In a World Cup full of household names, Avishka Fernando is likely one with whom cricket fans are less familiar. Just 21 years old and with just five ODI appearances on his back, he arrives in England as a relative novice; he has only ever played 28 List A matches.
Despite his tender age, however, he has long been earmarked for international success.
After impressing at the 2016 Under-19 World Cup – a tournament that included a 96-ball 95 against an England team featuring Sam Curran, Mason Crane and Saqib Mahmood, he was selected somewhat out of the blue for a full international bow against the might of Australia.
Although he had never played a first-class game at the time, the youngster was thrown into an ODI at Dambulla to face Mitchell Starc, who promptly dismissed him without scoring.
He returned to the Sri Lankan fold earlier this year for the white-ball part of the tour of South Africa. Once again, he struggled, scoring just 71 runs in four games.
However, his is a talent worth persisting with. His selection over stalwarts such as Dinesh Chandimal and Upul Tharanga highlights the esteem in which Fernando is held.
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