As Sri Lanka prepares for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, the forceful comeback of the experienced Lahiru Thirimanne has raised new hope.
Thirimanne played his last ODI on December 13, 2017 against India at Mohali, and his return to the fold after over one year and four months from a form slump with glimpses of his former best is therefore significant. It is more the so in view of the fact that the 29-year old Cambrian and Ragama CC did figure in the last world cup in 2015. The high point of his performance in that tournament was the magnificent 139 he reeled off in steering Sri Lanka to a comprehensive 9 wicket triumph over England. In a high scoring game he figured in a mammoth 212-run unfinished alliance for the second wicket with Kumar Sangakkara who made 117 in a total of 312 for 1 to England’s 309 for 6. During the concluded Super Provincial One-Day Tournament Thirimanne struck a masterly match winning 115 in Galle emerging champions beating Colombo in the final. It was in the wake of an equally impressive half century. At a time Sri Lanka is striving to revive its one-day image Thirimanne’s comeback could be timely come the big show event with the new faith placed in him.
Thirimanne, who made his ODI debut in 2010 against India in Dhaka, rose to the stature of being highly regarded by local experts including Aravinda de Silva as a torchbearer after the retirements of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. He also starred in Sri Lanka becoming Asia Cup champions in 2014 slamming 101 in a total of 261 for 5 chasing down Pakistan’s 260 for 5 at Mirpur. He has proved to be a lynchpin in Sri Lanka’s ODI set up when at his best having figured in some scintillating partnerships with Angelo Mathews as well. He has an ODI record of 2946 runs from 97 innings in 117 matches averaging 34.65 with a strike rate of 71.33.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-