Island Cricket

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sri Lanka stalwart Atapattu quits | BBC

BBC SPORT Cricket Sri Lanka stalwart Atapattu quits: "Former Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu has announced his retirement from international cricket. The opener, 36, scored 5,502 runs in 90 Tests at an average of 39.02, including six double centuries and 16 hundreds. "

Atapattu returned to the Test team after almost two years out to hit fifties in both games in Australia.
Current skipper Mahela Jayawardene said: "Marvan made a strong comeback after not playing for some time. The work ethic he had was incredible."

A dour and dogged batsman, Atapattu overcame a poor start to his Test career in 1990 to become one of Sri Lanka's finest accumulators of runs.

He scored a total of one run in his first six innings and didn't go above 29 in his next 11 and finished with a world-record 22 Test ducks.

Atapattu hit his first Test century in his 10th match, seven years after his debut, and compiled his highest score of 249 against Zimbabwe in 2004.

Only three batsmen have scored more Test double centuries - England's Wally Hammond with seven, West Indies' Brian Lara (8) and Australia's Don Bradman (12).

He also amassed 8,529 runs in 268 one-day internationals but was a peripheral figure at this year's World Cup, and fell out with the Sri Lankan cricket board in the latter stages of his career.

Jayawardene replaced him as skipper in March 2006 when he suffered a back problem and he turned down recalls to the team for Tests against Bangladesh in June 2007 and the Australia tour.

The right-hander was drafted in after Sri Lanka's sports minister intervened but Atapattu then called the selectors "muppets headed by a joker" during the first Test in Brisbane.

Bandula Warnapura, Sri Lanka's first Test captain and Sri Lanka Cricket's director of operations, added: "As an international cricketer he had a poor start with so many ducks.

"But his determination was clearly visible in the way he fought back - there was a clear difference in Marvan once he started opening for Sri Lanka and since then he hasn't looked back.

"However I am disappointed that the send-off given to him wasn't in keeping with his status. I strongly believe that he was not well treated in the last year or so."

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