Wanindu Hasaranga
Sri Lanka's Wanindu Hasaranga had been one of the most prolific wicket-takers in T20 format, which fetched a prohibitive price for him in the IPL auction. Image Credit: AFP

Leg spinners are always special and Wanindu Hasaranga is one special leg spinner who is a matchwinner whom batsman can’t read.

Watching him bowl against Kolkata Knight Riders was a dream for all Royal Challengers Bangalore fans when he picked four wickets for just 20 runs for his franchise to restrict the Knight Riders for just 120.

He is a wicket-taking bowler and his record in T20 is phenomenal, he has picked 57 wickets in 35 games for Sri Lanka at an average of 13.75 - with an economy of 6.39. In 86 non-international T20 games, he has picked 116 wickers at an average of just 15.93 which speaks volumes of his wicket taking ability. He is also very handy batsman lower down the order and has a strike-rate of 137.

When the big auction was taking place, many teams wanted Hasaranga in their team and the bid went which started at Rs one crore (10 million) kept on going up with teams like Sunrisers, Punjab Kings, Royal Challengers all bidding aggressively for the most wanted leggie. As the bid crossed 10.25 crores, auctioneer Hugh Edmeades collapsed while the bidding of Hasranga had reached 10.75 crores. At the end, RCB got their man when the bidding resumed.

In spite of the depth of India’s spin bowling talent, it’s very rare for an overseas spinner to spark a bidding war at the IPL auction but Hasranga proved he was an exception. No one has had taken more wickets in 2021 and he was the leading wicket-taker at the last T20 World Cup in the UAE with 16 wickets.

Players like Hasaranga are rare - a genuine wicket-taker, handy lower order batsman and a livewire in the field which makes him an asset for any team.

- Cricket enthusiast Anis Sajan is the Vice Chairman of Danube Group