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September 3, 2007
Upul Chandana, the former Sri Lankan allrounder, has retired from international cricket. He played 147 one-day internationals and 16 Tests during his 13-year career.
Chandana, 35, made known his intentions to retire to Duleep Mendis, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief executive, through a letter today. According to Mendis, Chandana did not state his reasons for quitting.
Of late Chandana, who is contracted to SLC, failed to find a regular place in the Sri Lankan one-day side. His name has been linked to the recently-floated Indian Cricket League (ICL) and there is a possibility that he has retired to sign on with it. SLC issued a statement some weeks ago saying that any player joining the ICL would be banned from all levels of cricket connected with the board.
Recently Marvan Atapattu asked SLC to release him from his contract. Although Atapattu's name has often been mentioned with the ICL nothing permanent has materialised. There are even reports stating that he may play for a province in South Africa.
Chandana, a right-arm leg-spinner, hard-hitting lower order batsman and brilliant fielder, played his international cricket under the shadow of Muttiah Muralitharan. His chances of becoming a permanent fixture in the national team were few and far between due to Muralitharan's presence.
Whenever he was given an opportunity in Muralitharan's absence, Chandana was quick to display his talent. One of his finest one-day innings was against West Indies in Bridgetown in 2003 where he played a match-winning role. Chasing 313 for victory, he was promoted up the order to No. 5 and smashed 89 off just 71 deliveries with four sixes.
When Muralitharan withdrew from the 2004 tour to Australia, Chandana came into the Test side as the main spin bowler. Despite being expensive, he took a ten-wicket haul in the second Test in Cairns. With the passage of time Chandana's position in the national one-day team was challenged by two other leg-spinning allrounders, Kaushal Lokuarachchi and Malinga Bandara. Although retained in the national pool Chandana was hardly selected.
A product of Galle, Chandana, who began his career playing for Tamil Union and lately for Nondescripts CC, also represented English county Gloucestershire. He is one of the few bowlers to capture five wickets on Test debut, taking 6 for 179 off 47.5 overs in the Asian Test Championship final against Pakistan at Dhaka in 1999.
In Tests he scored 616 runs and took 37 wickets and in ODIs. where he got more opportunities, he made 1627 runs, with five fifties, and captured 151 wickets.
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