Former Aussie spinner and coach Ashley Mallett feels Sri Lanka s new spin sensation Ajantha Mendis is not an average slow spin bowler but is in a different class altogether like compatriot Muttiah Muralitharan and Bill O Reilly.
Recalling his days as the coach of the Sri Lanka Spin Bowling Academy in Colombo a couple of years ago, Mallett said, even before his sensational six for 13 in the Asia Cup final, he was impressed with Mendis fitness and bowling when he first saw the young lad in an army pants and Sri Lankan army T-Shirt.
`The way he bowled was like looking at a taller, stronger Gleeson, operating off a long run and bowling at a shade under medium pace. His bowling arm was quite high and I noticed because of that, his wrong ones turned a lot more than the leg breaks. He could also bowl a leg-break, a top spinner and an off-break in one action,` he wrote in Mid-Day on Friday.
`He was a tough lad and was fighting fit. As an artillery gunner in the Sri Lankan Army, he had to be tough and in top shape but his bowling, even as a youngster was very impressive and he will be a tough customer in the next a few years,` he added.
Stressing that the Mendis success story had just begun, Mallett wrote, that the Indians will be the first opponents to face his magic in the Test series beginning on July 23.
`Mendis success story has only just begun and the Indians will be the first opponents to face his magic in a Test series at home. With his ever lasting smile, probably we will be witnessing another smiling assassin in the making. Mendis can now lay down his arms in the military sense and continue to fire on the international sporting stage,` he wrote.
`Though there was little coaching needed other than the need for him to mix his finger-flick deliveries more, and less of the orthodox off-break and off cutter during his Colts squad days, he now sees to be ready for tougher challenges,` he added.