The original game changers

Highest impact ODI players in Sri Lanka's history.


When it comes to batting, as many as four batsmen from the present playing generation make it to the list, namely- Kumar Sangakarra, Mahela Jayawardene, Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan which goes to show the batting might the current unit possesses. Interestingly, they also form the top four of the current Sri Lankan batting line up.


Sanath Jayasuriya's presence at the top is primarily due to his 8 SDs as a batsman which is actually the second-highest (joint) by a batsman in the history of ODI cricket. His failure rate of 50% is considerably high but is naturally expected with the slam-bang style of play he is associated with. It is also interesting to note that apart from his Strike Rate IMPACT, he doesn't top any of the individual batting parameters for Sri Lanka.

Aravinda de Silva establishes his position as one of the greatest batsmen in Sri Lankan ODI history and as one of the most well-balanced batsman of his generation. He was good in defending, spectacular in launching counter-attacks and extremely calm in pressure situations. It is also revealing that 49% of the time De Silva came in to bat in his ODI career, he was under pressure. He faced pressure in 152 ODI innings (the second-highest for a Sri Lankan batsmen, just one innings short of Jayawardene) and absorbed it successfully 34% of the time. His billing of a big match player can also be understood from the fact that his highest match impact performance actually came in the 1996 World Cup final where he took 3-42 off 9 overs while bowling and followed it up by scoring an unbeaten 107 off 124 balls against Australia to seal the title. It is also the second highest match impact performance (series context) by a Sri Lankan in their ODI history.

One of the biggest revelations on this list is Marvan Atapattu at the 3rd position. Even though he was always considered a classy batsman, he was never seen in the same league as Jayasuriya or de Silva. However, it is really interesting to note that out of the 6 individual batting parameters, Atapattu tops 4 of them for Sri Lanka. Along with his 5 SDs and him being Sri Lanka's most consistent batsman in their ODI history (lowest failure rate - remarkable for a batsman who began his ODI career with 69 runs in 9 innings), Atapattu can be considered as one of the legends of Sri Lankan ODI cricket.

Mahela Jayawardene coming in at no.7 may be a bit of a surprise to some but the fact remains that he has been a relatively inconsistent player in the ODI format compared to his standards in Test cricket. In fact, even though he has three SDs as a batsman, his failure rate of 54% is one of the worst amongst these Sri Lankan batsmen which is a bit surprising given his image of being a reliable batsman for Sri Lanka in the middle-order.

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