New Delhi, Sep 13: Sri Lanka legend Lasith Maling heaped praises on Dinuth Wellalage after his all-round performance against India in the Asia Cup Super 4 match, saying the 20-year-old got "brilliant head on his young shoulders".
The youngster rattled down India's prolific batting order and went on to pick up maiden 5-wicket haul in Sri Lanka's 41-run loss in the Asia Cup Super Four match on Tuesday.
While Sri Lanka failed to chase down India's total of 213, Wellalage capped off an excellent all-round performance by contributing 42 not out and collecting the outstanding bowling figures of 5/40, picking up the Player of the Match award.
Malinga immediately took to X, (previously Twitter) after the match to praise Wellalage's effort and the Sri Lanka great believes the young spinner has a bright future ahead of him.
"It’s fair to say that Sri Lanka played with 12 players today. That’s how good Dunith was. He’s got a brilliant head on his young shoulders to go with his all-round skill set.
"I believe he’s on his way to becoming the most important player for SL in ODIs for the next decade," Malinga wrote.
However, Malinga was not the only cricketer to applaud the youngster's brilliant all round showcase, veteran India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and former all-rounder Irfan Pathann also credited Wellalage for his performance.
"That ball from Wellalage to Gill is a dream ball for any spinner, but most importantly a big endorsement to the triple spin threat," Ashwin wrote on X.
Pathan said: "Solid bowling from this youngster Wellalage."
While Wellalage has only played 13 ODIs for his country thus far, the left-armer looks set to play a major role in Sri Lanka's ICC Men's Cricket World Cup campaign that commences in India next month.
Wellalage first showed his class by finishing as the leading wicket-taker at last year's ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup with 17 scalps at an average of 13.58.
The 20-year-old built on that promise by collecting the big wickets of Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya during his breakout spell at the Asia Cup. (IANS)