Jeevan Mendis is a valuable member of the Sri Lankan squad in the shorter forms of the game. Despite boasting a wealth of experience in First Class cricket, Mendis hasn’t been able to break into the Test side.
The Australians will need to be wary of his damaging leg-spin bowling. Man of the Tournament awards at the Under-17 Asia Cup and the Under-19 World Cup suggest batsmen have often struggled against the talented bowler.
Despite showing incredible potential, Mendis was unable to force himself into the national side that already featured the likes of Muttiah Muralitharan. Forced to bide his time in First Class cricket, Mendis developed his skills as an all-rounder. Playing for the Tamil Union Cricket Club, Mendis enjoyed a record breaking 2009/10 season, where he won Player of the Tournament awards in both the Limited Overs and the Premier League. His 450 runs and 26 wickets in the 50 over tournament guided his side to the title, while his 600 runs and 36 wickets in the First Class competition earmarked him as a possible bolter in all forms of the game.
His undeniable form was rewarded with a call-up to the ODI squad for the 2010 series against Zimbabwe. It was a strong debut, with the spinner taking 2/12 from his four overs in the nine wicket win. Mendis was a part of the recent ODI series against New Zealand, where he took career best figures of 3/15.
His batting has earned him the all-rounder tag, with Mendis averaging 33.27 in First Class cricket. He has already hit nine centuries, including a career best 205. In limited overs cricket, he has been somewhat of a dasher, with a strike rate in the mid 80’s.
Mendis’ all-round skills were on show at the 2012 World T20 when he belted a career best 43* and took 3/24 to knock off Zimbabwe in the pool stages.
Although not expected to feature in the Test side, Australian fans will get a close look at the bowling all-rounder before the ODI and T20 matches. Mendis has just signed a four game contract with the Sydney Sixers in the upcoming KFC T20 Big Bash league.