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News

Hasaranga, Theekshana, Brevis set for maiden CPL stints

Theekshana will turn out for Knight Riders, while Hasaranga and Brevis have been signed up by Patriots

Deivarayan Muthu
05-Jul-2022
Wanindu Hasaranga dents Australia's quick start with wickets, Sri Lanka vs Australia, 2nd T20I, Colombo, June 8, 2022

Wanindu Hasaranga has been signed up by St Kitts & Nevis Patriots for CPL 2022  •  AFP/Getty Images

Sri Lanka spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana are set to make their CPL debuts in the forthcoming season after having been signed by defending champions St Kitts & Nevis Patriots and Trinbago Knight Riders respectively.
Hasaranga, who was the No.1-ranked T20I bowler not too long ago, was lined up to play for Patriots last season, but a clash with South Africa's tour of Sri Lanka meant that he had to stay back home for national duty.
Hasaranga, however, will not be available for the entire CPL 2022 and will join the squad late, with 19-year-old Pakistani offspin-bowling allrounder Qasim Akram filling in for him in the early exchanges. Akram, who captained Pakistan in the Under-19 World Cup in the Caribbean earlier this year, boasts a T20 strike rate of 153.08. In PSL 2022, he shellacked a 26-ball 51 not out for Karachi Kings against an Islamabad United attack that had Imad Wasim, Mir Hamza, Chris Jordan and Mohammad Nabi.
South Africa allrounder Dwaine Pretorius will reunite with his Chennai Super Kings team-mate Dwayne Bravo at Patriots. Much like Bravo, Pretorius has a collection of slower balls in his repertoire, which was on show during IPL 2022.
Dewald Brevis, the South African batter who can also pitch in with legspin, will also join Patriots in what will be his first CPL stint. Brevis is only 19 and has played just 16 T20s so far, but his big-hitting in the Under-19 World Cup in the West Indies and the following IPL have turned him into a T20 globetrotter already. He has also been drafted by Kandy Falcons for the upcoming Lanka Premier League (LPL).
Eighteen-year-old Afghanistan legspinner Izharulhaq Naveed will boost the spin attack even further. Naveed was recently part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore's net-bowling contingent in IPL 2022, where he worked with the franchise's head of scouting Malolan Rangarajan. Notably, Malolan also works as the strategy and assistant coach at Patriots.
Evin Lewis, who was recently omitted from West Indies' white-ball squads for the ongoing series at home against Bangladesh on fitness grounds, has been retained by Patriots along with Dominic Drakes.
Munro, Seifert, Prasanna return to TKR
Trinbago Knight Riders also have a fairly significant Sri Lankan flavour having brought in mystery spinner Theekshana and legspin-bowling allrounder Seekkuge Prasanna.
Prasanna turned 37 earlier this month and last played for Sri Lanka in 2019, but has a reputation of being a six-hitter in T20 leagues. His 22-ball half-century, studded with four sixes and as many fours, against Barbados Tridents almost carried Knight Riders into the final in 2019.
As for Theekshana, he has a deadly carrom ball up his sleeve and is currently No.8 on ICC's T20I bowler rankings. In his maiden IPL stint, with Super Kings, Theekshana fronted up to bowl in the powerplay in the injury-enforced absence of Deepak Chahar and in all claimed 12 wickets across phases in nine matches at an economy rate of 7.45.
At Knight Riders, Theekshana will form a particularly potent spin combination with left-arm fingerspinner Akeal Hosein, who also regularly bowls in the powerplay. The New Zealand pair of Colin Munro and Tim Seifert and USA quick Ali Khan were also back in the TKR fold.
Seifert was dropped from New Zealand's white-ball squad for their European tour, but he did impress in the Vitality Blast for Sussex when he cracked a 55-ball century against Hampshire.
Speaking to ESPNcricinfo last year, Seifert said that his stint with TKR in the middle order along with Pollard had helped him develop his game.
"I started off my career in that middle order for Northern Districts and my first few tours with the Black Caps was in the middle order as well," Seifert had said. "Obviously been at the top of the order, but I've had that experience in the middle order.
"Yeah [batting] with one the best finishers in the world [Kieron Pollard] - it was great. It was just awesome to go out there and work away off his brain - when to attack and when not to attack, and pick the balls to go. It was awesome to be at the other end watching these massive sixes. Sometimes you try to hit them as far, but you know you're definitely not [hitting as far]!"
Knight Riders have a vastly experienced core, with Nicholas Pooran and Andre Russell joining them from Guyana Amazon Warriors and Jamaica Tallawahs respectively.
CPL 2022 is set to kick off with the inaugural game of the women's tournament - the WCPL - between Knight Riders and Barbados Royals on August 31 in St Kitts & Nevis. This match will be followed by the opening game of the men's edition on the same day at the same venue, where Patriots will face Tallawahs.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo