Kolkata Knight Riders sign on Lanka’s budding spinner Mendis

May 18th, 2008 - 1:30 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Shoaib Akhtar
By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, May 18 (IANS) Bollywood film idol Shah Rukh Khan’s Kolkata Knight Riders have signed on Sri Lanka’s new spin sensation Ajantha Mendis to play for them in the ongoing lucrative Indian Premier League cricket tournament, a local report here said Sunday. “He (Mendis) has been signed on a three-year contract and is expected to make regular appearances during the 2009-2010 season,” Colombo-based English weekly, The Nation, reported.

The 23-year-old off-spinner from the Sri Lankan Army, who came in international limelight following his excellent performance against the West Indies in the Caribbean islands earlier this year, is expected to leave for Kolkata Sunday to join the Sourav Ganguly-led team.

Despite the arrival of the Rawalpindi Express - Shoaib Akhtar, the Knight Riders suffered an embarrassing defeat against Mumbai Indians Friday when they were bowled out for a mere 67, the lowest total of the IPL.

“Shah Rukh Khan was quite excited by the prospect of having a bowler like Mendis in the team. Calcutta is a place where the pitches are generally slow and receptive to spin and a bowler like Mendis would be able to make the maximum use of the conditions,” a spokesman for Austin Management, which got Mendis the contract, has been quoted as saying.

According to the media report, the Knight Riders, planning tours to England and Abu Dhabi to play friendly cricket matches in the near future, have also extended an invitation to Sri Lanka all-rounder Kaushalya Weeraratne to spend a week with the team in training “with a possibility of offering him a contract”.

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