Micky Arthur raved about Wanindu Hasaranga's excellence at length after he steered Sri Lanka to the Asia Cup, claiming the all-rounder had sky-high confidence and loved to have the limelight shining on him. The former coach also briefly commented on the cricketer's role with the bat in the final.
Wanindu Hasaranga's emergence in T20s has been nothing short of spectacular, with the all-rounder emulating the likes of Rashid Khan to be in line as one of the world's best in the game's shortest format. Economical, wicket-taking spin bowling combined with the ability to calculate innings while having a raw hitting prowess, Hasaranga has proven to be a true match winner over a long stage for Sri Lanka now. He first got to display his talent on the big stage in last year's World T20, rescuing a reeling Sri Lanka from 8/3 against Ireland to 171/7 with a rapid 71(47).
Former Sri Lankan coach Micky Arthur did not shy with his words when praising the 25-year-old.
"He is a big match player. He loves playing on the edge, he loves playing on the big stage," he was quoted saying to ESPN Cricinfo.
"He stands up when the going gets tough. That is one thing I have always liked about Wanindu Hasaranga. From the moment I saw him, no moment is too big for him. When the pressure is on, he gets stuck in and does the job for you. Very reliable and I knew he would come good today."
Hasaranga scored a crucial 36 in the Asia Cup final against Pakistan on Sunday, aiding Bhanuka Rajapaksa's knock of 71 to take the team to 170. Then, the spinner scalped three important victims in one over, including Mohammad Rizwan who was well-set on 55 to ensure a 23-run victory.
"His batting, that partnership he had with Bhanuka, was superb. He took the game on. He allowed Bhanuka to go a little bit slower and made sure he was there at the back end. And then the three wickets in one over," Arthur added.
Sri Lanka will again be turning to the all-rounder when they take the field Down Under in October to play the qualification stage of the ICC World T20.
"There's a fine line in players between confidence and arrogance. And the best players are on the line. Wanindu sits on the line. He is a very very confident cricketer. And those cricketers back themselves when the going gets tough. They back themselves in hard-pressure situations. They're almost like showmen, they're almost like actors. That's when they're at their best. Wanindu possesses everything that's good about those traits. He is a wonderful, wonderful cricketer. I just knew it. You could see the way he carried himself, the way he carries himself around his peers. He is incredible, very very good," Arthur concluded on the matter.