|December 01, 1963
|60 Years, 3 Months, -1 Days
The portly figure of Arjuna Ranatunga redefined the definition of conservation of energy by walking most of his 5000 odd runs that he scored in Test cricket. Add to that, the 7000 plus runs in ODIs, and the fact that he captained Sri Lanka in 56 of the 93 Tests, and 193 of the 260 ODIs he played in. Not only that, he defied belief when he led Sri Lanka to a World Cup victory in 1996, as under dogs, beating arch rivals Australia in the finals.
But even before that Ranatunga became the first cricketer in the history of Tests to play his country’s 1st and the 100th Test match. He was a stubborn character who knew his strengths, but more importantly circumvented his weaknesses by realizing the things he could not do as a cricketer. A no-nonsense guy, he was known to back his players to the hilt, as was the case with Muralitharan when he was called by umpire Ross Emerson, and then almost led his team off when the umpire refused to play ball. Ranatunga’s sour relationship with Shane Warne is very well chronicled, and it only worsened with time.
After a poor showing in the 1999 World Cup, he lost his captaincy and soon retired from the game, to join politics. He then moved back to cricket, becoming the President of the Sri Lankan Cricket Board.