Thisara Perera – a cricketer who failed to fulfill his extraordinary talents

Tuesday, 4 May 2021 00:21 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Announces retirement from international cricket

Thisara Perera celebrates his maiden ODI century against New Zealand in 2019

Perera as Captain of the champion Jaffna Stallions at the recently-held Lanka Premier League


Sri Lanka’s Thisara Perera announced his retirement from international cricket yesterday at the age of 32. The big-hitting all-rounder will be best remembered for his contribution towards his team winning the ICC T20 World Cup in Bangladesh in 2014 and for hitting the winning six in that final against India after being promoted up the batting order.

In a letter submitted to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Perera states: “I take pride in the fact that I was able to represent Sri Lanka in seven cricket world cups and be a contributing member of the 2014 T20 World Cup win against India in Bangladesh; Easily the highlight of my life.”

When Perera first burst into the international scene in 2009, he was looked upon as a player who could easily change the course of a match with either bat or ball (he bowled right-arm medium-pace). Such was his talent that he could easily have ended as one of greatest all-rounders the game had produced. Unfortunately for Perera, he could not fulfill those expectations and his contributions to the national team were few and far between and lacked the consistency his talent deserved. As a result, he failed to find a permanent place in the team in any of the three formats. That was a tragedy and it was a waste of such outstanding talent he possessed.

Perera’s reasons for calling it a day could also be attributed to the Sri Lanka team management wanting to blood youngsters in the white ball game for the upcoming tours to Bangladesh and England. He also had fitness issues and his over fondness to play in franchise cricket around the world sometimes at the expense of the national team are well documented.

Last year, Perera, fondly called ‘Panda’ by teammates for his bulky physique, led Jaffna Stallions to win the inaugural Lanka Premier League and in March this year he became the first Sri Lankan to hit six sixes in an over in any form of professional cricket against Bloomfield in a SLC Limited-Over Club Tournament as well as scoring the second fastest half-century in List A cricket – an unbeaten 52* off 13 balls whilst captaining Army SC.

Perera was also a crowd puller and although his figures don’t justify his talent, he had some memorable performances against his name – getting hat-tricks in both ODIs and T20Is, scoring 140 off 74 balls against New Zealand in 2019, the third highest score for a batsman batting at No. 7 in ODIs, in which match he also scored 13 sixes, the eighth highest sixes in an innings. He is one of the few cricketers to score 1000 runs (2338), take 50 wickets (175) and hold 50 catches (62) in ODIs, representing his country in 166 ODIs. He also has the tenth highest strike rate (112.08) in ODIs. In the shortest format (T20I), his knock of 57 off 37 balls against Bangladesh in 2018 is the eighth highest scored by a batsman in the no. 7 position and he has the ninth highest strike rate in T20Is – 151.63, scoring 1204 runs from 84 matches and taking 51 wickets. He also had a brief stint as captain leading Sri Lanka in three ODIs in 2017 and nine T20Is in 2017-18 and played in six Tests.   

Sri Lanka Cricket states: “Perera, in his ‘letter’ submitted to Sri Lanka Cricket, announcing his retirement, said that he feels the time is right for him to step aside and pave the way for younger and more talented players to take on the reigns. The former Sri Lanka ODI and T20I Captain also said that this is also the right time for him to follow on his personal goals and family life. Perera thanked the team captains he has served under during his international career, teammates, both past and present, the Executive Committees of Sri Lanka Cricket, Management, and the Staff of Sri Lanka Cricket, for the support they extended to him during his career.”

“Thisara was a brilliant all-rounder, who has contributed immensely as a player to Sri Lanka Cricket and played a part in some of the glorious cricketing moments of the country,’ said SLC CEO Ashley de Silva.  (ST)