T20 has allowed many cricketers a rebirth of sorts. Indika de Saram is one of them.
He played his last ODI for Sri Lanka in 2001, a triangular final against Pakistan at Sharjah. A short Test career of just four matches, came to an abrupt end in 2000. But, as Indika says, he never gave up.
“After 2001, I worked hard on my batting. Scoring runs season after season, just hoping that I could get a recall,” he says. The comeback happened earlier this year, when Sri Lanka played a one-off T20 against India.
Indika took to T20 cricket naturally. “My batting style is perfectly suited to the format. I am a hard-hitting batsman, trying to clear the fence ball after ball,” he says. Apart from taking club bowlers to task back home, Indika used an interesting platform to develop his T20 skills - the Hong Kong Sixes. “I played for Sri Lanka in the Hong Kong Sixes for six-seven years. That experience really helped me play T20 cricket, especially the last five overs,” he says. Representing a team that has several 30-plus players, he is 36, Indika feels age is not a consideration in T20, especially when players keep up with their fitness. “My fitness has been top class,”he says, before adding, “For anyone to play international cricket again after 35 is a dream come true.” Limited-overs cricket is where he sees himself playing. “I want to try and make a comeback into the one-day team. I cannot break into the Test team, and do not like playing Tests either,” he says.
Indika expects to perform well in the WT20, if he gets his chances, but the thing on his mind is the IPL. “I'd love to play the IPL if given a chance,” he admits.