When in full flow, Dhananjaya de Silva looks the right-handed version of David Gower.
Known for his mischief as a kid, Dhananjaya’s parents had to shift him to four different schools as he was constantly in trouble with peers and school authorities. His father was a politician and was brutally assassinated on the eve of Sri Lanka’s tour to West Indies in 2018 forcing Dhananjaya to miss the first half of the tour.
Initially supposed to be Kumar Sangakkara’s successor at number three, Dhananjaya has batted everywhere from opening the innings to number seven. He is vulnerable earlier on in the innings but if he gets through the initial stages, he bats serenely. The selectors have now settled with him at number six.
Hailed as one of the brightest young prospects at Under-19 level, Dhananjaya debuted for Sri Lanka aged 24. After producing a hundred in his debut series against Australia in 2016, Dhananjaya went through a slump in form and was axed from the side.
His comeback was in Delhi where he batted superbly to earn Sri Lanka a famous draw. On a fifth day wicket, he overcame both Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to cement his place in the side.
His numbers in Tests at the moment are better than his white ball statistics but his attacking instincts are ideally suited for shorter formats of the game.
Although a part-time spinner, his exploits in South Africa earlier this year, made the selectors announce him as the team’s leading spinner for the World Cup ahead of many other established spin bowlers. However, he has problems with overstepping and has been denied several international wickets for the front foot no ball. He is also an excellent fielder in the cover region.
Dhananjaya will be Sri Lanka's lead spinner during the World Cup.