Dubai: Sri Lanka’s left-handed top order batsman Kusal Perera is the man many are looking to in his country to win matches in the Asia Cup. He can play the role of wicketkeeper-batsman like the legendary cricketer Kumar Sangakkara, who has left a huge vacuum in the team.
Perera has proved he can play in all forms of the game, especially limited-overs cricket. Today he is in demand to play in T20 leagues around the world too. Perera, who made his Indian Premier League (IPL) debut for Rajasthan Royals in 2013, feels that playing in the IPL has been a huge advantage coming into the Asia Cup in the UAE.
“The IPL is a big advantage for us because we get to know the bowlers and batters around the world very well,” he said. “We also could get to know how they are playing and managing the different situations. So we can learn a lot. (Lasith) Malinga is playing a lot in the IPL. We are using him to gain some advantage from his knowledge too.”
Perera has hit three centuries and 11 half-centuries from his 78 One Day Internationals.
Based on his experience how does he see the first match against Bangladesh?
“As a team we are very confident, we have backed ourselves very well. We have done our homework,” he said after a hard work out at the ICC Academy.
Perera revealed that his team has a simple strategy against Bangladesh. “We are taking one game at a time. As we are facing Bangladesh we are trying to give it our best shot and will see how the result goes,” he said.
Perera, who idolises Sanath Jayasuria, has made many feel that his techniques are exactly similar to his hero. However Perera’s advantage is his positivity. “As a team we are in very good form. We have backed ourselves very well,” he said.
Perera despite his many injuries has a positive approach towards the game. “I am fully fit now. I had several injuries and I have recovered well and now is 100 per cent fit for the challenge.”
Does Perera think that the young teams Afghanistan or Hong Kong can throw up a big challenge or even shock teams? “We cannot underestimate any team because they are all playing at the international level. Some of them are doing pretty well. We will give out best shot against them too. Whether India, Pakistan or any team we will do our best,” said.