Known for his eccentrics which included turning down a tour to Australia at the age of 18 as he would miss his girlfriend, Thisara Perera has matured with time and has gone on to captain his country in white ball cricket.
An ability to clear the boundary with ease makes him deadly in the shorter formats of the game but his full potential has been never realised despite a decade of international cricket. This is his third World Cup. This year, he has looked to have turned a huge corner and Sri Lankans will be hoping the best of Perera will come at the World Cup.
Perera gave up on the longer format of the game to make most of the mushrooming T-20 leagues. However, last season, he returned to first-class cricket on the request of head coach Chandika Hathurusingha to work on a few areas in his game and that has stood in good stead moving forward. Apart from the improvements in his batting, his bowling has more control having worked considerably on his stock ball.
In batting, his defence has been tight and he now has more options other than just swinging the bat at every ball. Predominantly an on-side player, since making his first-class return, Perera has improved on his off-side shot making as well.
His all-round returns have been impressive in the last 18 months. This year he is Sri Lanka’s highest run-getter in ODIs and the second highest wicket-taker behind Lasith Malinga. In 2018, he scored the most runs for his country and his 25 wickets were only behind Akila Dananjaya’s 28.
With signs of maturity, Thisara Perera can be a match winner for Sri Lanka during the World Cup. The team has shown a tendency to send him higher up the order as well in recent times rather than his customary number seven.
Sri Lanka will be expecting Perera to play the role of finisher during the World Cup.