Wanindu Hasaranga, a wildcard entry into IPL 2021? Sehwag and Nehra share their thoughts
Indian Premier League 2021 scheduled for April-May had been suspended midway due to rising concerns over COVID-19 cases in India. The BCCI announced that the remainder of the tournament will be held in UAE. The second leg of the tournament begins on September 19, and the franchises are looking for potential replacements for their overseas players who will be unable to participate in the reminder.
If there’s one name that is coming up as an ideal replacement for an overseas bowler, it's Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga. The leg-spinner impressed everyone during the recently concluded limited-overs series against India. Former India cricketers Virender Sehwag and Ashish Nehra both expressed their thoughts on why the 24-year-old could land an IPL contract.
"He bowled brilliantly. And the two wickets he took in the middle – of Sanju Samson and Ruturaj Gaikwad – broke India's back. I think there was some news that Hasaranga is targeting a few IPL teams as a replacement player," Virender Sehwag said on Cricbuzz.
Hasaranga took the most wickets in the three-match T20I series against India. He was instrumental in Sri Lanka's historic triumph, picking up 7 wickets, with 4/9 being his best bowling figure in the series.
"I mean he was hoping for something like that and he proved himself… it doesn't get bigger than this. Those who would be thinking of picking him would be saying 'we need to talk to him' and get him as a replacement player. He delivered the right performance at the right time," he added.
If a team needs a spinner, Hasaranga could be that guy: Nehra
"Only time will tell which franchise needs a replacement. But if there are discussions, and someone needs a spinner – he (Hasaranga) could be the guy. If a player plays for a year and a half, he is considered a senior player in T20Is. He is the No. 2 ranked T20I bowler, although I do not believe much in rankings," said Ashish Nehra.
"Not too many Sri Lankans are playing the IPL and if you talk about India vs Sri Lanka series, Hasaranga has shown a lot of positives. Even Shanaka sent Hasaranga ahead of himself in batting," the former RCB coach added.