Sanath Jayasuriya, the World Popular Sri Lankan Cricketer in the Sri Lankan cricket t-shirt!
Sanath Jayasuriya, the World Popular Sri Lankan Cricketer!

The bond that the world has with cricket is simply impressive. Thus, most of the renowned cricket players from Sri Lanka are not only loved by the citizens of this country, but also by the whole world. Among the greatest players from Sri Lanka cricket, Sanath Jayasuriya is indeed a highlight. He is also known as “Master Blaster”, and “Matara Hurricane” for being a revolutionary cricket player since the beginning of his career with international cricket. Besides, Sanath Jayasuriya’s name also has a significant place in the hearts of Sri Lankans for being a legendary cricket player who elevated Sri Lanka to a greater place in the eyes of the world. Therefore, we thought of focusing this read on this wonderful cricket player from Sri Lanka. Continue reading, and you will get to know many things about this great sportsman.

Who is Sanath Jayasuriya?

Sanath Jayasuriya is one of the greatest cricketers the world of cricket has ever witnessed. His international cricket career excelled in almost every aspect of cricket such as ODIs, T20Is, and Test Matches. In addition, Sanath Jayasuriya is also known as one of the most outstanding all-rounders of international cricket.  Thus, he was the only player to score more than 10 000 runs and capture over 300 wickets in ODI cricket.

Furthermore, in 1977 he recorded the highest number of runs scored in a two-match test series with a score of 571 runs. Jayasuriya is also the first cricketer to score a triple century in first-class cricket, and the first and only batsman in history to score two consecutive ODI scores above 150. 

In recognition of his legendary performances, Sanath Jayasuriya won 48 Man of the Match, and 11 Player of the Series Awards throughout all the years he was active in the field of cricket.

 Early Life and Education of Sanath

 Sanath Jayasuriya was born on 30th June 1969 in Matara which is a lush city situated in the southern province of Sri Lanka. His parents were Dunstan Jayasuriya and Breeda Jayasuriya. Since the beginning of his school life, Jayasuriya showed immense progress as a cricketer with great potential. The first pages of his cricket diary have been written at St. Servatius’ College, Matara where his talents for cricket were recognized and nourished by his school principal, Mr. G. L. Galappathy, and cricket coach, Mr. Lionel Wagasinghe. As a prominent cricket player at school, he led the college cricket team at the cricket encounter between St. Thomas’ College and St. Servatius’ College in the year 1988. Also, Jayasuriya received the awards for the “Best Batsman”, and “Best All-Rounder” in the Outstation Segment at the Observer School Cricket Awards Ceremony in recognition of his outstanding performances as a school cricketer.

International Cricket Career of Sanath Jayasuriya 

Jayasuriya has an International Cricket career that spans from 1989 to 2011. Besides, he was a versatile and skillful cricketer who excelled in Test Cricket, ODIs, as well as in T20Is. In addition, he is known as an all-rounder since he was an excellent batsman, and bowler who always displayed match-winning contributions throughout his entire international cricket career. The following sections will enlighten you further about his international cricket career.

Entering Sri Lanka Cricket

First, Jayasuriya entered Sri Lanka cricket as a member of the under 19 national cricket team which represented the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup held in Australia in 1988. Next, he took part in the tour in Pakistan a few months later with the Sri Lanka “B” Team. During this tour, he scored two remarkable double centuries proving his promising future as a legendary cricket player. He was recruited as a part of the Sri Lanka National Cricket Team in 1989. Therefore, Jayasuriya made his ODI debut in 1989 in a match against Australia whereas his Test debut was in 1991 in a match against New Zealand. 

Batting Style of Sanath Jayasuriya

Sanath Jayasuriya was famous as a left-hand batsman. Further, since the beginning of his international cricket career, Sanath Jayasuriya’s batting style has been recognized as “game-changing”. In his XI of toughest batsmen, Glenn McGrath described Sanath Jayasuriya’s “storming innings” in the 1996 ICC World Cup as something that changed “everyone’s thinking about how to start innings”. Due to this revolutionary batting style carried out by Sanath Jayasuriya and his opening partner Romesh Kaluwitharana, Sri Lanka won the 1996 ICC Cricket World Cup for the first time without a single defeat. 

Besides, Jayasuriya’s approach to batting is sometimes defined as an “all- aggression approach” because the remarkable way he scored runs at a rapid pace was truly eye-catching. Moreover, it was wonderful to see how other cricketers also started following Jayasuriya’s approach to batting after he started hitting a myriad of match-winning sixes and fours over the cricket stadiums amidst the happy cries of fans. Also, he maintained a good batting average in both Test Cricket and ODIs with an excellent batting strike rate in ODIs.

 Bowling Style of Sanath Jayasuriya

Being a left-arm orthodox spin bowler, Sanath Jayasuriya was known for rapidly getting through his overs. However, he used to bowl fastballs and Yorkers too, excelling in his career as a bowler with a versatile skill set. He also maintained a very good bowling average and an economy rate. Throughout his time in the international field of cricket, he secured altogether 440 wickets with six 5 wicket hauls. The 6 wickets he secured in 29 balls in an ODI match against England mesmerized the cricket audiences of 1993 as it was his best bowling performance in an innings. Later, this record was broken by Muttiah Muralitharan in 2000. 

Further, he recorded his best bowling performances in test cricket when he took 9 wickets for 74 in a match against Zimbabwe. Moreover, the epitome of Jayasuriya’s bowling career was during the knockout stage of the 1996 ICC Cricket World Cup where he was able to take 6 wickets in 3 games. When Sanath Jayasuriya bid farewell to international cricket, he had more than 400 wickets out of which more than 300  were secured at ODIs.  

Jayasuriya’s Captaincy

Sanath Jayasuriya was the Captain of the Sri Lankan Cricket Team from 1999 to 2003. As the Captain, he led the team in 38 Test Matches and 117 ODIs. During his tenure as the captain, the national cricket team of Sri Lanka played up to the knock-out stage of the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup. However, Jayasuriya decided to step down from captaincy after the team lost against Australia in the semi-finals.  

Test Career

Sanath Jayasuriya’s debut test cricket match was held on 22nd February 1991 against New Zealand whereas his last test cricket match was on 01st December 2007 against England. During his career as a test cricket player, Jayasuriya passed several remarkable milestones. Firstly, on 20th September 2005, Sanath Jayasuriya became the first Sri Lankan cricketer to play 100 tests matches during a match played against Bangladesh. Besides, he is the 33rd test cricketer to uphold this achievement. He also owns the record for the highest test score made by a Sri Lankan cricketer as he scored 340 runs against India in 1997. In addition, during this match, he was able to set the all-time world record for the strongest partnership for the second wicket by scoring 576 runs along with Roshan Mahanama.

ODI Career

Sanath Jayasuriya’s astounding journey in the ODI cricket field started in 1989 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Since then, until his last ODI at Kennington Oval in 2011, his ODI career has indeed been remarkable. As an ODI cricketer, Sanath Jayasuriya’s highest score is 189 runs scored at a match against India in 2000. This remains still the highest ODI score by a Sri Lankan cricketer, and the 11th highest ODI score of all time.

Also, Jayasuriya owned the world record for the highest number of ODI sixes (270 sixes in 445 ODIs) until Shahid Afridi broke the record in the 2010 Asia Cup Series. During his career in the ODI cricket field, Jayasuriya became the 4th batsman to score more than 10, 000 runs and the 2nd batsman to score more than 12, 000 and 13, 000 runs. He also has 28 centuries which is the 4th highest century scored by a single batsman in the history of ODIs. 

Furthermore, he held the record for the highest number of runs within an ODI over (30 runs) which is now held by the South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs (36 runs). In May 2006, Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga maintained a wonderful partnership by scoring 286 runs for the first wicket at the one-day Natwest Series played against England. In recognition of his outstanding performances, Jayasuriya won the Man of the Match award for this series where Sri Lanka defeated England 5-0. Moreover, Jayasuriya scored a dashing 157 runs off 104 balls in a match against the Netherlands which is in fact his 4th score of over 150 runs where he was able to be the world record holder as the only cricket player to achieve two consecutive 150+ runs in the history of ODIs.     

Twenty20 Career

Sanath Jayasuriya’s career in the Twenty20 field spans around 05 years. He started his T20 career on 15th June 2006 in a match against England. In 2008, he participated in the Indian Premier League as a team member of “Mumbai Indians” where he was able to score a magnificent 114 runs off 48 balls against “Chennai Super Kings”. Moreover, in the same year, “Mumbai Indians” was able to have the biggest victory in Twenty20 history in terms of balls remaining due to the mind-boggling innings played by Jayasuriya. 

In 2011, Jayasuriya played for “Ruhuna Rhinos” in the qualifying round of the Champions League. One year later, Jayasuriya played for “Khulna Royal Bengals” in the inaugural Bangladesh Premier League, and “Kandurata Warriors” in the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League. However, the Twenty20 match he played against England in 2011 is recorded as Sanath Jayasuriya’s last Twenty20 international match.

Career Statistics of Sanath Jayasuriya

Following are the career statistics of Sanath Jayasuriya for Test Matches, ODIs, and T20Is in terms of batting and bowling.

Batting Career Summary

Batting Career Summary of Sanath Jayasuriya

Bowling Career Summary

Bowling Career Summary of Sanath Jayasuriya


Sanath Jayasuriya retired from all forms of limited-overs cricket in 2011 after Sri Lanka’s ODI against England at ‘The Oval’. However, he played his farewell Test Match in 2007, at Asgiriya Stadium, Kandy while noting that he had wanted to end his Test career in Sri Lanka, particularly in Kandy.  

Coaching Career

Sanath Jayasuriya started off his coaching career as the Head Coach of the Mulgrave Cricket Club for season 21/22. This is a third-tier Australian cricket club in Melbourne which plays in Victoria’s Eastern Cricket Association. Jayasuriya announced his appointment via his social media platforms on 3rd June 2021.  

Selecting Committee

Sanath Jayasuriya played a significant role in the Selection Committee of the Sri Lanka Cricket. On 28th January 2013, then Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage appointed Sanath Jayasuriya as the Chairman of Electors of the National Cricket Team of Sri Lanka. Along with Jayasuriya, the Selection Panel consisted of Pramodya Wickramasinghe, Eric Upashantha, Chaminda Mendis, and Hemantha Wickramaratne. During their tenure, the Sri Lankan National Cricket Team won the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 Championship, and the 2014 Asia Cup. In addition, the team marked Sri Lanka’s first-ever full series win (in all three formats of the game; namely Test Matches, ODIs, and T20s). Jayasuriya’s role as the Chairman of the Selection Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket ended in 2015. 

However, Jayasuriya was appointed again as the Chairman of Electors on 11th April 2016 with Ranjith Madurasinghe, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Asanka Gurusinha, and Eric Upashantha as the Selection Committee Members. This time, Sri Lanka cricket witnessed a ride downhill as Sri Lanka lost World Number 01 Ranking in T20s while leaving very early from both the 2016 world T20 and 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. Furthermore, Sri Lanka lost consecutively many bilateral tours to New Zealand, England, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and South Africa.  Even though Sri Lanka had several failures this time, the team was able to win the Warne- Murali Trophy against Australia, and the Zimbabwe Tri-Series. However, after a heavy loss in a series of both ODIs and Test Matches in India, Jayasuriya along with his Selection Committee resigned from their respective positions.

 The Popularity of Sanath Jayasuriya  

As mentioned above, most Sri Lankans share an immense bond with cricket as it is one of the most famous sports in Sri Lanka. Therefore, Sanath Jayasuriya’s name resonates very closely with the heartbeats of Sri Lankan cricket fans regardless of their age especially for his awe-inspiring career in international cricket.  As one of the greatest all-rounders of the era, he excelled in almost all forms of cricket such as ODIs, Test Cricket and T20Is.

Due to his extreme popularity, Sanath Jayasuriya won the 2010 Parliamentary Elections with 74, 352 preferential votes. Therefore, he served as the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, and Deputy Minister of Postal Services until 2015, where he ended his tenure as a member of the Sri Lankan parliament. This all-time favorite cricket player from Sri Lanka is also the first cricketer who got appointed as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for his utmost commitment towards preventing HIV/AIDS among young Sri Lankans.  

The Bottom Line

As Sunil Gavaskar, cricket commentator and former cricketer from India exclaimed once, there are plenty of memories that come to the minds of avid fans of cricket when they hear the name “Sanath Jayasuriya”.  As an all-rounder, he not only grabbed the attention of Sri Lankan cricket fans but also the cricket fans around the world. So, even though he retired from all forms of international cricket in 2011, he is still remembered and loved by cricket fans all over the world. Conclusively, let us wish him all the best in his future endeavors and good health!