There are sportsmen who make a stunning impact when they burst onto the scene but fade into oblivion soon after. The reasons could be many - injuries, drastic loss of form or opponents finding ways of negate the tricks in his armour.
Sri Lanka spinner Ajantha Mendis enjoyed that high before a quick slump. But unlike many others, he regained his poise. When Mendis made his international debut in 2008, he reintroduced Jack Iverson’s mystery spin to world cricket. In between his leg-spin, he would flick his finger around the ball to stun the batsmen with leg-spin.
His version of the mystery ball was termed the carrom ball. Mendis scalped six wickets in the Asia Cup final in 2008 to help his team triumph over India before scalping eight on Test debut against the same opponents. The batsmen found him difficult to read off the hand, and once the ball had pitched, it was usually too late. But with time, the mystery wore off.
Mendis admits the batsmen had found him out over the last two years, but is confident of hitting back. "I have not added much to my bowling. I already had a lot of variations. It is just about being more disciplined in terms of line and length," he tells HT. "I know I am a decent bowler, and I will do well again."
Mendis believes T20s are the best way for him to regain his wicket-taking form. "T20s are very short. The batsmen have just four overs from me so they can't read me," he explains. "You have to try everything in those four overs and just put your best foot forward."