Hewa Kaluhalamullage Suraj Randiv Kaluhalamulla
January 30, 1985, Matara
Also Known As
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
Rahula College, Matara
A tall offspinner with gentle action, Suraj Randiv has eschewed the mystery balls many of his colleagues deal in and has instead forged a career reliant on flight, dip and, importantly, bounce. The topspinner and the arm ball are his only variations, and even his offbreak is not given to excessive turn.
He had begun his career as a right-arm fast bowler at junior level, until his school found that they had no spinner in their Under-15 side and he was called on to fill the void. Starting as a part-time bowler, he was soon picking up wickets on a regular basis and started representing Matara SC while still at school. Twenty-three wickets in four matches in the U-23 tournament in 2003-04 did not go unnoticed by Marvan Atapattu and Mahela Jayawardene, who brought him over to SSC. He benefited immensely in the presence of Atapattu and Jayawardene, learning how to bowl under pressure and to different fields.
He picked up 55 first-class wickets in 2005-06 but fell away in the next three seasons. However, he struck form again in 2008-09, taking 43 wickets and an injury to Murali before the Galle Test against Pakistan led to a national call-up, and made himself the Test side's second-choice spinner. Though a wonderful fielder and a handy lower order batsman, Randiv has not been able to nail down a place in the limited overs sides, perhaps other slow bowlers have been more committed to developing a wider variety of deliveries, which are more highly valued in the shorter formats. His position in the Test side has lately come under increasing pressure from a talented group of chasing spinners, led by Tharindu Kaushal.
Saadi Thawfeeq and ESPNcricinfo staff
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