Jeevan Mendis a surprise package in Sri Lanka’s World Cup squad having last played ODI cricket more than four years ago. Incidentally, his last appearance in an ODI was during the 2015 World Cup in New Zealand and Australia. He was forced to return home early with a hamstring injury. Mendis is one of the oldest players during this World Cup at the age of 36.
A decent leg-spinner, a hard-hitting batsman and brilliant fielder, Mendis was in and out of the side during his prime as Sri Lanka had variety in the side. Despite being 36, he is very fit and his all-round ability finds him back in the side.
Hailing from a cricketing family, Jeevan represented the prestigious S. Thomas’ College before representing Sri Lanka ‘A’. He also played a season of County Cricket for Derbyshire in 2017 and knowing English conditions would have certainly merited his selection. He has also played several seasons of league cricket in England.
Since 2010, he has featured regularly for Sri Lanka ‘A’. Although he has been the main spinner in four day games, Mendis is ideally suited for the shorter format of the game where he bowls with control and has the ability to clear the field with his big hitting. There’s not much of variation in his bowling though but still he outsmarts the batsmen. On flat wickets too he bowls extremely well, another reason that would have prompted his selection.
During his tenure as Sri Lanka ‘A’ coach, Chandika Hathurusingha had predicted a bright future for Mendis but he struggled due to lack of opportunities at the international level, constantly in and out of the side without ever getting a longer run. Now he has got another opportunity to prove himself.
Mendis' all-round abilities allows Sri Lanka to balance the side during World Cup.