DASUN SHANAKA: Gentle Giant packs the punch
Captaincy in making the right calls is the revolving centre piece to the game of cricket in whatever format. It is the driving force to the ultimate sweet victory savour and in that vein Sri Lanka’s triumphant Asia Cup T20 Captain Dasun Shanaka has certainly found a spring in his step in delivering. Generating the dash to trophy glitter has been the punch point to the all round Lankan captain’s crowning moment in beating down strong opposition by the knockout punch a characteristically smiling Lankan captain in contrast to his seriously faced opposite numbers has admirably mounted in doing the job in the inocuous. Indeed, Shanaka has come thumbs up as the smiling assassin to walking the walk in the fastidious upped by the explosive flair in his batting when it mattered. There he was walking to the middle and taking strike often when the chips were down to firing his way in the thrust for quick runs that turned the tide in Sri Lanka’s favour.
Significantly, for country and self the 6ft tall 31-year old Shanaka, who cut his teeth in the game at St:. Peter’s College, Negombo and Maris Stella College, Kandana, has progressively developed to an astute leader. It has been a marked turnaround to raising his stocks. Dubai was the ground-breaking stage to proving his mettle of shouldering the captaincy burden to marshalling his men to calling the shots. Understandably slowed down by the big burden the high point of,his game plan has been that gradual build up to coming to the full potential Shanaka is capable of as his mostly new look team revolving
around grassroots youth find their feet. In fact the inherent talent in him was evident as far back as 2019 when Dasun Shanaka led Sri Lanka to a historic 3-nil T20 whitewash over Pakistan in their own backyard. But since then not getting the job might well have been demoralising. But full credit to Shanaka who has overridden that setback to regaining the captaincy and performing an admirable job.
Indeed, the gentle giant with the razor edge pinch hitting prowess has underlined maximising it as he breaks free as his young charges step up their game. He did make out in the recent interview with me on his triumphant return that the break in tour itineraries was an impediment to the much needed continuity to raising their game.