Though, he doesn’t capture the headline, like his other team mates, tharanga is quietly climbing towards greatness.
Some players don’t prefer to talk too much, even about their own achievements. Sri Lanka’s dashing left hander opener Upul tharanga is surely amongst them. So, during post match presentation in hambantotata, when Tony Greig asked tharanga, with all excitement, about his match winning 111, he just replied- actually, I played some good shots. That’s it!
Well, surely he doesn’t prefer to talk much. But his bat surely. His solid inning of 111 helped team to overcome from defeats. It was tharanga’s fourth century in 2011, with two in world cup. So, surely it has been a good year for him.
But, it isn’t about 2011 only. Statistics of his career shows, that slowly but surely, he is climbing towards the mountain of greatness. He has 12 centuries, more than 4000 runs in one day internationals, in his six year career. It shows that he is a consistent player throughout his career. If one looks towards players, with highest centuries in one day internationals for Sri Lanka, it’s clear that he is climbing the list very quickly. Great sanath jayasuriya has the record of most hundreds in one day internationals for sri lanka, with 28 centuries in 445 matches. Mahela is second with 14 and tharanga is third with 12 hundreds.
Comparison itself shows that tharanga is much faster than mahela and sanath, in terms of scoring hundreds quickly. He has 12 hundreds in 124 matches, so if he plays equal amount of cricket to sanath, 445 one day, he could make something around 40 hundreds. And, it would be a remarkable achievement in in any case, really. Great sanga and mahela hits 11 and 14 hundreds respectively in their career so far, in more than 300 one day each. So, one cant says on that basis, that they are not great. They are legend, no two opinions about it. While sanga comes at no. 3 and mahela is a middle order batsman, there should be no concern that they have fewer hundreds. But in the case of tharanga, as he is a opener, one can predict a career, with more than 30 hundreds, in any case.
But, in reality, it’s not all about scoring hundreds. Its about the consistency, tharanga has shown through out the career. His average of more than 35 five shows that he scores runs regularly. More importantly, he has the ability to play long innings. In a team, where flamboyant stroke players like sangakkara, mahela, dilshan grabs all headlines, tharanga silently produces much needed solidity in batting order. Though, he is himself a elegant stroke maker, but even than he has the rare ability to play according situations. And that’s where; he is one of the most important cogs in team.
Though, his career is still one dimension. He is a first choice opener in one day cricket, but he doesn’t play test matches and twenty-20. Selectors doesn’t rate him highly as a test or twent-20 batsman, it’s a fact, which stops him, being a complete batsman. Though, since last6 few months, he has been a prolific run machine for sri lanka, have scored 4 hundreds so far in the year. So, one can expect, that, after post world cup era, eventually he will cement his place in these two formats as well.
And one can expect, to come good even in these formats, from tharanga. After all he is a quality player, just 26 year old as well. And he shows the kind of maturity in recent years, which guarantees, that eventually he will retire as one of the Sri Lanakan great.