'Leading SL is a dream come true' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 07, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:09 AM, November 07, 2017

'Leading SL is a dream come true'

Since making his international debut in 2009, all-rounder Thisara Perera established himself as one of the most exciting all-rounders in world cricket and plays T20 leagues all over the world. His achievements include ODI and T20I hattricks for Sri Lanka. He was also made captain of Sri Lanka's T20I side which toured Pakistan this year. The 28-year-old, who is playing for Rangpur Riders in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League, spoke to The Daily Star's Mazhar Uddin about his career, inspiration, his new role as the Sri Lanka captain along with other aspects in an exclusive interview. The following are excerpts from the free-wheeling chat:

The Daily Star (TDS): How do you see BPL's growth so far?

Thisara Perera (TP): I played my first BPL two years ago and this is my second time here; I would say it has become better than before. It has been growing higher and higher since it started and the participation of world-class players has made it better by the day. From the arrangement and facilities point of view you can compare the BPL with any other league in the world.

TDS: How was the experience on the recent tour of Pakistan? Did the intense security arrangements affect you as a player?

TP: Yes, such tight security can bother players but the thing is we also have to help return cricket to Pakistan as we had a similar situation in Sri Lanka five-six years ago. Being a neighbouring country we must help to return cricket to Pakistan. From my part I am really satisfied with the tour and security.

TDS: How do you see your career so far and your new role as Sri Lanka's T20I captain?

TP: I think I am really happy with my performance and proud of whatever I have done so far. I am the current T20I captain of Sri Lanka and it's a dream come true for me. Every player first dreams of representing the country and later you have to perform for your nation and finally, every player dreams of captaining the country. I think I am really happy the way things have gone so far.

TDS: What was the most memorable moment of your career?

TP: I think the toughest and most memorable experience of my career so far was the 2014 World Twenty20 final because we lost five wickets in a very short time. And then myself and Kumar [Sangakkara] had a 40-run partnership which I think helped Sri Lanka win the title. I think that is the most memorable experience of my career.

TDS: How do you deal with the role of a finisher needing to score upwards of 15 runs an over at the business end of vital games?

TP: If you look at my average and strike rate you will notice that my average is going down and the strike rate is moving upwards. This is because almost every time I go out to bat 15 to 20 runs per over is required. But I enjoy the role of a finisher and I have gone through such serious situations more often than not, so it has become a habit for me.

TDS: What was the decisive moment of your career?

TP: In my cricket life, I think in 2009 there was a Powerplay of five overs in [domestic] T20s and I think that's the turning point of my cricket life. That's why I came into the national team, because I was scoring runs heavily in domestic cricket at a high strike rate. Kumar was the captain at that time and he picked me as I can score runs quickly. Everyone has their heroes and I think Sanga is my hero. I do have a few other heroes in cricket but he was the man who picked me to utilise the Powerplay.

TDS: How do you see the progress of Bangladesh cricket?

TP: I think they have come a long way and especially after the BPL they now have the confidence. At the same time, they also have quite a few mature players and also good management. The local players are also keen to learn from the foreign players whenever they get the opportunity. Many of them come to me to learn about the leg-cutters, off-cutters and about batting in pressure situations. So I think they have a very good future.

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