Nuwan Pradeep had never played with a cricket ball until he was 20 years old.
Twelve years on, complete with a slingshot bowling action not dissimilar to that of Lasith Malinga, his iconic teammate, Pradeep has represented his country across all three formats.
It is a fairy-tale in a sport occasionally short on such feelgood stories.
After winning a pace-bowling competition in 2007, Pradeep found himself catapulted directly into Sri Lanka’s academy.
And while his raw pace has never necessarily matched his wicket-taking output, he remains an intriguing weapon for Dimuth Karunaratne.
With potential reward, however, comes an element of risk. And with Pradeep’s uncoached pace, comes an expensive unpredictability.
His 10 wicketless overs against India in December 2017 cost 106 runs.
Going into the World Cup, only two men in the format’s history have proven more expensive in a single innings. Meanwhile, just five men to have bowled more than 1,000 deliveries in ODI cricket carry with them a worse economy rate than the Sri Lankan speedster.
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