Champaka Priyadarshana Hewage Ramanayake
January 08, 1965, Colombo
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Ramanayake was a wholehearted performer, a willing worker with a steely determination - he never shirked the issue. During a period when Sri Lanka lacked a true pace bowling threat Ramanayake, a genuine medium pacer, bore the brunt of the work-load. Ramanayake lacked the raw pace to be a genuine wicket-taking threat at Test level. An honest toiler he usually managed to check the batsman without dismissing them.
On his Test debut against Australia in Perth he went wicketless. His first wicket came in his second Test against England when he dismissed Phil Newport. On the 1989-90 tour of Australia he was forced to work hard for his four wickets, though better times came on the tour of New Zealand when he provided solid support for Labrooy and Ratnayake taking 11 wickets in the three Test series. The role of support bowler suited Ramanayake to a tee as he was capable of extended spells of accurate bowling. Ramanayake's moment of glory came in the subsequent home series against Australia when he spearheaded the attack taking 17 wickets in 3 Tests, including a career-best 5 for 82 at Moratuwa. He formed a successful new ball partnership in this series with new boy Duleep Liyanage causing the Australian top order difficulties with movement and swing. It was a just reward for the perseverance and willingness to work under arduous conditions. It proved to be a brief glimpse of the heady heights of stardom as Ramanayake returned to grafting out Test batsman for the remainder of his international career.
At the one-day level Ramanayake's style was an effective weapon and he was an excellent performer with his steady line and length. His ability to control the run rate made him a permanent fixture in this form of the game.
After playing his final Test in 1993 he maintained a position in the one-day outfit before drifting from the international scene. A fine domestic season prior to the tour of Australia in 1995-96 saw him thrust his name in front of selectors. They could have done worse than selecting Ramanayake, and they did deciding to go with a younger generation, none of which performed with any note.
A qualified coach at Level I (English) and Level II (Australian), he headed Sri Lanka's Fast Bowling Academy for seven years, grooming several bowlers who went on to play for the country. He was appointed Bangladesh's fast bowling coach in March 2008.
Johann P Jayasekera
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