Sri Lankan slow bowler signed as replacement May 18, 2008

Mendis joins Kolkata Knight Riders

Cricinfo staff

Ajantha Mendis has become the Kolkata Knight Riders' latest buy © AFP
The Kolkata Knight Riders have signed Ajantha Mendis, the Sri Lankan slow bowler, till the end of the current season. Mendis, who shot into prominence in the ODI series against West Indies with his unusual action and crafty variations, flew into Kolkata yesterday.

The agency which manages Mendis' affairs was certain that their client will be able to deliver the goods. "Kolkata is a place where the pitches are generally slow and receptive to spin and a bowler like Mendis would be able to make the maximum use of the conditions," the spokesman told the Nation, a Colombo-based daily.

Mendis, 23, made a sensational debut when he took 3 for 39 against West Indies in Port-of-Spain on April 10. He flummoxed Chris Gayle and Darren Sammy as the Windies batsmen struggled to pick his assortment of deliveries. Mendis, however, failed to take a wicket in his second match, and did not get an opportunity to bowl in the third.

Meanwhile, Mendis' compatriot, allrounder Kaushal Weeraratne, has been invited to join Kolkata in training for a week. Weeraratne has scored 97 runs in 13 ODI innings at 16.16, and taken six wickets. He is also the record holder for the fastest fifty in List A cricket, which he completed off only 12 balls while playing for Ragama against Karunegala in Sri Lankan domestic cricket in 2005-06.