Picture of Thilan Samaraweera

Thilan Samaraweera

Batting style:
Right Handed bat
Bowling style:
Off break
Played for:
Sri Lanka, Colombo District CA, Colts Cricket Club, Central Province, Kandurata, Sri Lanka A, Sri Lankan Invitation XI, Sinhalese Sports Club, Worcestershire, Young Sri Lanka, Wayamba, Sri Lanka Under-19, Kandurata Warriors, Kandurata Uva Combined, Brothers Union
Roles played:
Home country:
Sri Lanka
September 22, 1976, Colombo


In 2013, Samaweera retired from international cricket after being left out of the Test squad for Sri Lanka’s home series against Bangladesh.Being a spin bowler in the Muttiah Muralidaran era was tantamount to foolhardiness, as the spin great was bound to overshadow your performances. Thilan Samaraweera learnt his lessons quickly and from being an off-spinner who could bat a bit, he transformed himself into a genuine front-line batsman.

It wasn’t easy though. Samaraweera debuted for Colts Cricket Club in 1995 and played as their front-line spinner. He got his due when he was called up to Sri Lanka’s ODI team in 1998. He managed to play only six matches between 1998 and 1999 and was consequently dropped. The presence of Kumar Dharmasena and the wily Murali meant that Samaraweera would find it very hard to break into the Sri Lankan team as a spinner. So he went back to domestic cricket and worked on his batting. The move paid dividends as he made his debut against India at Colombo. Coming in at number eight, Samaraweera combined with Hashan Tillakaratne to put up a mammoth score of 610, and completed his maiden ton in the process.

Samaraweera’s performances were thereafter consistent and he cemented himself in Sri Lanka’s Test squad. However the selectors ignored him in ODIs and he was labeled as a Test specialist. He performed exceedingly well in Tests and it was not until mid-2006, that cracks started appearing in his batting. His ODI career hasn’t rhymed the same way though. After being ignored in the past decade, Kumar Sangakkara gave the veteran a vote of confidence and since 2009, Samaraweera started featuring in ODIs. However coming lower down the order, he has had limited opportunities and his inability to hit big shots may be his undoing in the shorter format of the game.

Samaraweera may not be as pretty to watch as a Mahela Jayawardena or a Kumar Sangakkara but his ability to wear down bowlers and accumulate runs is an ideal foil to a batting line-up replete with stroke makers. He is also a very good player of spin bowling and is a decent fielder.

In 2013, Samaweera retired from international cricket after being left out of the Test squad for Sri Lanka’s home series against Bangladesh.


  Matches Innings Runs NO Avg. SR 100's 50's HS
Test 81 132 5462 20 48.76 46.92 14 30 231
ODI 53 42 862 11 27.80 69.29 2 0 105*
  Matches Innings Balls Runs Wickets BBI BBM Avg. Econ. 4w 5w 10w Extras
Test 81 35 1327 689 15 4/49 / 45.93 3.11 1 0 0 23
ODI 53 17 702 542 11 3/34 / 49.27 4.63 0 0 0 14
  Catches Stumpings Runouts
Test 45 0 3
ODI 17 0 0


Sri Lanka Vs India at Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo - Aug 29, 2001
Last played:
Sri Lanka Vs Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), Sydney - Jan 03, 2013
Sri Lanka Vs India at Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium, Sharjah - Nov 06, 1998
Last played:
Sri Lanka Vs India at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai - Apr 02, 2011