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20 March 2012

From minnows to Winners

In 1988, when Arjuna Ranatunga took over the captaincy of a soft hopeless Sri Lankan cricket team, he had a task ahead. The team was never fearful, but were rated as under dogs. Eight years later in 1996 His team went on to complete a victorious world cup campaign against all the odds beating Australia in the final. The win was not completely due to his leadership skills but there were incidents that are still discussed in the modern game.
Sri Lanka was a side known to get bullied easily on the ground. Ranatunga prepared his team mates to go word to word with those sledgers. Australians were surprised by this body language of the Sri Lankans and the Indians were intimidated. Tactics were invented during his era. The rest of the world was stunned when the tactic of pinch hitting was implemented. Pinch hitting tactic was considered stupid by many pundits during the time. But Ranatunga believed in his players and stunned the teams around the world scoring tons of runs. He inspired the team to be as tuff as it gets. He dropped his own brother from the playing 11 and picked players who went on to become legends thereafter. When youngster Muttiah Muralitharan was accused for throwing the ball (an illegal bowling action) by the Australian umpire Daryl hair, he had an argument with the umpire and almost forfeited the match. After a long delay, match referee came on to the field and settled the matter. After the incident ICC cleared Murali’s action. The youngster went on to become the world’s greatest bowler of all time beating all the records. If it wasn’t for Ranatunga on that day, Cricket would have lost this player. Ranatunga is a role model that is praised by the cricketing world even after 12 years of his retirement.


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