At 36 years old, Jeevan Mendis may have believed that his time had come and gone. It has been four years since his last ODI and nine since he made his international bow.
That he finds himself back on the world stage is as much a testament to a fledgling career carved out on the franchise scene as it is to the relative chaos in the Sri Lankan camp that has seen such a raft of pre-tournament changes.
Aside from a time spent as Derbyshire’s overseas player in 2017, the leg-spinning all-rounder has enjoyed stints in the Big Bash with the Sydney Sixers and a season in the Indian Premier League with the Delhi Daredevils, as well as spells playing in T20 competitions in the West Indies, Bangladesh and South Africa.
It was, perhaps, that most recent campaign with the Tshwane Spartans under the management of Mark Boucher that has proven most significant.
Sixteen wickets in nine matches saw Mendis end South Africa’s domestic T20 tournament as the joint-leading wicket-taker, catapulting the veteran back into the minds of the Sri Lankan selectors.
Not to be confused with his namesake, Ajantha, whose mystery carom-balls have tumbled off the radar in recent years, it remains to be seen what kind of impact Jeevan will have in a squad full of spinning options.
Either way, Jeevan’s return – once Sri Lankan cricket’s forgotten man – represents some comeback.
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