Jeevantha Kulatunga – a specialist in limited over skills

Born in the city of Kurunegala, Jeevantha made his first class debut for his home club Kurunegala YCC at a tender age of 17. The young right hand middle order batsman made 64 runs against Colts cc who ultimately secured his services as their all rounder for the premier league. His career so far has been a roller coaster ride, taking into consideration his immense talent and skill levels. The selectors realized his skills in limited over cricket, hence gave him the nod for the T20 Canada cup back in 2008. Jeevantha was able to represent his country only in two T20 internationals while some pundits openly stated that he deserved much more.

Prior to 2008, Jeevantha was selected to represent the Board Presidents X1 against the touring Englishman in 2001. The young right hander made a well compiled half century, however the selectors still felt that Jeevantha was not ready for national consideration.

The roller coaster forbear kept haunting this talented player who only appeared for Sri Lanka “A” team, that too occasionally. Kulatunga has been his club’s main stay in the middle order for over a decade. In the domestic season he has faced the best of Sri Lankan bowlers who have represented the country. The score book speaks volumes of his consistency in the middle order. Have the selectors missed a trick here asked a leading journalist at a press conference, when Sri Lanka’s limited over squad was announced for the recently concluded Asia cup in Bangladesh.

Jeevantha top the run chart for his club in 2008/2009 premier league season in which he aggregated 566 runs at an average of 43.53. Jeevantha recorded the fastest double hundred in the same season against Ragama CC. He made a flashy 200 in 163 deliveries in which he executed his wide variety of strokes to near perfection. Being an intermediate captain Jeevantha of his team he enjoyed the Champaign after being crowned as premier league champions.

In the provincial limited over T20 tournament he represented Wayamba who incidentally have won the championship three years on the trot. Jeevantha bats alongside World star Mahela Jayewardene for Wayamba in the T20 version. The duo opened the batting in the semi finals and the finals at the Moratuwa stadium. The pair was a treat to watch. In the first semi final, Mahela and Jeevantha put on 86 runs in 57 deliveries for the first wicket with Jeevantha scoring an unbeaten 48 in 37 balls. The right hander hit four scintillating boundaries and three towering sixes. In the finals the duo made 89 for the first wicket in just 46 balls. Jeevantha made a quick fire 26 with five glorious boundaries in 16 deliveries.

In the 50 over limited provincial league Jeevantha aggregated 256 runs in six innings. His best effort being, 132. His strike rate of 91.75 goes to prove that he is not the boring type out in the centre.

In the T20 Version his highest score of 104 in 58 deliveries is the fastest recorded in Sri Lanka. Jeevantha aggregated 277 in 6 matches at an average 69.25 and a super strike rate of 152.19

Jeevantha seems a player who loves challenges. He was adjudicated as man of the final in the 2008 T20 Provincial tournament with an extra effort being the highest scorer.

BT:- I have termed your illustrious career as a roller coaster ride. Fair statement?

JK:-  Yes I think so too. Roller coaster ride is always difficult to cope with. Records prove that I have blown hot, sometimes blown cold. Let me quickly add I’m not a loner here, hence take it as it come thank God for little mercies.

BT:- You have peaked in this season, have you done anything special  with regard to your batting skill levels ?

JK:- I suppose the English summer played a big part in my career. I played eight seasons in good old blighty. The seam movement you encounter on English condition will compel you to tighten ones technique, play closer to the body and play it late as possible to survive. I re adjusted my stance and balance which helped. I also took a cue from my club mate Chaminda Vass, who despite his age, paved the way and proved to the world, the importance of fitness, and extra work at the nets. I am grateful to so many of my coaches who saw me through.

BT:- Interesting, you seem to like the T20, just imagine you were adjudicated as the man of the tournament with all the super stars playing in the championship. Is it anything to do with your style of batting those suites this version?

JK:-  It’s basic cricketing knowledge. If you have a sound Technique and don’t over slog as an opener you are bound to score runs. Remember the power play gives an opportunity for the batsmen. All that you need to do is clear the 30 meter circle with legitimate cricketing strokes. I defend the good balls, put away the bad ones, and once I get the hang of the pitch, I use my third strategy improvise a bit on my stroke play and this more often than not helps me to get a few loose hits from a bowler who tries experimental deliveries. Simple I like to dominate the bowler, put pressure on him, and help him to make his own mistakes.

BT:- Smart thinking Jeevantha, I reckon the presence of Mahela, plus the opportunity of batting alongside this genius has changed your attitude.

JK- sorry mate no prizes on offer for your guess. You are spot on. His presence in the dressing room, his approach out in the middle is amazing. He keeps telling me not to be frighten of losing my wicket, go out their play the bowling to its merits, when you hit it make sure it stays it.

BT:- Did your experience in the champions league in India help min any way ?

JK;- Yes. It gave me an opportunity to face the big boys. The league is as competitive as any big game on a big stage. The crowds and the type of cricket that’s dished out in India is a life time experience. I’m glad I did well against some of the best bowlers in the business. Be it genuine quick’s, seam and spin I faced the package.

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  • Romesh Angunawela

    Canada Cup T20 stands ready to help this awesome cricketer and all the other talented Cricketers from my country.
    Jeevantha’s talents should not go waste!

  • sidath fernando

    why the sri lanka cricket official website publish this type of articles only one player.we know other than this player there are so many domestic up and coming players.this is an old article.remove this and put new articles

  • Pubudu

    “CONFLICTING VIEWS” from Sri Lanka cricket official website this article says “Jeewantha Kulatunga is a specialist in limited over skills” but he’s not even in the squad or in the standbys for Aussie Tour in October 2010, at least it should have been better if they do not publish this kind of articles without confusing the readers!!!

    • SLC Moderator


      Selections are not conducted by SLC. Selection Committee is a body coming directly under the Ministry of Sports. The interview was conducted by the Media unit of SLC.

      • upasantha

        interviwe is great also player is great but selecters are poor……. this man should be in the squad instead of kapuva or tharanga…..whole slc now become a jok.e…oneday specialist not in the squad….

      • Pubudu

        Hmm.. If that is the case it’s better to first consult the selection committee and get their approval for publishing where as selection committee will advice not to publish or at least change the CAPTION of the article if it’s not accordance to their vision. I feel there are no clear policies or proper coordination, as SLC should go forward as a professional unit with a clear policies regarding all aspects of Sri Lankan cricket.

  • akash

    i hope jeewantha kulatunga should be in the world cup squad…as an oppenner..also he can bat middle order…. wasim akram yesterday said..” if this player (kulatunga) plays like this it’s never too late to come international ” that’s the aspect of …others.. so aravinda jeewantha is the one of he subject to injusitce player due to asantha and sanga….. we saw how udawatte played yeasterday… he missed out only 2 and played not as an international crickter also tharanga inconsistent… so jeevantha kulatunga should be in the squad not only for t20 ….specially in 50 over format…


    Consider Jeewantha For The World Cup Squad… He can come at Number 3… Dilshan,Mahela,Jeewantha…Sanga,Matthews,Silva/Kapu,Perera,Herath,Kulasekara,Randiv,Malinga…

  • Rizna

    Now, Jeevantha Kulatunga the bowler. 4 Wickets in 25 overs , low E/R of 2.6 , 5 maidens, in yesterday (22/4/2010) Wayamba – Bas. North Inter Prov match.

    All these while Kulatunga had been sidelined in the bowling dept. Muba had no option but to give Kulatunga bowling in this match since he has run out of bowlers because regular bowlers like Wela, Ajantha are out at T20 WC. Decision to giving some overs for a player to bowl is in the captains hands. While Muba as the captain was bowling more overs than any player in all the matches putting the teams winning the matches at risk even when the regular bowlers are present in numbers, Kulatunga despite his good bowling abilities, was never considered for a fair bowling opportunity. One eg, is in 2009 Prov, T20 final, when the opening pair was hammering the regular bowlers , Kulatunga was given one over and he broke the partnership taking a catch from his own bowling and if the couple of catches were not dropped he would have gotten more wickets, but he was not given to bowl there after.
    However much you try to supress the talents, the real talent surfaces. You cannot go against the nature.
    Kulatunga is an undisputed alrounder.

  • yearny

    Jeewantha kulathunga, Thilina Thushara, Lokuhettigea, Mahroof, Vaasi all are unlucky till the politic select the team…
    i don’t know whet is the use of Kulasekara, Mendis and Randiv
    T20 need all rounders – Vaasi, Mahroof and thushara performing well in IPL
    and Jeewantha too well in form in local
    No luck for Sri Lanka –

    any way when we consider the Sri Lankan team
    Sanga and Mahela performing well when they opening the innings
    and they are in well form
    in IPL also, the opening betting is the key
    Kallis, Sachin, Vijey, Tiwary…etc
    more than that our opposition fast bowlers know well how to get Dilshan and Sana out quickly
    we have to ruin the expectations of oppositions
    so Sanga and Mahela should open the innings
    while Dilli and Sana can strong up the middle order
    Methews performing well when he come to pitch between over number 8 to 14
    so he is good in 2 down position – Ganguly use him well at 2 down
    so the order should be like this

    Kumar Sangakara
    Mahela Jayawardana
    Tillakaratne Dilshan
    Angeloa Methews
    Dinesh Chandimal
    Chamara Kapugedara
    Chinthaka Jayasinghe
    Sanath Jayasuriya
    Thissara Perera
    Muttiah Muralitharan
    Lasith Malinga

    No need Suraj or mendis – no need to panic regarding the bowling
    Malinga, Methews and Murali enough
    while others (Dilli, Sana, Jayasinghe and perera) support part time

    for more thoughts visit the below link Facebook – page

  • Issa

    I was a big fan of Sanath.but now he’s too old,and also he’s not in good form for years.I think its time to give a fair chance to a player like Jeewantha.A player who is in good form…………..good luck Jeewantha.

  • OM

    Is Jeewantha playing for the T20 world cup???????????????????
    I know him alot Because his wife(Upeka Kulatunga) Was my last year science teacher.Anyway ALL THE VERY BEST Jeewantha Kulatunga.

  • Vimukthi

    My 15 to World T20 in WIndies
    1. Sangakkara
    2. Mahela
    3. Mendis
    4. Tharanga
    5. Jeewantha Kulathunga
    6. Jayasuriya
    7. Dilshan
    8. Kapugedara
    9. Murali
    12.Thisara Perera
    13.Angelo Mathews
    14.Chinthaka Jayasinghe

  • Faraas


  • priya

    I think jeewantha’s soft demeanor belies the way he really bats. May be that is the selectors problem. How can these guys overlook such a wonderful elegant batsman for so long? I think as far as T20 is concerned He is even better than sanga or mahela. T20 selections need a different mindset.I think 75% of a T20 team should be selected on current form , the game is too fast for even an ” out of form tendulkar ” ( compare his IPL performances in 2009 and 2010 )would not score unless his current form is good .
    on that basis I really regret if jeewantha ( ‘too old’ ?!!)and dinesh chandimal( too young ?!!! ) won’t make the trip to the Caribbeans.

  • norman de vaas

    i think he deserve to be in international side before he get old.

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  • Muheed Jeeran

    I was playing with Jeevantha long time ago in Colts Cricket Club and I thought, one day he will represent Sri Lanka in any form of Cricket, specially one day international. I left Sri Lanka in 2001 to UK and returned recently. Unfortunately he is still struggling to get a place.

    IPL is getting very popular now and it is time for Jeevantha to move on to that area.

    I am political campaign strategist for UK Conservative party. I may be able to help him to get a place in the IPL by using my expertise knowledge.

    Jeeva, send me an email if you need any assistance.

  • Sisira Karunaratne

    I believe it is about time that Jeevantha should be a fair oppurtunity to represent his country at least at the limited overs and T20 levels. There are no excuses for not doing so considering the several chances given to some.

  • Chandana Rathnayake

    Yes. Mubarak was given to many opportunities yet he could not prove any thing. Even in domestic cricket I feel he hasn’t done any thing to go beyond club levels not to talk Sri Lanaka A! He has very limited array of shots that makes easier even for average club bowlers.

    In the case of Sanath, He was able to struck double centuries at the early stages. So no matter where you come from the selectors can not avoid you.

    So Jeewantha please hit 2 double centuries you find that you will even be called to the test side. Good luck.

  • shiral perera

    well done jeevantha you really deserved a place in sri lanka national team for T20 world cup.You have already showed that to the world.His first trip with the national team to canada gave him lot of confidence.canadian sri lankan supporters were shocked when SLC board not select you for the T20 world cup squad.And you deserved to be there.I wish you all the best and good luck.

  • http://Cricinfo Sudantha Vidanage

    May be he does not fit the mode of a cricketer from Colombo schools, I thought this mind set went away sometime ago. I feel if Mubarak can be given so many opportunities, Jeevan should have been considered long time ago. I hope the same will not happen to Dinesh Chandimal.Is it a birth right to represent Sri Lanka only if you come from the so called Elite schools. I remember in the late sixties, the famous cricketing brothers were given so much publicity since their uncle was the editor of a news paper, it was pure mental warfare as the opponents were mnetally demoralised before the game started. Also the father of the cricketing brothers used state resources to build an indoor wicket for the sons to practice, adding insult to injury the father got his subordinates to go and bowl at the indoor nets on company time. After having lived in the US for more than 35 years I see that the parents social status does not come into play for seletion into any team. Sri Lanka needs to grow up and give credit when it is due. I can go on forever, however please note that Duleep Mendis owes a lot to Late Mr. P.M. Jatilleke for his rise to fame. In 1968, the cricket masters from so called elite schools refused to play him in the Colombo South under 18 team, and PM insisted that Duleep should be picked and the rest is history. I palyed first eleven cricket from 1966 to 1970, while playing for the school I did play in the Donovan Andree cricket tournamentduring the Third term. In 1970 when playing for the Colombo South under 20 team in the final against Colombo North, I was not given to bowl until our side lost the match. I did learn to bowl off spinners by bowling to top cricketres like the De Silva brothers and Stanley Jayasinghe. I was treated very badly, I did not play cricket to obtain a job, thanks to my family I have an Ivy League education and can claim to have attended the schools of the president of my adopted country and the country I was born.