In February, we wrote this about Kulesekara. A somber look ahead to his inevitably sad demise. 6 months on, the lad seems genuinely interested in proving us an utter failure at calling a cricketer. Our biggest fear now is that we will achieve a similar reverse jinx with what is about to follow. But at least we will be safe in the knowledge that we are consistently wrong about our opinions.
It would be interesting to know if someone told Kulesekara at the nets that he should try his hand at fast bowling or whether its something he wanted to do his whole life. But regardless of whether it was forced on him or came naturally, one thing remains clear – that he would have gone into wholeheartedly.
At the root of everything Kulesekara does is his heart and unbridled job of bowling and picking up wickets for his country. By all sense and logic he has no business being in a test side. And about a year ago he had no business being in any of Sri Lanka’s sides. Yet here he is in a test side and picking up top order wickets.
What gives ? Kulsekara’s strength has always been his consistency, but of late he seems to have entered into that metronome level. He has also developed his skills in what he can do with the ball. In the past he predominantly swung the ball in. Now he can bowl it so that it hold its line and when truly in full flight, even move it away.
His test selection was purely based on his ODI form of late and the challenge for him was going to be whether he could replicate the white ball success with the red one. If you ask a Pakistani top order batsmen you’d probably get a resounding yes. But its easy to get carried away with it all like Sangkkara appears to have been when he called him the spearhead of the attack. Can Nuwan Kulesekara ever be a spearhead of an attack? It seems wrong and odd and an insult to the ideology of it all.
Kulesekara had a good game against a batting line up that were atrocious in covering the line and their decision making in what to play outside the off stump. This is not to take anything away from him. He asked the questions and Pakistan did not have the answers. It now comes down to whether Kulesekara is capable of replicating this feat in the rest of the series. And extrapolating further – against better batsmen, in different conditions. Right now the sample size is too small to pass judgement.
But the promise is there. And that is always a good thing. Heartening almost.