Dihan Avishka Gunawardene
May 26, 1977, Colombo
Left hand Bat
An explosive left-hand opener in the mould of Sanath Jayasuriya, Gunawardene lives on the wild side. He first made headlines at the Commonwealth Games in 1998, scoring a century and top-scoring in the semi-final defeat to South Africa. A few months later, deputising for Jayasuriya, he smashed 145 off 20 overs with Kaluwitharana in an audacious attempt to reach 311 against Australia at Melbourne. He scored a career-best 132 against West Indies in the ICC Knockout in 2000. But impetuous dismissals and inconsistency prevented him from securing a regular berth. However, the appointment of a new selection committee in 2004 paved the way for his recall and he leapfrogged ahead of other fringe players. An opportunity finally came when Atapattu was rested in the Asia Cup and he grabbed his chance with an important half-century. Gunawardene was called up for Sri Lanka's Test squad to India in November 2005 but did nothing of note in the two matches he had handed. He also travelled with the one-day squad to New Zealand in the new year but failed in the one game he played. In September 2007 Gunawardene joined the unofficial Indian Cricket League, effectively ending his international career. A ban on he and four other Sri Lankans was lifted in September 2008, meaning Gunawardene was free to play domestic cricket back home.
Charlie Austin (September 2008)
Batting & Fielding