From being a replacement to SL’s hero in T20I series

Young Kusal Mendis made a strong comeback to the Sri Lankan side in Bangladesh after being dropped for the tour of India in November last year. He made a career-best 196 in the opening Test in Chittagong and was one of the two batsmen to make a half-century in the second Test which was dominated by the bowlers.

Mendis, who turned 23 earlier this month, was named Player of the Series in the T20s that followed after finishing with back-to-back half-centuries. The young star believes Sri Lanka will be more competitive now with return of confidence.

Mendis in a press conference on Thursday: 
“It has been a good start to the year. We have a lot of cricket in 2018 and we are confident of doing well this year. Personally, achieving the double of scoring 1000 runs in Tests and 1000 in ODIs is something that I want to achieve this year. We have got about ten Test matches for the rest of the year and I believe I can get to that landmark. It is important to have small targets and keep working towards them.”

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Missing out on double hundred yet again: 
“It keeps happening isn’t it? It has happened twice now. Guys in the change room were disappointed that I couldn’t get there. Some were saying that I will regret it in a few years time. I felt bad about it. Maybe next time I shouldn’t try to get there with a boundary. Picking up a few singles will be a better way to get to the milestone.”

On opening the innings: 
“I was asked whether I could open, I was a bit reluctant. Once the head coach pointed out that he has the confidence in me that I could do the job, that’s all what I wanted. When the coach is backing you, your confidence level goes up. I was told that this was not going to be a permanent thing and it could change according to opposition and conditions.”

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