Arjuna Ranatunga

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The Honourable Deshamanya
Arjuna Ranatunga
අර්ජුන රණතුංග

Minister of Ports & Shipping
In office
12 January 2015 – 22 May 2017
President Maithripala Sirisena
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
Preceded by Mahinda Rajapaksa
Succeeded by Mahinda Samarasinghe
Deputy Minister of Tourism
In office
President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for Gampaha District
Assumed office
Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for Kalutara District
In office
Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for Colombo District
In office
President of Sri Lanka Cricket
In office
Personal details
Born (1963-12-01) December 1, 1963 (age 53)
Gampaha, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka)
Nationality Sri Lankan
Political party Democratic National Movement[1][2]
(2015– present)
Sri Lanka Freedom Party
(2001 - 2010, 2015)
Democratic National Alliance
(2010 - 2015)
Other political
United National Front for Good Governance
(2015– present)
United People's Freedom Alliance
People's Alliance
Spouse(s) Samadara Ranatunga
Children Dhyan, Thiyangie
Alma mater Bandaranayake College, Gampaha & Ananda College Colombo
Occupation Politician, Cricketer

Deshamanya Arjuna Ranatunga (Sinhalese: අර්ජුන රණතුංග; born 1 December 1963) is a Sri Lankan politician, former international cricketer and cricket administrator. He captained the Sri Lankan cricket team in the 1990s, and lead them in the 1996 Cricket World Cup victory.

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 was a key player in the team. Under Ranatunga's captaincy, Sri Lanka started to improve rapidly. Their growing success rate culminated with a dominating performance and triumphed in the 1996 Cricket World Cup. Although some of his actions caused some controversy and the selfishness thinking, 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 he entered politics, joining the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and entered parliament, from Colombo District, in the 2001 elections. He served a tenure as deputy minister for tourism, and also served as the president of Sri Lanka Cricket until December 2008.[3] He joined the Democratic National Alliance in 2010 and contested the 2010 elections. In 2015 General elections he contested with the United National Front for Good Governance and placed 2nd in Gampaha District, and was appointed Minister of Ports and Shipping.

He was awarded the title Deshamanya by the Sri Lankan Government in 1996 after he led the Sri Lanka to victory in the World Cup.

Early life[edit]

Ranatunga , a town twenty miles north of Colombo. His father Reggie Ranatunga, was a politician. He, along with his brothers, studied at Ananda College Colombo where his mother was a teacher and where he started playing cricket. He represented his school in both junior and senior teams. He has five brothers, Dammika Ranatunga, Nishantha Ranatunga, Prasanna Ranatunga, Sanjeeva Ranatunga and Ruwan Ranatunga; where himself, Nishantha, Sanjeeva, and Dhammika all played for Sri Lanka national cricket team in different times, Prasanna, Ruwan and himself moved to politics.

Cricket career[edit]

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.[4]

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.


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.

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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]) 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.[8]

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"[9] there, he developed an amiable rapport with his long-time foe: "We even wagged," he confirmed later.[9] 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[10] 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."[9]

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
  • He has the record for the most number of runs scored by any batsman in ODI history at number 5 position(4675 runs) and also the first to score over 4500 ODI runs when batting at no 5 position.[11]
  • 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 Sri Lanka Freedom Party led by Chandrika Kumaratunga, and contested the 2001 parliamentary elections with PA from Colombo District. After the UPFA victory in 2004, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Promotion.[12] In 2010, Ranatunga left the UPFA and joined the Democratic Party of the DNA led by Sarath Fonseka, and was made the deputy leader of the Democratic Party.[13][14][15] On November 2012, he resigned from the Democratic Party, but continued his affiliation with DNA.[16][17][18][19] He endorsed Maithripala Sirisena in the 2015 Presidential election, and after Sirisena's victory Ranatunga was appointed Minister of Highways, Ports & Shipping.[20][21]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Edirisinghe, Dasun (21 January 2016), "DNM demands vacant UNP seat", The Island (Sri Lanka), retrieved 16 March 2016 
  2. ^ Gooneratne, Lankesh (2 February 2016), "Ekanayake scotches rumours", Ceylon Today, retrieved 16 March 2016 
  3. ^ "Ranatunga takes up Sri Lanka post". BBC News. 2 January 2008. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  4. ^ "Arjuna Ranatunga". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 22 Oct 2013. 
  5. ^ Shenton, p.9.
  6. ^ "World Cup final: A history of tension". The Australian. 27 April 2007. 
  7. ^ "ICC biomechanical expert says Murali was right". Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  8. ^ "The ugly face of cricket (24 January 1999)". Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  9. ^ a b c Warne 2008.
  10. ^ The book details Warne's selection of the 100 greatest players of his time. Ranatunga found himself at 93.
  11. ^ "HowSTAT! ODI Cricket - Most Runs for Each Batting Position". Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  12. ^ "PART I : SECTION (I) — GENERAL Appointments & c., by the President" (PDF). The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Extraordinary. 1339/09. 7 May 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "Ceylon Today | 'SF, the only person who can rescue the country'". 25 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  14. ^ "Arjuna Ranatunga joins Gen Fonseka". Retrieved 2012-11-16. [permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Arjuna, Tiran also to boycott SF rally?". 18 October 2012. Archived from the original on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  16. ^ "Ceylon Today | MP Ranatunga resigns from DP". 9 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  17. ^ "Tell Bandula – Glass Box". Archived from the original on 16 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  18. ^ "Resignation not valid: SF | Breaking News". 11 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  19. ^ "Arjuna resigns from SF’s party". 9 November 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-16. 
  20. ^ "I will contest as the Common Candidate - Maithripala Sirisena". Ada Derana. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  21. ^ "PART I : SECTION (I) — GENERAL Appointments & c., by the President" (PDF). The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Extraordinary. 1897/16. 18 January 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 January 2015. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ranjan Madugalle
Sri Lankan Test and ODI Captain
1988 -1999
Succeeded by
Sanath Jayasuriya