Sri Lanka batting legend Mahela Jayawardene defined elegance through his strokes and scored runs in abundance for his national team living up to the hype since his debut. The Colombo-born batsman celebrated his 43rd birthday on Wednesday. At an early age his father introduced him to cricket at Cinnamon Gardens. It was there where Mahela Jayawardene learnt his first art of playing the sport.
He was the captain of his college team and won the best school-level player in 1994. Jayawardene was a part of the Sinhalese sports club since 1995 and played most part of his domestic career for them.
Mahela Jayawardene: As a player
Mahela Jayawardene earned success across formats. He had a brilliant hand-eye co-ordination and would love to push the ball through the covers with minimum footwork. The right-handed batsman scored more than 11000 Test runs and over 12000 runs in the longest format of the game. He was a technically sound top-order batsman.
Jayawardene made his Test debut against India in 1997 and his ODI debut came against Zimbabwe in 1998. In the later part of his career, he has grew as a fine captain for the side. In 2006, for his excellence in captaincy, Jayawardene received the ICC ‘captain of the year’ and captain of the ‘world one-day international team of the year’.
Jayawardene retired with 11814 Test runs at an average of 49.84, in ODIs he scored 12650 runs at an average of 33.37. He only played 55 matches in the shortest format of the game, but went on to make his presence felt there also, scoring at an average of 31.76.
Mahela Jayawardene: What is he up to now
Mahela Jayawardene is currently in Sri Lanka in the curfew situation imposed in the country. Sri Lanka has reported around 1000-odd Covid-19 cases and is mulling to remove the curfew imposed this week.
Mahela Jayawardene: Lesser known facts
Jayawardene was the first Sri Lanka captain to score a triple century. His Test debut came in a historic match where Sri Lanka went on to score the record breaking first innings score of 952/6 in the first innings against India. Incidentally, he was at crease when his national team beat the previous highest Test score.
In 2007, he was chosen as the Wisden cricketer of the Year. He was the second highest scorer in the 2007 World Cup behind Australia opener Matthew Hayden. The top-order batsman had score one century and four half-centuries in the marquee tournament.
Jayawardene suffered injury when his team bus was attacked on the way to Gadaffi stadium. ICC had named named the captain for the ‘team of the tournament’ in 2012 World T20.