PUNE: The last time Kasun Rajitha played at the Gahunje Stadium, in 2016, he came in as a debutant and went back as player of the match.
The pacer took the wickets of Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane in his first over and Shikhar Dhawan in his third in Sri Lanka’s five-wicket win over India in their first T20 at the venue.
Rajitha has come back to Pune for another T20, and in the past eight years, despite getting off to a dream start, he has realized that T20 cricket is never an easy format for the bowlers.
“You need to be mentall y very strong when you play T20s,” he said on Thursday.
The realization for Kasun, 29, happened in 2019 when he became the most expensive bowler in the history of the format. Kasun was hit for 75 runs in four overs against Australia in the first T20I during their tour Down Under.
“It is never easy for a bowler to face a situation like that. Until then, I was not prepared for something like this. It can shatter the confidence of a bowler and it did affect me too. But when I look at it now, I feel it was a lesson for me. It was a harsh way to get a reality check, but I feel it worked in a positive way for me,” he said.
“I have come through a systematic process of playing cricket. I have played age cricket, been there at the national academy and played domestic cricket. So I knew it was part of the game. I survived because I got support from my family as well as my teammates, coaches an d board,” Kasun, who has taken 15 wickets from 15 T20Is, said.
He has also played in 13 Tests and has 39 wickets to his credit. “The Test matches are about physical endurance and skills. T20 format is entertaining and has to be played with aggression. A bowler needs to stay very careful and mentally strong in this format,” said Kasun, who still gets trolled on social media.
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