Tillakaratne Dilshan retires August 27, 2016

Dilshan contributed as much as Sanga and Mahela did - Mathews

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Angelo Mathews: 'Dilshan has been an absolute brilliant servant for Sri Lankan cricket over the past 17 years' © AFP

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has put Tillakaratne Dilshan's contributions on par with those of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, ahead of Dilshan's final ODI in Dambulla on Sunday. Dilshan was the fourth Sri Lanka batsman to 10,000 ODI runs, and he has the third-highest number of hundreds with 22.

"Dilshan has been an absolute brilliant servant for Sri Lankan cricket over the past 17 years," Mathews said. "I think he has equally done the service that Mahela and Sanga did, and we're going to miss him a lot. Unfortunately, he had called it a day. We respect that decision and the whole team wishes him the very best."

Several former players have also delivered glowing appraisals of Dilshan's career. Former team-mates Jayawardene and Sangakkara said Dilshan deserved a grand farewell on Twitter. Sangakkara was particularly complimentary, stating that Dilshan, along with Sanath Jayasuriya, had been Sri Lanka's "greatest match-winners".

Arjuna Ranatunga has also been among the former captains paying tribute, labelling Dilshan's all-round aptitude a captain's dream. In addition to his 10,248 runs ODI runs - ahead of his final ODI - Dilshan has taken 106 wickets, claimed 122 catches, and made one stumping during one of several stints as replacement wicketkeeper.

"Dilshan started his career as a middle-order batsman, then he moved on to become an opener," Ranatunga told the Island. "Opening the batting is the toughest thing in cricket. There's a lot at stake for an opener and not many players excel in that discipline. Dilshan had an outstanding career as an opener in all three formats. He was also a brilliant fielder and an intelligent bowler. All captains wish they have players like Dilshan in their ranks.

"Dilshan could change games quickly. The dilscoop that he introduced has been played effectively by cricketers in shorter formats of the game with great success. Like Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath and Romesh Kaluwitharana, he left his mark in cricket."

Sri Lanka will play two more ODIs in the series after Dilshan's exit, and the opening combination in those matches will likely feature two of the three young opening candidates: Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera and Dhananjaya de Silva.

"It's going to be a tough task to fill his boots but we've see the youngsters taking lot of responsibility in the recent past," Mathews said. "We're really thankful to Dilshan and our ambition is to try and win this match for him."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ratne on September 3, 2016, 3:38 GMT

    @Cricfan60453798 Cricket is not only ODI s , test is pinnacle of cricket.. He could be amoung best players not anyway above Sanga and Mahela in Test

  • Suboz on September 1, 2016, 3:29 GMT

    @ARMCHAIR_CRITIC007 it's not chandimal wwho kept failing. it's mahela. he kept failing for years and then wanted to open, then declined and kept failing again , so captain decided to play chandi at 6 7 or 8, coz mahela wanted to bat higher up the order & mathews wanted no 5 no matter what. even no 6 is the ideal place for him.

  • TRAVISFAMBECK on August 30, 2016, 18:11 GMT

    Thank you for the cricket , most of all..... you did it your way !. It is a shame indeed you had to retire in the middle of a series . If the selectors or someone else influenced or pressurised you to hang up which I am afraid I have to disagree with and is a shame. Age is just a number.

  •   Lmar Khplwak Kharotay on August 30, 2016, 7:20 GMT

    Sad to see such wonderful and respected cricketer is retiring, wish him Happy and successful life, From Afghanistan

  • Jose...P on August 30, 2016, 2:52 GMT

    Ardent Sehwag fans will never forget or forgive the Randiv incident, while wishing Dilshan a happy & fruitful retirement.

  • cricfan60453798 on August 29, 2016, 15:41 GMT

    Dilshan is one of the greatest ODI batsman Sri Lanka have ever produced, His stats suggests he should be ranked ahead of Mahela and equally to Sanga. Compare the Statistics.

    Most Centuries in ODI

    Sanath 28, Sanga 25 ,Dilshan 22, Mahela 19

    Most player of the Match Awards in ODI, Sanath 48, Sanga 31 , Aravinda 30, Dilshan 25, Ranatunga 22 and Mahela 22

    Most player of the Series awards in ODI,

    Sanath 11, Dilshan 6, Sanga 5 ,Attapattu 4. So decide your self that where should Dilshan be RANKED????

  • cricfan48799952 on August 29, 2016, 6:56 GMT

    It is unfair on the part of selectors/captain to ask Dilshan to retire halfway of the ODI series. They could have asked him to play till the end of the ODI and T20 series, since he had contributed a lot to SLC. Even, he could have played for another 2 years. If he fails in one match, he would contribute in the next match. Unlike all the new comers who have failed continuously, we need some experienced players in the side as well. SA tour is coming up. We don't know what selectors/captain are going to do for the opening slots. In the present squad, we have openers who are not at all consistent. Age is not the factor, if you are physically fit and performing well. What about Pakistan captain Misbah. He is 42 yrs and physically fit. Every one can understand, this is merely political cricket of SLC. Dilshan has retired from SLC and not from the game of cricket. All the best Dilshan for your future endeavors.

  • sajjadparrey on August 29, 2016, 6:15 GMT

    His approach while batting was phenomenal. Focus on the ball, take a step or two and bang through the offside. Played some attractive cricket over the years. Has retired but Dilscoop will keep playing in the game.

  • armchair_critic007 on August 29, 2016, 5:06 GMT

    But so many matches were won due to those two being at 3 ,4 ( sanga won us bucketloads in his latter stages) they tried sanga 3, chandi 4 , mahela 5 for a while once too but chandimal kept failing

  • anver777 on August 29, 2016, 4:02 GMT

    Adios Dili !!! thanks for your services to SL cricket !!!

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