Arjuna Ranatunga

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Arjuna Ranatunga
Minister of Ports & Shipping
Assumed office
12 January 2015
President Maithripala Sirisena
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
Preceded by Mahinda Rajapaksa
Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for Kalutara
Assumed office
8 April 2010
Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for Colombo
In office
5 December 2001 – 8 April 2010
Deputy Minister of Tourism
In office
President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
Personal details
Born (1963-12-01) December 1, 1963 (age 51)
Gampaha, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka)
Nationality Sri Lankan
Political party Sri Lanka Freedom Party
(2001 - 2010, 2015 - Present)
Democratic National Alliance
(2010 - 2012)
(2012 - 2015)
Spouse(s) Samadara Ranatunga
Children Dhyan Ranatunga, Thiyangie Ranatunga
Alma mater Bandaranayake College, Gampaha & Ananda College Colombo
Occupation Politician, Cricketer
Religion Theravada Buddhism

Arjuna Ranatunga (Sinhala: අර්ජුන රණතුංග; born 1 December 1963) is a Sri Lankan politician, former international cricketer and cricket administrator. He served as the captain of the Sri Lankan cricket team for much of the 1990s, and the team won the 1996 Cricket World Cup under his leadership. He is appointed Minister of Ports (Jan 12, 2015) and MP of the Parliament of Sri Lanka from Kalutara District.

A specialist left-handed batsman and part-time medium pace bowler, Ranatunga's career with the Sri Lankan national team began in 1982, when Sri Lanka were relative newcomers to international cricket and did not perform well against the well-established teams. He became an important player in the middle order of Sri Lanka's batting. Under Ranatunga's captaincy, Sri Lanka began to play more aggressively in both ODI and Test cricket the mid-'90s. Their growing success rate culminated with a dominating performance and triumph in the 1996 Cricket World Cup. Although some of his actions caused some controversy, Ranatunga was praised for his leadership in raising a team long regarded as underdogs to the status of world champions.

Upon retirement from playing cricket, Ranatunga became influential in the administration of cricket in Sri Lanka and entered politics, joining the People's Alliance and winning election to the Sri Lankan parliament. He served a tenure as deputy minister for tourism, and later served as the president of Sri Lanka Cricket until December 2008.[1] He joined the Democratic National Alliance in 2010.

Early life[edit]

Ranatunga comes from Minuwangoda, a town twenty miles north of Colombo. He, along with his brothers, studied at Ananda College Colombo where his mother was a teacher. Arjuna's cricketing career started and was carefully nurtured at school. He played cricket for both the junior and senior teams Ananda College.

Cricket career[edit]

Arjuna Ranatunga
Personal information
Full name Arjuna Ranatunga
Born (1963-12-01) 1 December 1963 (age 51)
Gampaha, Dominion of Ceylon
Nickname Captain Cool
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Batting style Left-hand
Bowling style Right-arm medium
Role Batsman
Domestic team information
Years Team
1982–2001 Sinhalese Sports Club
Career statistics
Competition Tests ODI
Matches 93 269
Runs scored 5,103 7,456
Batting average 35.69 35.84
100s/50s 4/38 4/49
Top score 135* 131*
Balls bowled 2373 4710
Wickets 16 79
Bowling average 65.00 47.55
5 wickets in innings 0 0
10 wickets in match 0 n/a
Best bowling 2/17 4/14
Catches/stumpings 47/– 63/–
Source: [1]

First-class and Test debuts[edit]

A left-handed batsman and useful right arm medium pace bowler, Ranatunga made his first-class debut in 1981 at the age of eighteen and a year later played in Sri Lanka's inaugural Test match. In this match he became the first Sri Lankan to score a Test half century.


Ranatunga went on to captain Sri Lanka in 1988, taking control of the national team for the next 11 years, transforming it from a weak, routinely defeated team into a competitive and successful unit. He led the team to their greatest cricketing triumph, 1996 World Cup. His innovative captaincy took a Sri Lanka team, given little chance prior to the competition, for cricket's greatest prize. His strategies was commended by many cricketing greats and followed by other teams. He was the brain behind the strategy of scoring as many runs as possible in the first 15 overs of an ODI match in which there are field restrictions. This strategy was perfectly executed by Sanath Jayasuriya. This strategy was still followed by the batsmen in the Powerplays. He was widely recognised as a belligerent leader and was famous for defending his players at all costs regardless of what they did.[2]

1996 World Cup[edit]

The Sri Lankan national team were considered perpetual underdogs but this image changed completely during the 1996 Cricket World Cup, when Sri Lanka defeated tournament favourites Australia to win it under the captaincy of Ranatunga. This victory, for which Ranatunga was a pivotal part both as batsman and captain, started a new era of Sri Lankan competitiveness on the global stage; they had previously never passed the group stage of a world cup.


In June 2000, Ranatunga played in Sri Lanka's 100th Test match, becoming the only player to represent his country in their first and hundredth Test.[3]

Ranatunga lost the national team captaincy in 1999 after Sri Lanka's poor showing at the World Cup in England, although he was chosen as one of five Wisden Cricketers of the Year for that year. He retired from playing cricket in 2001.



Ranatunga's weight was also notable for being considered excessive for a professional athlete. It gave rise to an incident during a game played in humid conditions when he called for a runner, claiming that he had "sprained something"; opposition (Australian) wicket-keeper Ian Healy responded with an insulting comment, falling under what is categorized in cricket as a "sledge", which was picked up by the stump microphones and broadcast live on television. Ranatunga was known for controversially calling a runner during long innings due to his level of fitness. After the second final of the One Day triangular series in Australia in the 1995/6 season, when the incident with Healy occurred, Ranatunga instructed his players not to shake the Australian players' hands. During this match, Sanath Jayasuriya and Australian paceman Glenn McGrath were also involved in physical jostling; Jayasuriya accused McGrath of racially abusing him, a claim that the bowler denied.[4]

Defence of Muralitharan[edit]

Ranatunga is also remembered for his stand in a One Day International against England. Australian Umpire Ross Emerson called Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing. (Muralitharan was subsequently cleared by bio-mechanical experts hired by the ICC.[5]) Ranatunga exchanged heated words with umpire Emerson and led his team to a point just inside the boundary line, halting play and giving the impression that he was about to forfeit the match, until the Sri Lankan management conferred with him and play resumed. English captain, Alec Stewart, was openly critical of Ranatunga's behaviour. In a comment caught on the stump microphone he was heard to say to Ranatunga "Your conduct today has been appalling for a country's captain". The match was bad-tempered, with instances of shoulder-bumping.[6]

Wrangles with Warne[edit]

He is noted also for his repeated intense criticism of the Australian team, especially his long-standing rivalry with Shane Warne. During the 1996 World Cup, Ranatunga claimed that Warne was overrated, and during the final, Warne misexecuted a flipper, which turned into a full toss. Ranatunga pulled it over the boundary for the six and then stuck his tongue out at Warne. During the 1999 World Cup, Warne wrote a column calling Ranatunga a "disgrace". The Sri Lankan shot back by referring to his country's cultural heritage and then mocking Australia over convict settlement.

In 2005, Warne mocked Ranatunga's rotund figure, which had become more ample since his retirement, suggesting that he had swallowed a sheep.

There has always been between Warne and Ranatunga a grudging mutual admiration. When the former visited Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami to aid Muralitharan in his "great work"[7] there, he developed an amiable rapport with his long-time foe: "We even wagged," he confirmed later.[7] Not long after, however, Ranatunga was lambasting him in a scathing newspaper attack.

"You can't be mates with everyone," Warne wrote in his 2008 book Shane Warne's Century, serialised by The Times in September, "and if there was any way I could knock him down to number 101[8] for the purposes of this book, I'd be delighted to do so. But having taken on the task, I want to do it seriously, and the fact is that Ranatunga helped to put Sri Lanka on the cricket map. And you know what? Deep down, I'll quietly admit that I rated him as a cricketer."[7]

Career highlights[edit]


Test debut: vs England, Colombo, 1981–1982
Last Test: vs South Africa, Colombo, 2000–2001

  • Ranatunga's highest Test batting score of 135 not out was made against Pakistan, Colombo, 1985–1986
  • His best Test bowling effort of 2 for 17 came against New Zealand, Kandy, 1983–1984
  • Ranatunga's captaincy record was as follows: 56 matches, 12 wins, 19 losses, 25 draws.
One-day Internationals

ODI Debut: vs England, Colombo, 1981–1982
Last ODI: vs Kenya, Southampton, 1999 World Cup

  • His highest ODI batting score of 131 not out was made against India, Colombo, 1997
  • Ranatunga's best bowling figures of 4 for 14 came against India at Kanpur in 1986–1987
  • His captaincy record was as follows: 193 matches, 89 wins, 95 losses, 1 tie, 8 no result
  • Until New Zealand's Stephen Fleming overtook him in October 2006 at the ICC Champions Trophy, Ranatunga held the record for captaining the most ODI matches.

Career centuries[edit]

Test centuries

The following table illustrates a summary of the Test centuries scored by Arjuna Ranatunga

  • the column , * indicates being not out
  • The column title Match refers to the Match Number of the player's career
Test Centuries of Arjuna Ranatunga
Runs Match Against City/Country Venue Year
[1] 111 10  India Colombo, Sri Lanka Sinhalese Sports Club Ground 1985
[2] 135* 18  Pakistan Colombo, Sri Lanka P. Saravanamuttu Stadium 1986
[3] 127 34  Australia Colombo, Sri Lanka Sinhalese Sports Club Ground 1992
[4] 131 43  South Africa Moratuwa, Sri Lanka Tyronne Fernando Stadium 1993
One Day International centuries
ODI Centuries of Arjuna Ranatunga
Runs Match Against City/Country Venue Year
[1] 101* 153  Pakistan Durban, South Africa Kingsmead 1994
[2] 102* 166  Pakistan Gujranwala, Pakistan Municipal Stadium 1995
[3] 131* 215  India Colombo, Sri Lanka R. Premadasa Stadium 1997
[4] 102 240  New Zealand Colombo, Sri Lanka Sinhalese Sports Club Ground 1998

Political Career[edit]

He entered into politics by joining the PA led by Chandrika Kumaratunga. Later, he was the Deputy Minister of Tourism for Sri Lanka. In 2010, Ranatunga left PA and joined DNA endorsing[9] Presidential Candidate Sarath Fonseka.[10] After a rift with party leader Fonseka,[11] on September 2012, he resigned from the party.[12][13][14][15]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Ranatunga takes up Sri Lanka post". BBC News. 2 January 2008. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  2. ^ "Arjuna Ranatunga". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 22 Oct 2013. 
  3. ^ Shenton, p.9.
  4. ^ "World Cup final: A history of tension". The Australian. 27 April 2007. 
  5. ^ "ICC biomechanical expert says Murali was right". Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  6. ^ "The ugly face of cricket (24 January 1999)". Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  7. ^ a b c Warne 2008.
  8. ^ The book details Warne's selection of the 100 greatest players of his time. Ranatunga found himself at 93.
  9. ^ "Ceylon Today | 'SF, the only person who can rescue the country'". 25 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  10. ^ "Arjuna Ranatunga joins Gen Fonseka". Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  11. ^ "Arjuna, Tiran also to boycott SF rally?". 18 October 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  12. ^ "Ceylon Today | MP Ranatunga resigns from DP". 9 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  13. ^ "Tell Bandula – Glass Box". Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  14. ^ "Resignation not valid: SF | Breaking News". 11 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  15. ^ "Arjuna resigns from SF’s party". 9 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ranjan Madugalle
Sri Lankan Test and ODI Captain
Succeeded by
Sanath Jayasuriya