Joseph Ravindran Ratnayeke
May 02, 1960, Colombo
Left hand Bat
Right arm Fast medium
Ravi Ratnayeke was a player capable of genuine allround performances with both bat and ball in hand. A right-arm medium-pace bowler with the ability to bowl at a lively pace and move the ball in favorable conditions. To compliment his ability with the ball he was also a competent left-hand batsman in the lower order. As his career developed so did his batting, such was his ability he was asked to open the batting at test level and did so with success. Perhaps his greatest attribute was his tenacity and resolve, always willing to compete in a side that was usually less than competitive. Scripted into the side as a 21 year old, Ratnayeke was originally selected as a specialist bowler. On the unresponsive wickets in Pakistan he toiled in relative obscurity earning four expensive wickets and batting as low as No. 10. Wickets and runs were difficult to come by at first, but the selectors persevered and against New Zealand at the SSC he had a breakthrough when he took 5 for 42. The back-to-back series against Pakistan enabled Ratnayeke cement his position in the side with impressive displays with the ball and his ever improving batting provided valuable runs in the lower order. At Sialkot he produced a devastating display wrecking the Pakistan innings with figures of 8 for 83, the figures remaining the benchmark for all Sri Lankan bowlers until recent times. Pushed into the opening position on the tour of India in 1985-86, Ratnayeke responded to the added responsibility. In his debut innings combating the new ball he scored a remarkable 93 adding 159 with Siddath Wettimuny, later capturing 4 wickets in a superb allround display. In the second Test, as Sri Lanka capitulated he
held firm top scoring with 54, upstaging his more distinguished colleagues. He completed an outstanding series capturing 5 for 85 in the final test at Cuttack.
This determination and competitive nature was highlighted in his series against Australia. In 1988 he toiled manfully as Australia crushed the Sri Lankans, capturing 4 for 98 in 40 tidy overs. With the bat he scored 28 and 34 as the rest of the batting yielded. In the next series in Australia, the penultimate in his career, he batted with purpose and resolve scoring two fifties both when Sri Lanka were at their greatest need.
Johann P Jayasekera
Batting & Fielding