Left-handed batsman Upul Tharanga is an absolute delight to watch once he gets going. However, he has been finding it difficult to cement his place in the Sri Lankan squad even after playing over 100 ODIs.
Tharanga debuted for his club side Nondescripts and was part of Sri Lanka’s Under-15, Under-17 and Under-19 teams. After a successful Under-19 World Cup and a good Under-19 series in Pakistan, he was selected to make his ODI debut against West Indies in 2005. In only his fifth match, he slammed his maiden century against Bangladesh. Tharanga made his Test debut against India the same year falling just short of a half century in the 2nd innings. However, he could not continue on his good start and after being granted numerous opportunities, he was dropped from the Test team. But the selectors persisted with him in ODIs and he repaid their faith with an excellent series in England where he scored over 300 runs in five games.
Tharanga was selected ahead of the struggling ex-captain Marvan Atapattu for the 2007 World Cup but failed miserably notching a solitary fifty in his five games and a poor home series against England at home led to his being dropped from the ODI squad. His lean patch continued even after his comeback in 2008 but he was Sri Lanka’s most consistent batsman on their away tour to India in 2009. Post the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, Tharanga was banned for 3 months after he was found guilty of breaching ICC's Code of Conduct. In 2012, he was signed by Uva Next for Sri Lanka’s inaugural Premier League and was also named in the Champions League T20 squad.
When in form, Tharanga is one of the game’s most flowing batsmen. His cover drive and down the wicket shots are on par with the best in the world. He is also capable of clearing the field at ease. But his footwork is suspect and he also has a tendency to throw away his wicket when well set.