ICL: Indian Cricket League

Valuable wise head for skipper in the coming months


A vulnerable starter, Marvan Atapattu can show immense strength of character once he gets his eye in. On a lifeless pitch, he is a master of the percentage game, his caution a useful counterpoint to the risks taken by Sanath Jayasuriya, his opening partner almost throughout his Test career.

All his big Test innings — he has scored six double-hundreds in his career, a feat bettered only by Don Bradman (12), Wally Hammond and Brian Lara (seven each) — have been slow affairs but the most tortuous episode of his international career was its start: it took him nearly seven years to get established.

However, since the 1990s his average has climbed upwards. An elegant player to watch, Atapattu’s signature shot is his high-elbow cover-drive.

For three years he stood as Jayasuriya’s understudy before being appointed to lead the one-day side in April 2003. He had been expected to take charge of the Test team as well, but the selection committee appointed Hashan Tillakaratne for that job.

By early 2004 the team was drifting downwards under Tillakaratne and the selectors were finally compelled to appoint Atapattu as the Test captain. Within weeks he had halted the team’s slide and established himself as a strong leader.

His career was put on hold by a back injury early in 2006 which led to Mahela Jayawardene taking on the captaincy. He was in the World Cup team but didn’t get chosen for any matches. He isn’t the liveliest in the field any longer, but will be a valuable wise head for Jayawardene in the coming months.

Source:The News

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 30th, 2007 and is filed under Cricket, World Cup.

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