Sanath Jayasuriya, close on Sourav Ganguly's heels, has become the fourth batsman to amass 10,000 runs in one-day cricket. Had a dislocated shoulder not forced him out of the fourth match of the Indian Oil Cup when Ganguly (10,020 runs) scored his 10,000th run, we might have been witness to the unique event of two great contemporary batsmen reaching the 10,000 run milestone in the same match.
Jayasuriya, nicknamed the Matara Marauder for his ruthless hitting, may not bat with the elegance and class of a Sachin Tendulkar (13,642 runs) or an Inzamam-ul-Haq (10,933 runs), the other two batsmen to have achieved the milestone, but in terms of sheer effectiveness in one-day cricket, Jayasuriya has few peers.
After making his ODI debut in 1989, Jayasuriya's career seemed to be going nowhere for many years. He managed just 1669 runs in 87 innings at a measly average of 19.64 up to 1996. We were given a warning of what was to come in the Benson & Hedges World Series in Australia in 1995-96, when Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana changed the way the first 15 overs of an ODI are played with their frenzied hitting. Jayasuriya could not have chosen a more fitting stage than the World Cup in 1996 to announce his arrival. Adjudged Man of the Tournament, Jayasuriya put bowling attacks to the sword and raised the bar from 250 being a winning score to 280 being a defendable one. Since 1996 he has been rampant in his run-making with 8331 runs in 241 innings at 36.65. It was this accelerated scoring that gave added importance to the batsman's strike rate. Jayasuriya's is very impressive at 88.54.
An argument about one-day cricket's best batsmen may not include Jayasuriya. But not many will find reason to omit him from the list of one-day cricket's most valuable players. Leave aside that mammoth total of 10,000 runs. Jayasuriya also has a commendable haul of 267 ODI wickets. A ranking of fourth in the list ofhighest run-scorers in ODIs and 12th among highest wicket-takers, Jayasuriya, one would argue, is easily one the game's most valuable gems.
Allrounders with more than 3000 runs and at least 150 wickets
(Includes data up to Jayasuriya's 10,000th run)