Observer Schoolboy cricketers reach Himalayan
Master-blaster Sanath won Observer Outstation Cricketer Award in
Master-blaster Sanath Jayasuriya - a former Sri Lanka skipper, has
been very much a part and parcel of inter-school cricket in the country
and he excelled in cricket while at St. Servatius College, Matara and
was picked as Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in the Outstation
Segment in 1988. He was also picked as the Best Batsman and Best
Allrounder in the Outstation Section.
Flashback: Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year (Outstation) 1988,
Sanath Jayasuriya of St. Servatius College, Matara the
prestigious receives award from Mrs Malini Bodinagoda, wife
of then ANCL Chairman Ranapala Bodinagoda.
Sanath Teran Jayasuriya is one of the finest allrounders from Matara
to emerge in school cricket and he kept faith with the game and it was
natural that he would make the grade to the top. He has been with the
Sri Lanka team and has captained the team too.
In two days time, Jayasuriya will be involved with the Sri Lanka team
at the Asia Cup tournament in Pakistan and after his exploits in the
recent Indian Premier League, all cricket fans will be awaiting for some
cracker-jack batting in the Asia Cup tournament.
While in Pakistan, there is another important date: June 30 - that’s
Sanath’s 39th birthday, and it will, no doubt be celebration time over
After a few hiccups, he is back in good form. He scored a devastating
114 not out off just 48 balls for Mumbai Indians against Chennai in the
recently concluded Indian Premier League. Jayasuriya regained his
position in the one-day squad for Asia Cup after he had been dropped for
the West Indies tour.
He then followed up his Century with a 17-ball 48 not out to surpass
the Kolkata Knight Riders score of 67 in just the 6th over which was the
biggest victory in Twenty 20 history. He was the tournament’s 3rd
highest run getter with 514 at a strike rate of about 160. He led the
six hitting board.
Jayasuriya was born in Matara on 30th June 1969 and had his education
at St. Servatius’ College, Matara. It was there that his cricketing
talents were nourished by the Principal, G. L. Galappathy and coach
The all-rounder has been a member of the Sri Lanka cricket team since
1989. He is the only player in the world to score over 12,000 runs and
capture over 300 wickets in ODIs. He is also regarded by many critics
and supporters as one of the best ODI players to ever play the game.
Jayasuriya is the first cricketer to be appointed as a UN Goodwill
Ambassador (by UNAIDS, Geneva) for his commitment to prevention of
HIV/AIDS among young people in Sri Lanka.
Sanath Jayasuriya revolutionised one-day international batting with
his aggressive tactics during the 1996 cricket World Cup. The tactics
used were to take advantage of the early fielding restrictions by
smashing the opening bowlers to all parts of the ground. This was a
novel but potentially match-winning tactic at that time. Pretty soon
this tactic became the standard opening batting strategy in world
Glenn McGrath cited Jayasuriya in his toughest XI batsman, noting it
is always a massive compliment to someone to say they changed the game
and his storming innings in the 1996 World Cup changed everyone’s
thinking about how to start an innings!
Jayasuriya is known for both cuts and pulls along with his trademark
shot a shot over point Jayasuriya was promoted to the top of the batting
order for the ODIs during the 1995-96 tour of Australia and with Romesh
Kaluwitharana they made use of the early over fielding restrictions to
He was instrumental in Sri Lanka’s victory in the 1996 Cricket World
Cup where he was adjudged Man of the Tournament in recognition of his
He was named as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1997 and
served as captain of the Sri Lanka team in 38 Test matches from 1999 to
2003. He is a allrounder with a good batting average in both Test and
ODIs and an excellent batting strike rate in ODIs.
As a left-arm orthodox spin bowler he has a reasonable bowling
average and economy rate. He regularly helps to decrease the workloads
of strike bowler Muttaiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas and has 406
international wickets. Jayasuriya is a skilful fielder Since 1999
Cricket World Cup he had effected seventh highest number of run-outs in
ODI cricket of any fieldsman with the eleventh highest rate.
Jayasuriya held the record for the highest Test score made by a Sri
Lankan 340 against India in 1997. This effort was part of a second
wicket partnership with Roshan Mahanama that set the then all-time
record for any partnership in Test history with 576 runs.
Both records were surpassed in July 2006 when fellow Sri Lankan
Mahela Jayawardena scored 374 as part of a 624-run partnership with
Kumar Sangakkara against South African cricket team.
Jayasuriya holds the world’s second ODI score jointly with VIV
Richards which is 189 runs against India. He has the fourth highest
individual score by a Sri Lankan.
He currently holds the record for the fastest 50 in ODIs scored off
just 17 balls. Jayasuriya was the previous record holder for the fastest
century (off 48 balls) before losing that claim to Sahid Afridi of
Pakistan. He has hit 241 sixes in one-day internationals and currently
holds the world record for most ODI sixes. He is the fourth batsman to
score more than 10,000 runs in ODIs.
On September 20th, 2005, during the second Test match against
Bangladesh, Jayasuriya became the first Sri Lankan to play 100 Tests and
the 33rd Test cricketer to achieve this feat. He held the record of
scoring most runs in an ODI over (30) he has achieved this remarkable
feat twice. This record is now with South Africa’s Hereschelle Gibbs 36
runs in an over.
Towers of strength …….. Two Sunday Observer staffers who
have contributed immensely towards the success of the
Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the contest for
three-an-a-half decades – Deputy Editor A.C. de Silva and
former St. Benedict’s cricketer and former sports journalist
the late Leslie Fernando during a mega awards presentation
Jayasuriya announced his intention to retire from Test cricket
following the Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka in 2005, April. He reversed his
decision soon after, and then joined the Sri Lanka team in April 2006
for the tour of England. Missing the first Two Tests, Jayasuriya
returned to the team in the third Test at Trent Bridge.
Although his Test performances were not striking, he scored two
centuries in the one-day Natwest series, which included 152 off 99-balls
in the final match. In that innings he and Upul Tharanga (109) put on
286 runs for the first wicket a - new one-day international record.
Jayasuriya’s batting display earned him the Man of the Series award as
Sri Lanka won the series 5-0.
Following the Natwest Trophy, Sri Lanka travelled to Holland for a
two match one-day series. In the first game Jayasuriya scored 157 off
104 balls as Sri Lanka posted the highest team total in limited overs
cricket 443 for 9 beating the South Africa 438 for 9 against Australia.
Sri Lanka won the match by 195 runs. On a personal note the innings
was his 4th score of over in ODI cricket and he is currently the only
player to do so. It was also his second successive score of 150 plus
another first in ODI cricket.
He also scored 2 centuries and 2 half centuries in the 2007 cricket
World Cup held in the West Indies. In the ICC World Twenty20, Jayasuriya
hit two half centuries in the group stages against New Zealand and
Kenya. He also achieved a dubious record of having the most expensive
figures in a Twenty20 international having been hit for 64 runs in the
maximum of 4 overs.
After the Twenty20 World Cup, Jayasuriya played in Sri Lanka’s 3-2
one-day international series defeat against England achieving limited
success and then in the 2-0 Test series defeat in Australia.
After scoring a half century on day three of the first Test against
England in Kandy, he announced his retirement from Test cricket at the
end of the match but said that he would continue to play in One-Day
Internationals, He also hit six fours in one over against Englishman
James Anderson in his last Test innings.
In the 2008, he played for Warwickshire County Cricket Club. In April
2008 he joined the Mumbai Indians to play in the IPL.
Jayasuriya has played in 110 Test matches and scored 6,973 runs, an
average of 40.07. He made 14 centuries and 31 half centuries, top score
of 340, bowled 8,188 balls, captured 98 wickets at an average of 34.34.
Best figures 5 for 34 and held 78 catches.
In One-Day Internationals, he has scored 13,430 runs in 445 matches
with an average 32.36. He has 28 ODI centuries and 68 fifities to his
credit with an impressive strike rate of 91.20 and a career best innings
of 189. As a bowler, he has sent down 14,874 balls, capturing 323
wickets average of 36.75, best bowling 6 for 29 and taken 123 catches.
In domestic cricket, he represented Bloomfield Cricket Club.
(Reproduced from Sunday Observer of June 22, 2008)