Gurusinha played a big hand in Sri Lanka winning world Cup 1996
Asanka Gurusinha is a fine left hander who captained Nalanda in the
56th encounter - Battle of the Maroons in 1985. By then he had made a
name as one of the most celebrated school cricketers in the island. He
made the national team for some of the foreign tours as well. Soon after
his school days, he went on to represent Sri Lanka. He played a major
role in Sri Lanka winning the World Cup in 1996.
Asanka Gurusinha - played a key role in Sri Lanka winning World
Cup Cricket title in 1996.
At Nalanda he had many successes and it was quite natural that he was
picked for the coveted honour of Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the
Year in 1985. `Gura' played a anchor role in the Battle of the Maroons'
in 1985 when he scored an unbeaten century (100 n.o). This valuable and
aggressive century gave him the incentive to forge ahead.
After his schooling Gurusinghe went on to play for the SSC and also
for NCC. He didn't stop at that. His illustrious international career
started when he played in the 3rd Test against Pakistan in 1986 at
Karachchi. The Pakistan team was led by Imran Khan. `Gura' started as a
wicket-keeper a role he took for a further two one-day series. He
gradually established himself as a number three batsman too. Prior to
playing in Test cricket, `Gura' had the distinction of playing for the
Board President's XI against India in Colombo where he stroked a fine
century in 1985 just after the Ananda-Nalanda encounter.
In the first Test and ODI's against Pakistan Gurusinghe showed his
class playing in the all important position of number three and was
described by Simon Wilde of Cricket Info as the rock on which Sri Lanka
batting was founded.
When he retired after the World Cup only Aravinda de Silva had made
more Test hundreds with eight compared to Gurusinghe's seven. He was
also a useful part - time bowler. His 20 Test wicket included great
players as Sunil Gavaskar, Michael Atherton, Dean Jones, Steve Waugh and
He enjoyed a an eleven-year international career playing 41 Tests and
147 One-Day Internationals for Sri Lanka. His happiest movements came
when Sri Lanka won the 1996 World Cup beating Australia in the final at
Lahore. (In that tournament Gurusinghe was one of Six batsmen to make
300 runs. Australia batted first and made 240. Sri Lanka, after a
disappointing start losing openers Jayasuriya and Kaluvitharana for just
23 runs recovered well. Asanka Gurusinghe and Aravinda de Silva made it
good, totalling 130 for 3 wickets. Gurusinghe batted with great
authority and made a valuable 65 runs and Aravinda de Silva batted
delightfully and made 112 not out and that knock really paved the way
for Sri Lanka's fine victory.
Yet six months later, he was out of the team. After a bitter row with
Sri Lankan captain Arajuna Ranatunga and the Sri Lanka Cricket Board, he
was dropped without explanation. This hurt Gurusinghe and coach Dav
Whatmore too got involved in the fracas and a big verbal battle ensured
with Gurusinghe praising Whatmore as being the man responsible for Sri
Lanka winning the World Cup in 1996 after taking charge of the team in
1995. Skipper Ranatunga did not agree.
Ranatunga said Whatmore had little to do with the triumph. The wheels
of success were in place long before Whatmore was recruited. The fiasco
ended when Whatmore stepped down to accept a lucrative contract with
Lancashire.Meanwhile Gurusinghe flew into Melbourne to take up his
contract as captain coach of North Melbourne.
The left-handed batsman Gurusinghe had four seasons at Ardeen Steet
where he struggled for motivation. He scored up to 500 runs but was not
satisfied. His happiest moments obviously was when Sri Lanka won the
1996 World Cup defeating Australia in the final at Lahore.
Asanka Gurusinha's performances in the Test and one-day
internationals are: 41 Tests 2,452 runs at an average of 38.92 seven
centuries and eight half centuries, a best score 143, delivered 234
overs, claimed 20 wickets for a bowling average 34.04 best bowling
figures 4 for 68 and held 33 catches.
In the ODI's: Played 147 matches scored 3,902 runs at an average of
28.27 with two centuries and 22 half centuries. Highest score of 117 not
out bowled 264 overs and captured 26 wickets, average of 52.07, 2 for 25
was that best bowling figures and held 49 catches.