Sri Lankan cricket legend Sanath Jayasuriya is celebrating his 54th birthday today (June 30). Jayasuriya, one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world during his time, was used as a makeshift batsman and bowler. However, Jayasuriya was made the opener in 1996 and after that the entire world cricket changed its direction. A crucial overnight decision made the bowler a world-class opener. Statistics of more than 20 thousand runs and 42 centuries throughout his career testify to the stature of Sanath Jayasuriya as a batsman.
Debut in international cricket
Jayasuriya first represented Sri Lanka in the Under-19 World Cup in 1988 and was subsequently selected in the Sri Lanka B team for the tour of Pakistan. Moving to Pakistan, he scored two brilliant double centuries and Jayasuriya got a chance to play in the Sri Lankan senior team. Jayasuriya made his debut against Australia in 1989 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Batting at number five, he was dismissed for just 3 runs.
Jayasuriya’s career started very badly and this cycle continued for 4 years. Jayasuriya could not score a single half-century in 33 innings. His best score till 28 October 1993 was just 34 runs. Following this, he was brought in to bat at number three against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy played at Sharjah and scored his first career half-century. Jayasuriya scored 58 runs and in the next match he also scored a half-century. After this he could not score another fifty in 14 consecutive innings.
Got the first opportunity as an opener
Jayasuriya was made to bat for the first time by the Sri Lankan team in 1994 as an opener. Pakistan toured Sri Lanka and Jayasuriya scored three consecutive fifties in the three-match series. Yet Jayasuriya was not a regular member of the Sri Lankan team, constantly changing his batting order. After this, in 1994, on December 8, Jayasuriya made the first big bang. He scored 140 runs as an opener against New Zealand on South African soil. Jayasuriya scored his first ODI century in a career spanning five years after his debut.
The incredible World Cup of 1996
In the year 1996, India-Pakistan and Sri Lanka teams jointly hosted the World Cup. Pakistan and India were considered the strong contenders for victory. The Sri Lankan team was very weak at that time, their winning percentage was only 29 percent. The Sri Lankan team started to strategize for the World Cup. At that time, the Sri Lankan coach was Dave Whatmore and he suggested the option of scoring as many runs as possible.
In those days teams usually bowled comfortably in the first 40 overs and scored runs in the last 10 overs. However, Whatmore and skipper Ranatunga devised a strategy to score quick runs in the first 15 overs and the responsibility was given to Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluvitarna. Sanath Jayasuriya had said in an interview, “The team management feels that I am not fit to bat at number seven. I was not used properly during my seven year career. He asked me to take the pressure off the other batsmen by scoring quick runs as an opener.”
The gamble of sending Jayasuriya to opener was taken and then the whole world was stunned. Jayasuriya gave Sri Lanka a storming start in every match in the 1996 World Cup. In the first 15 overs, Jayasuriya and Kaluvitlana combined to attack the opposition bowlers and force the opposition to surrender. This resulted in the Sri Lankan team not losing a single match in the 1996 World Cup and eventually winning the title.
Jayasuriya scored 221 runs in the 1996 World Cup. He took 7 catches along with 6 wickets and was adjudged Man of the Tournament. Jayasuriya became the opener for the Sri Lankan team, which was not considered as a contender for this World Cup, and turned the game around. Jayasuriya’s revolutionary batting in the powerplay changed the entire world cricket mindset.
Important News –
It’s decided! Hardik Pandya is now the captain for India in T20 cricket, the BCCI official himself clarified.
ICC WTC. India will have to do these things if they want to play in the final
Australian players were also shocked after seeing Warner’s catch, see how the Sri Lankan captain was dismissed