Colombo: Sri Lanka legend Lasith Malinga has heaped praise on Dunith Wellalage, after the young spinner had India’s high-profile top-order in a spin with a superb bowling performance at the Asia Cup.
Wellalage picked up his maiden five-wicket haul at senior international level when collecting the outstanding figures of 5/40 against India at the Asia Cup on Tuesday and Malinga was suitably impressed.
Malinga took to social media immediately after Sri Lanka’s clash to praise the efforts of Wellalage and the Sri Lanka great believes the young spinner has a bright future ahead of him, an ICC report said.
“It’s fair to say that SL played with 12 players today. That’s how good Dunith was,” Malinga wrote.
“He’s got a brilliant head on his young shoulders to go with his all-round skill set,” Malinga said.
“I believe he’s on his way to becoming the most important player for SL in ODIs for the next decade,” he added.
While Wellalage has only played 13 ODIs for his country thus far, the left-armer looks set to play a a major role in Sri Lanka’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup campaign that commences in India next month.
Wellalage first showed his class by finishing as the leading wicket-taker at last year’s ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup with 17 scalps at an average of 13.58.
The 20-year-old built on that promise by collecting the big wickets of Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya during his breakout spell at the Asia Cup.
Malinga wasn’t the only international star to be impressed by Wellalage’s performance, with a host of other big names also taking to social media to share their thoughts.
While Sri Lanka failed to chase down India’s total of 213, Wellalage capped off an excellent all-round performance by contributing 42 not out with the bat and picking up the Player of the Match award.