Balapuwaduge Kusal Gimhan Mendis
February 02, 1995, Moratuwa
Right hand bat
Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa
Blessed with a compact technique, an aggressive impulse, and an iron resolve, Kusal Mendis rose rapidly through the age-group system, and quickly became one of the most promising young batsmen in the world. He had played only 16 first-class innings before he made his Test debut at the age of 20, and had hit only one first-class hundred before he made a maiden Test ton. That hundred - the 176 against Australia at Pallekele - was a match-flipping, series-defining knock, which given the fact no other batsman mustered more than 55 in the game, is one of the greatest ever Sri Lankan innings. Since then, Mendis has put together some impressive ODI innings as well, and has embedded himself in the Test top four.
A highly-rated graduate of Sri Lanka's school cricket system, Mendis' batting had earned him a large following long before he was on the national selectors' radar. As wicketkeeper and flowing right-hand batsman, Mendis won the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award in 2013, for his work in the Prince of Wales College team. He was Sri Lanka's under-19 captain in the Youth World Cup the following year.
Mendis began his first-class career for Bloomfield Cricket Club in the Premier League Tournament of 2015. He had a middling first season, hitting 459 runs at an average of 30.60, but continued to be followed closely as Sri Lanka moved to flood their Test team with youth. It was Mendis' excellent returns in the Moin-ud-Dowlah three-day tournament in Hyderabad that paved his route to the national team. He was named in the squad to play West Indies in October 2015, and made his debut in the second match of that series.
Andrew Fidel Fernando
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