Wanindu Hasaranga could be a replacement for any IPL franchise looking for spinner, states Ashish Nehra

Ashish Nehra is considering Wanindu Hasarang to be an ideal replacement for any IPL franchise which is in need of a leg-spinner after the Sri Lanka bowler’s incredible spell against India in the T20Is. Virender Sehwag thinks many IPL teams will be in contention to sign the spinner.

Wanindu Hasaranga, who turned 24 on the day of the final T20I match against India, was extraordinary with the ball as he registered his career-best figures of 4/9 that helped Sri Lanka clinch their first T20I series against their neighbours.

The Galle-born all-rounder attained his career’s best ranking after he leapfrogged Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan to sit at the second spot in ICC’s T20I bowler rankings. Former Indian bowler Ashish Nehra thinks that Sri Lanka’s emerging spinner could be an ideal overseas replacement for any IPL franchise in the second leg of the tournament. Nehra is also of the opinion that Hasaranga can not only bowl brilliantly but can also contribute with the bat in the lower-middle order.

“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,” Nehra said on Cricbuzz.

“Not too many Sri Lankan are playing the IPL and if you talk about the India vs Sri Lanka series, Hasaranga has shown a lot of positives. Even Shanaka sent Hasaranga ahead of himself in batting,” he added.

In the final T20I, Hasaranga bowling in his first over got the wickets of Sanju Samson (third time in the series) and opening batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad leaving India at 25/4 at the end of the fifth over. Later in the match, the spinner dismissed Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Varun Chakravarthy to claim his career’s best figures.

There were some reports that suggested the Sri Lankan all-rounder could replace Australia’s spinner Adam Zampa, who withdrew himself from Royal Challengers Bangalore’s squad in the middle of the IPL 2021. Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag believes that many IPL teams will contend for the tricky bowler because of his latest performance at the international level.

“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,” Sehwag said on Cricbuzz.

“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,” Sehwag added.

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