Rangana Herath retires from limited overs cricket: Sri Lanka’s premier left arm spinner Rangana Herath has called it a day in T20Is and ODIs in a bid to concentrate more on the longest format of the game. The 38 year old veteran from Kurunegala had conveyed his decision to Sri Lanka Cricket last week following which Lankan cricket’s governing body approved the decision.
Herath, who has been nursing injuries in both knees since the latter part of 2014 was compelled to pull out of several of Sri Lanka’s limited-overs fixtures in the last couple of years. As per the FTP, Sri Lanka is scheduled to play quite a few Test matches in 2016 and according to Herath, his decision to depart from the limited-overs set up will open up doors for many youngsters.
‘’In the next eight months or so, we are scheduled to play something like twelve Test matches. I think retiring from the shorter formats is the right move, because that will allow young players to be groomed for the next World Cup, as well as lowering my workload and letting me focus on Tests’’, Herath told the Press on Sunday.
With 74 wickets from 71 ODIs, Herath stands 20th in the list of highest wicket takers for Sri Lanka in ODIs. In an ODI career spanning 12 years, he captured those 74 wickets at an average of 31.91 and an economy rate of 4.37 with his best performance being a four wicket haul (4/20) which he claimed against India in 2013.
The left arm spinner’s services were primarily availed of by Sri Lanka Cricket in major ODI tournaments. He represented Sri Lanka in one World Cup (in 2011; was withdrawn from the Sri Lankan squad originally named for the 2015 World Cup) and in one edition of the Champions Trophy (in 2013).
He made a greater impact in T20 internationals. Instrumental in guiding Sri Lanka to its maiden World T20 triumph in Bangladesh 2 years ago, Herath returned with extra ordinary figures of 5/3 in Sri Lanka’s Group A fixture against New Zealand; a game which was deemed a virtual Quarter-Final. Even in the 2012 edition of the ICC World T20, he finished with figures of 3/25 in the Semi-Final against Pakistan at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. In 18 T20Is overall, he has 17 wickets to his credit at an average of 20.72 and an economy rate of 6.13.
Reflecting on his glorious performances in the shorter format Herath said, ‘’In T20, the two spells I remember fondly are my 5 for 3 agasint New Zealand, and the 3 for 20 odd against Pakistan at Khettarama’’. He further added, ‘’I haven’t taken any five-wicket haul in ODIs but I bowled well in the tri-series against India in the West Indies in 2013. I took 4/20 in the final, which we went on to lose. I also have good memories of the 2011 World Cup Semi-Final against New Zealand.’’
Later in the day, a press release from Sri Lanka Cricket congratulated Herath on his delightful career. ‘’Sri Lanka Cricket wishes Mr. Herath nothing but the best as he continues to play cricket in his chosen discipline and in all future endeavours’’, it said.
The likes of Jeffrey Vandersay, Tharindu Kaushal and Sachithra Senanayake will vie for the void left by Herath in the Lankan limited overs team. On the flipside, Herath will focus on the three-match Test series against England which gets underway in May.
With plenty of time in hand to prepare a new crop of spinners who can take on the mantle of the side in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in England, the kingpins of Sri Lankan Cricket need to lay emphasis on maintaining the rich supply line of quality spinners who could go on to engrave their names in the phylum of the Muralis and the Heraths in the near future..