December 01, 1963, Colombo
Left hand Bat
Right arm Medium
Stocky left-hand batter Arjuna Ranatunga led Sri Lanka to their greatest cricketing triumph, the 1996 World Cup win.
Ranatunga made his debut in Sri Lanka's inaugural Test at the age of 18, and made his country's first Test half-century. A dominant figure on cricket fields all over the world for nearly 20 years, he never shied away from confrontation, defending his players and their rights to the hilt - most famously Muthiah Muralidaran, the team's spin-bowling talisman, against allegations of chucking.
Despite his relative inability to scamper the quick single, Ranatunga had an uncanny ability to keep the scoreboard ticking over using deft placement on both sides of the wicket, combined with fluent driving through the off side in particular. He was a deceptive and useful medium-pace bowler, although his bowling was rarely seen in the later part of his career.
He lost the captaincy following Sri Lanka's poor showing in the 1999 World Cup, and retired from international cricket a year later, but his contribution to Sri Lankan cricket is immense. He moved into politics but In 2006 resigned from the post of junior minister for tourism to concentrate on his role in cricket administration. Ranatunga was appointed chairman of the cricket board in January 2008 but was sacked in December that year after he took several decisions that went against the grain, following which he returned to politics full-time, going on to serve as Sri Lanka's minister of ports, highways and shipping in the mid-2010s.
Batting & Fielding