Full name Ashantha Lakdasa Francis de Mel
Born May 9, 1959, Colombo
Current age 56 years 85 days
Major teams Sri Lanka
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm medium-fast
|Test debut||Sri Lanka v England at Colombo (PSS), Feb 17-21, 1982 scorecard|
|Last Test||India v Sri Lanka at Kanpur, Dec 17-22, 1986 scorecard|
|ODI debut||Sri Lanka v England at Colombo (SSC), Feb 13, 1982 scorecard|
|Last ODI||England v Sri Lanka at Pune, Oct 30, 1987 scorecard|
|First-class span||1981/82 - 1986/87|
|List A span||1980/81 - 1987/88|
He was a brisk right-arm bowler with the ability to gain genuine outswing, Ashantha de Mel was Sri Lanka's leading pace bowler following their elevation to full Test status. In Sri Lanka's inaugural test against England in 1981-82, de Mel took a highly creditable 4 for 70 and 1 for 33. In the following tour of Pakistan, he toiled willingly, taking 11 wickets. In the one-off Test against India in 1982-83, he became the first Sri Lankan fast bowler to take a five-wicket haul, grabbing 5 for 68 in the second innings. With the bat, de Mel was a handy performer, capable of valuable contributions in the lower order with his aggressive style. A serious knee injury brought his career to a premature end after the 1987 World Cup, but he went on to represent Sri Lanka at bridge, including an appearance at the Commonwealth Games. He also served on the interim committee of the Sri Lanka cricket board, and was a national selector and manager of the under-19 side.
Johann P Jayasekera (April 2004)
What makes this innocuous-seeming bowler so difficult to handle?