The National Selectors yesterday appointed Dimuth Karunaratne as the ODI Captain of the Sri Lankan team and hence will lead the team during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Karunaratne’s appointment was ratified by the Minister of Telecommunications, Foreign Employment and Sports Honorable Harin Fernando.
Karunaratne wfirst who found himself in Sri Lanka’s Test squad for the tour of South Africa at the close of 2011, he did not make the playing XI in any of those encounters. He was however,a regular traveller until the much-awaited Test debut materialised in 2013 when he was given the nod to partner Tharanga Paranavitana, coming in for the injured Tillakaratne Dilshan, against New Zealand in Galle. Beset with nervousness, Karunaratne fell for a duck in his first Test innings. However, he pulled his socks up and made a fluent, run-a-ball 60 in the second essay as Sri Lanka surged to a thumping 10-wicket win.
Karunaratne’s maiden Test century came against New Zealand at the Hagley Oval on December 28, 2014, where he scored a gritty 152 off 363 balls in the second match. The 2015 World Cup that followed wasn’t a pleasant experience, where a hand fracture cut short a promising start. His focus majorly since then has been in Tests.
He stamped his authority at the top of the order ever since, first with a century against Pakistan and soon followed it up with a mammoth 186 against the touring West Indies. Despite a minor blip against Australia in Sri Lanka’s historic 3-0 sweep, where Karunaratne got five single-digit scores in six innings, with Mitchell Starc having turned him into his bunny, he came back hard against Zimbabwe, grabbing the Man of the Series.
He took his form into the UAE, Pakistan’s fortress. In Sri Lanka’s first ever Day-Night Test, he notched up his career-best score of 196, thus becoming the first Sri Lankan to get to the landmarks of 50, 100 and 150 in a D/N Test. He played a stellar role in routing Pakistan and breaching their long unbeaten series record in the Middle-East. It thus comes as no surprise that he ended 2017 as one of the highest run-getters in the year.