Akila Dananjaya is another member of the seemingly endless assembly line of unconventional Sri Lankan bowlers. The right-arm spinner can produce a range of deliveries that includes off-breaks, leg-spinners, googlies and the carrom ball. His vast array of options makes facing him a batsman’s worst nightmare.
Incredibly, Dananjaya was selected in the Sri Lankan squad for the 2012 World T20 despite never having played a First Class match in his life. His performances in the net impressed Mahela Jayawardene so much so that the captain convinced selectors to go with the untried spinner. It was a move that didn’t sit well with certain sections of the Sri Lankan community, with more experienced players arguing that their hard work deserved recognition ahead of the previously unseen Dananjaya.
The controversial spinner took wickets in all three games throughout the tournament, including 2/26 against the highly fancied English. His mixture of mystery and control was proving very difficult for players to read, with the selectors seemingly satisfied with their gutsy selection.
Dananjaya has played one more T20 since, where he took 2/9 against New Zealand. The spinner hasn’t played a match outside Sri Lanka, and would be a surprising selection for any of the Test or even ODI matches. However, on a spin friendly ANZ Stadium wicket, Dananjaya could be a bolter for the big T20 clash on Australia Day.