can compare him to anyone when it comes to fitness or even skills-wise. He plays so hard and you can learn a lot by talking to him,” he added.
Rajapaksa announced his international retirement earlier this year and withdrew a week later on the insistence of authorities of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). However, he still did not get a chance to play against India last month due to the same fitness issues.
Rajapaksa made an early impression as he hit a match-winning 44 against RCB, helping PBKS chase down 206 in just 19 overs.