Isuru Udana, a left-arm quick, gives variety to the side that predominantly comprises right-arm bowlers.
Udana extensively featured in Sri Lanka’s T20 side over the years. He was a surprise pick in Sri Lanka’s squad for the World T20 in England in 2009. This was after he had excelled in the domestic T20 competition guiding Wayamba to victory. He was Man of the Match in the final picking up four wickets and Player of the Series.
It was his slower balls that were deemed tough to pick as he deceived the batsmen. Sri Lanka went on to reach the finals of the competition and Udana enjoyed quite a bit of success until the final. Pakistan took him to task in the final at Lord’s as he gave away 44 runs in his four overs as Younis Khan’s side won with eight balls to spare. Once teams scrutinise his slower balls and come up with counter plans, Udana could struggle. He didn’t get a look in after that for three more years.
When he made a comeback to the ODI side earlier this year after seven years, his batting was a revelation in South Africa as he smashed 78 off 57 balls batting at number nine. That included seven fours and four sixes and followed it up with an unbeaten 84 in a T20 International at Centurion.
This whirlwind knock came off just 48 balls with eight fours and six sixes. Sri Lanka will be certainly looking forward to his big hitting in the World Cup. His presence puts pressure on Thisara Perera, who has blown hot and cold throughout his career.
Udana represented DS Senanayake College, the same club as Aravinda de Silva. He represented Sri Lanka in athletics at age group levels before excelling in cricket.
Udana with his big hitting comes in handy during the death overs.