Spartans coach Mark Boucher to unleash Jeewan Mendis on the Blitz in Super League opener

Sri Lankan all-rounder Jeewan Mendis.
Sri Lankan all-rounder Jeewan Mendis.
Image: MAHLATSE MPHAHLELE

Tshwane Spartans coach Mark Boucher will unleash Sri Lankan all-rounder Jeewan Mendis in the Mzansi Super League (MSL) opening match against Cape Town Blitz at Newlands Stadium tonight.

The experienced Mendis‚ who has played 54 ODIs and 22 T20s for Sri Lanka since 2010‚ is expected to be part of the Spartans bowling attack that also includes fast bowlers Robbie Frylinck and Rory Kleinveldt.

Spartans also have Proteas rising star Lungi Ngidi and Zimbabwean duo of Sikandar Raza and Sean Williams in their bowling arsenal who are currently away on international and will join the team at a later stage.

As he prepared for the tournament‚ the leg spinner said he was working hard to acclimatise to the South African conditions. “Obviously I am used to the Sri Lankan conditions and I am expecting the wickets here in South Africa to have bounce and pace‚” he said at SuperSport Park.

“In other countries you bowl short length but here it will be a little bit difficult with the bounce. I need a little bit of time to settle and get used to these conditions. We have been practisising everyday‚ I am slowly learning because this is my first time in South Africa. Everyone here has been friendly and they are giving me advice that I need to be able to do well for the team.”

“I want to thank the Spartans for showing confidence in me and this opportunity will give me an advantage because Sri Lanka are coming here before going to the World Cup.

The 35-year old‚ who grew up idolising Sri Lanka batsman Mahela Jayawardene said he was looking forward to working with the celebrated AB de Villiers who will captain the Spartans.

“I have always wanted to play with AB because he is a multi-talented player. It is a privilege to be able to finally get the chance to play with him and not against him because he is a very dangerous player.

"Over the past few days I have been working him‚ I have found him to be a nice guy who is friendly and always willing to help others. I am always talking to him because he is knowledgeable especially in this format of the game. I looked up to Mahela Jayawardene as my role model both on and off the field.”

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