Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Fantastico Duo of Sri Lankans who I grew up adoring! - Part II

The Fantastico Duo of Sri Lankans who I grew up adoring! - Part II

There are cricketers who are naturally gifted and ooze talent from a very young age. Then there are those who are limited in their capability but have that one quality which the gifted players often do not possess. That quality is that of self belief. If you believe in yourself and still be humble then that is a very potent quality. I've always loved the Sri Lankans for their flair and the way that they changed the game was played in the late 1990's. I'll enlist below two cricketers who played a very significant role in the emergence of cricket on the island.

Arjuna Ranatunga

Arjuna started his career in the early 1980's where he played in the first test that Sri Lanka played. He was a decent player who could handle the pressure situations and was unfazed when facing bigger opposition. He could also bowl some handy medium pace which is always an added bonus for any young cricketing nation just trying to find its feet amongst the big boys.

He assumed captaincy as the 1990's approached and his attacking captaincy and innovative ideas led Sri Lanka to their greatest glory when they lifted the 1996 World Cup. It was he who asked his openers to go hammer and tongs in the opening 15 overs while the field was up and it was he who was in the Australian's face not backing down when confronted with sledging. In fact he gave it to them and in his own uncanny way unsettled the Australians with his mastery. Just before the finals he told a jam packed room filled with media that Shane Warne was just an ordinary bowler. That he believed so much in his batsmen and their ability showed the extent to which he could back his players. Shane Warne was overpowered by Aravinda and Arjuna easily add they romped home with a victory.

He was a no nonsense captain and backed his players to the hilt and combined with his cunning mind and nerves made of steel he was almost unmatchable when it came to captaincy skills. The impact that he had on the oppositions psyche even before a ball had been bowled was often the difference between Sri Lanka winning the game and losing it!!

Marvan Atapattu

A player who scores just 1 run in his first 6 test innings can be lost forever but Marvan was someone who did not let pressure affect him. He went on to become the most successful test opening batsman for the Lankans as he raked up 16 test centuries by the time he retired with 6 of them being double tons. He was a very stylish player and had a compact technique.

He also partnered Sanath in the ODI’s for Sri Lanka hitting over 8500 runs and playing over 250 ODI’s. He is the perfect epitome of a cricketer who was not very gifted but with his sheer hard work and determination climbed up the ladders of success.

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