MS Dhoni has a proposal for Pathirana, Sri Lanka Cricket

CSK bowler Matheesha Pathirana was instrumental in the deaths in IPL 2023. Sportzpics

Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni says Matheesha Pathirana should avoid red ball cricket. In fact, the legendary cricketer suggested that it should be used sparingly in 50-over cricket as well.

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Pathirana, compared to Lasith Malinga, conceded three wickets for just 15 runs against Mumbai Indians in Chepauk on Saturday. All of his overs came in the back half of the innings, indicating his ability to bowl under pressure.

“Personally, I don’t think he’s someone who should play a lot of red ball cricket,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation. “I don’t think he should even come close. He should also play as little as possible in white ball cricket, the 50-over version. [He should] play the big ICC tournaments because he’s not one that’s going to change much. The [having an impact in short bursts] is what he’ll do so you can always use him in crucial moments.

“But make sure he is fit and available for all ICC tournaments and he will be a great asset to Sri Lanka. Not to mention, he’s a really little boy. Last time [in 2022], when he came he was a bit slimmer but he’s added muscle which means he’s gotten quite strong. I think he will serve for Sri Lankan cricket for a very long time but we have to keep an eye on how much he bowls.”

Pathirana had not sold in the pre-IPL 2022 auction but was brought into CSK after Adam Milne was ruled out with an injury.

Last season he took two wickets from two games for CSK. This year he has played seven matches and accumulated 10 wickets – all in the death overs – at an economy rate of 7.60.

“People who are not very clean [conventional] Action makes it difficult for the batsmen to pick them – in a format like this where you have to chase the bowler it’s a bit difficult,” Dhoni said.

This explains why Pathirana was mainly used in the latter stages of the innings. He has bowled just four overs (out of 27.2 overs) before the 12th over of an inning.

“That’s just the action part, we’re not talking about the pace he’s bowling at [at], the variations it has and the consistency it has. All of this makes him special. The important thing is to keep an eye on how much cricket he plays.”

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Date updated: 7 May 2023 10:25:39 IST

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