Key RCB player retires from Test cricket to focus on limited-overs career
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) may not be busy with Indian Premier League (IPL) duties but the popular franchise and its cricketers stay in the news, with the latest revolving the retirement from Test cricket of one of their critical first-choice picks.
The name concerned is Sri Lankan mystery spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, who shocked the cricket world by bidding adieu to the Test match game at the age of just 26. The young incisive tweaker and promising lower-order batter has opted out of the red-ball version to prolong his limited-overs international career with the Lankan Lions and pursue stints in T20 leagues around the world.
Notably, Hasaranga hadn't played a Test in more than two years before calling it quits. The rising young white-ball maverick last turned out in April 2021 in Pallekele for the home series against Bangladesh and finishes with just four caps under his belt from his debut in December 2020 on the trip to South Africa.
Unable to exert similar influence as he does in T20Is and ODIs for the Island nation, Hasaranga faltered miserably in his four Test outings, averaging a woeful 100.75 for his 4 wickets at an economy rate of 3.58. With batters enjoying greater time up their sleeves to counter the variations of the 26-year-old, the Test match game remained an unsuccessful territory for the Lankan spinner.
Hasaranga retires from Test cricket aged 26
Hasaranga's decision comes at a time when the T20 market has had an influx of new leagues based in South Africa, UAE and North America to further saturate an extremely busy white-ball domestic franchise and club scene.
Given Hasaranga's struggles in the brief appearances at the Test level, the selectors and the management had already move on to other bright spin options in the form of Ramesh Mendis, Prabath Jayasuriya, Praveen Jayawickrama and Lasith Embuldeniya among others before he called it quits.
"We will accept his decision and are confident that Hasaranga will be a vital part of our white-ball program going forward," said Mr. Ashley De Silva, CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket, confident that Hasaranga's ouster wouldn't diminish their spin progression in the post-Rangana Herath era and hopefully of him continuing to grow in the white-ball arena.
Hasaranga has played 48 ODIs and 58 T20Is for Sri Lanka, and will be key to their chances at the respective 2023 World Cup and 2024 T20 World Cup campaigns.