Kusal Perera played same role as Jayasuriya, says Arjuna


Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has likened the talented Kusal Perera to erstwhile opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya.

Jayasuriya was renowned for flashy cameos and substantial strike-rates during a prolific limited-overs career that spanned almost two decades.

Perera, meanwhile, is developing into a pivotal force at the top of the order - and was key to the Sri Lankans’ triumphant World Twenty20 campaign in Bangladesh this month.

"Kusal took the pressure off Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene, and put it on his own shoulders," said Ranatunga.

"He played the same role as Jayasuriya used to play. Sometimes it seemed like he played bad shots, but that’s his style.

"Normally there are heroes in these tournaments, but what I saw was that young players and seniors were all contributing together. That’s a great sign for the future of Sri Lanka cricket, when these young players are performing at that level."

Spinner Ranagana Herath, too was at the fore of Ranatunga’s praise. Herath clinched telling figures of five for three during a Group 1 triumph over New Zealand before proving instrumental in a semi-final victory over the West Indies and final success against India.

"There are players who hadn’t shone out, like Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Kusal and Rangana Herath. Sachithra bowled well throughout the tournament and Kulasekara delivered in difficult moments," he added.

"Rangana hadn’t played throughout the tournament, but from the moment he came, he was taking wickets and keeping the runs down. The other thing you have to say is that our fielding was extremely good - better than the other teams."

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