During the Chennai Super Kings' game against the Mumbai Indians on Saturday, team captain MS Dhoni had some advice for Matheesha Pathirana, a young Sri Lankan pacer who has been referred to as "Baby Malinga" due to his bowling action being modelled on that of the Sri Lankan great. Pathirana, who is only 20 years old, had an outstanding performance, earning the man of the match award with figures of 3/15 in CSK's six-wicket win.
Potential risks with unorthodox action
However, Dhoni was mindful of the potential risks associated with Pathirana's sling arm action. He warned the young pacer not to get too close to red-ball cricket, and also cautioned the Sri Lankan cricket administrators against playing him in all formats of the game. Dhoni's concerns were rooted in the fact that Pathirana's unorthodox bowling action puts a lot of strain on his body, making him more prone to injuries.
"People who don't have any clean action, batsmen have a difficult time picking it. But his consistency, pace makes him special," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.
"I feel he should not play red-ball cricket, not even get close to it, he can play only ICC tournaments. He is young and he would be a great asset for Sri Lankan cricket. Last time he came, he was lean but now he has put on muscle and is stronger."
Outnumbered in team meeting
Dhoni opted to bowl first after winning the toss. He revealed he had wanted to bat first, but was outnumbered in the team meeting.
"I was doubtful with the decision at the toss, I wanted to bat first, but the think tank thought about the rain, I was slightly outnumbered, and so we went with the majority.
"If there is some kind of confusion, then we sit and talk about it. I felt the wicket will slow down, and that was the reason behind it, and even if rain comes then the majority of the game would have been done," he said.
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