Shot into the limelight with his aggressive batting in recent India-Sri Lanka cricket series, all-rounder Thisara Perera said it was a dream-come-true for him to play under Mahendra Singh Dhoni in Indian Premier League side Chennai Super Kings.
"It's really a great opportunity for me. To play among the stars in the Indian Premier League which is a big thing for me. I hope to get an opportunity soon," Perera told PTI.
Perera, who was the only Sri Lankan to earn a contract at this year's auction, was bought by the CSK for USD 50,000.
The 20-year-old was all praise for CSK captain Dhoni.
"He is the most patient captain I have ever seen. He is extremely cool-headed on the field that inspires youngsters like me. It's really a dream-come-true that I am in a team which has Dhoni as the captain," he said.
The southpaw had earned surprise national call-up during Sri Lanka's tour of India last year as emergency replacement for Angelo Mathews and he grabbed the opportunity with both the hands.
Perera made his debut here in Eden Gardens with a 14-ball 31 in Sri Lanka's 315 for six, but he shot to fame with an unbeaten 15-ball 36 -- his best from six ODIs -- that helped Sri Lanka chase down 280-run target against India in the tri-nation tournament in Mirpur.
Boasting an impressive ODI strike-rate of 161.53, Perera said: "I always bat with aggression. I always try to hit the ball hard. My approach suits Twenty20 the most. Hoping a good show here (in IPL), I will be able to establish my career."
His style of play resembles compatriot left-hander Sanath Jayasuriya and an unassuming Perera said: "I have grown up watching him play since the 1996 World Cup triumph. I have had few opportunities to talk to Jayasuriya. He has told me to work hard and I will have a great future ahead."
Perera, however, does not idolise anybody.
"I have my style and ability. I do not like to copy anyone."
"I always enjoy big hitting. I like to bat more than I bowl. But it always helps if I contribute with the ball as well," Perera said.