Mickey Arthur says Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka are generational talents

Charith Asalanka

Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur has heaped lavish praise on two young batsmen whom he feels the team can be built around for the next decade in Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka.

Nissanka and Asalanka are already threatening to carve out an exciting new era of Sri Lanka punching above their weight like the islanders’ great teams of the past.

They have seized the number one and number three slots in the Sri Lanka top order but must now brace for the top teams honing in on their weaknesses.

Pathum Nissanka
Pathum Nissanka

Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka to learn at World Cup

Arthur believes this T20 World Cup will be a great learning experience for the future leaders of Sri Lanka cricket.

“I’ve watched every cricketer now in Sri Lanka, but I don’t see batting talent like Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka,” Arthur said. “As a coaching staff and a selection panel, we’ve got to keep giving opportunities to young players, because in the next couple of years they’re going to be the leaders in the batting department.

“I’ve always said since the first time I saw Pathum that he’s a wonderful talent. His balance, his feet movement, when he attacks and defends are great. He’s got it all. We saw that on Test debut. He’s played every form now over the last sort of nine months for us. He’s going to play every form, because I think him and Charith are generation next for Sri Lanka in terms of batting.”

Charith Asalanka: ‘I backed myself to play my natural game’

Arthur is particularly proud when he reflects on Asalanka’s journey to becoming a key player for Sri Lanka and T20 World Cup match-winner.

“To see Charith’s development has been incredible,” Arthur said. “I remember Charith arriving into our bubble just before we went to England, and to see Charith’s journey from England to where he is now is a credit to himself. The way he’s gone about his work, the professionalism that he’s shown, and his preparation for every game has been fantastic. To see a young player like Charith get better and better has been very rewarding for us.”

Sri Lanka face Australia on Thursday in their second Super 12s match after seeing off Bangladesh on Sunday.