There was a time in the history of international cricket that Sri Lanka dominated all the ICC competitions and bilateral series. They declared their dominance by winning the 1996 ODI World Cup by defeating the ferocious Australian squad.
They were also the finalists in two consecutive ODI World Cups in 2007 and 2011. However, cricket in Sri Lanka has been struggling for a long time and they have legit reasons for the same.
The country is going through an economic revival and in 2021, the cricket board in Sri Lanka had to cut the wages of the players and that created a dispute between the players and the board.
The downfall of the team started when some of the legendary players retired and the responsibility came on the shoulders of the new generation. In this article, we have listed down some of Sri Lanka’s cricket legends who became an inspiration for young cricketers.
1) Sanath Jayasuriya
When we talk about Sri Lankan cricket, we talk about Sanath Jayasuriya. Sanath Jayasuriya was responsible to put Sri Lankan cricket on the world map with his commendable performances in international cricket.
A ferocious batsman who eventually became a major fear for bowlers from across the globe. In 445 ODIs, Jayasuriya scored 13430 runs at an average of 32.4 and a strike rate of 91.2.
His ODI career included 28 hundred and 68 fifties. There was a rumour in international cricket at one point that Sanath Jayasuriya has a spring in his bat because he was known for power-hitting every kind of bowler.
2) Muttiah Muralitharan
One of the greatest spinners of all time, Muttiah Muralitharan, was known for his variations and googly in international cricket. With 1334 wickets in his international career, Muralitharan is the highest wicket-taker. His 800th Test wicket came on the final ball of his career.
In ODIs, Muralitharan has picked up 534 wickets in 350 matches and Test cricket, the spin maestro has 800 wickets in 133 fixtures. Muttiah Muralitharan was scrutinized by the ICC for his bowling action more than once but the legend achieved success against all odds.
3) Kumar Sangakkara
The most talented and graceful cricketer from Sri Lanka who was destined to become a legendary player, Kumar Sangakkara will go down in the history books of cricket and will inspire the young generation for a long time.
In 404 ODIs, Sangakkara scored 14234 runs at an average of 42.0 and a strike rate of 78.9. In the red-ball format, Sangakkara scored 12400 runs in 134 fixtures at an average of 57.4 and a strike rate of 54.2.
Sangakkara is the second-highest ODI scorer after Sachin Tendulkar. He was the main man to take Sri Lanka to new heights in international cricket.
4) Mahela Jayawardene
It can be officially said that Mahela Jayawardene was the greatest leader of the Sri Lankan cricket team. He took the team to two consecutive ODI World Cup finals and helped the team to dominate international cricket in every format.
He not only build the team from scratch but had all the legends mentioned in the list. Jayawardene played a crucial role in the 2007 and 2011 ODI world cup and in the 2017 T20 World Cup. He was also the first player from Sri Lanka to score 10,000 Test runs.
5) Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga ruled the pace bowling in international cricket and he was the best limited-over format bowler in the world. With an unorthodox bowling action, Lasith Malinga became the most difficult pacer to play and gave a difficult time to some of the best bowlers.
Malinga was known to bowl perfect yorkers in death overs and can control the run rate of the opposition. He is the only bowler to pick 4 consecutive wickets twice in international cricket.