Mendis shooting for top ten


Sri Lanka batsman Kusal Mendis has voiced his goal to break into the top ten batsmen in the world and raise his average into the 40s.

Mendis credited his coaches for his return to form highlighting their support as a major factor in his ability to bounce back from a poor Southern African safari.

The diminutive right-hander struggled in Zimbabwe and South Africa and saw his average dip out of the 40s but has gone a long way towards pushing that back up after he hit an unbeaten 166 on day one of the first Test against Bangladesh.

Mendis told a press conference after the first day’s play: “When I played Australia at home, I had an average of about 42, but then it deteriorated little by little.

“People told me it’s hard to push it back above 30 if it goes below that. After I failed in South Africa, I wanted to get it back above 35, and you need a big innings to do that.

“People told me that when you get set, make sure you hit a big innings. I want to be among the best ten batsmen in the world, and to get my average to 40 or 45 eventually.”

The 22-year-old has made some technical adjustments to his batting but feels the support of his coaches is one of the big reasons behind his success.

He added: “I practised hard after Zimbabwe and South Africa.

“The coaches, senior players and captains all told me that I can handle this level – they didn’t put much pressure on me despite my failures.

“I corrected my backlift a bit after watching previous videos, but there weren’t any major changes. Those little things I tried to change.

“I must have played a bad shot to get out first ball, but I was keen to stay there for the team after that.”

Mendis felt the Galle track for this Test was the flattest he has seen and was a big change from the wicket presented for the game against Australia.

He said: “Last year when we played Australia here, the ball really turned. This time it’s easier for the batsmen, and it won’t be a big difference tomorrow – maybe late in the day the ball will spin a bit more.

“The wicket does seem hard though, so it’s hard to predict what will happen.”