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Sunday, 24 May 2009





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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 Inzaman-ul-Haq.

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.


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