A canny left-arm spinner with dangerous variations, Malinda Pushpakumara has been Sri Lanka’s most prolific domestic wicket-taker of recent years. First-class tracks on the island are stacked heavily in favour of spinners, but even so, it is Pushpakumara’s consistency that makes him stand out. He was the Premier League Tournament’s top wicket-taker in the 2012-13 and 2014-15 tournaments, and was among the best again in the years in between. But 2016-17 was his best tournament of the lot: at an average of 13.79, Pushpakumara claimed 77 scalps – 20 more than his nearest competitor. With that tally, he finally forced himself into a Sri Lanka Test squad, at the age of 29 and with 558 first-class wickets to his name. The delay in his being chosen for the top level perhaps also has to do with Rangana Herath’s presence in the team – the selectors believing only on left-arm spinner necessary.
Having begun his career in Lumbini College, Colombo, Pushpakumara had also played for Sri Lanka’s Under-19 side in 2005, in a triangular tournament featuring England and Bangladesh. Later, after coming of age at the first-class level, he also played for Sri Lanka A with some success, against the likes of South Africa A, New Zealand A and West Indies A
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