The Indian Premier League is one of the most star-studded cricketing tournaments in the world. Other than the higher frequency of the close encounters that it produces, the tourney also gives a platform to innumerable no. of young players in order to showcase their skills.
However, due to the absence of Pakistan cricketers in the tournament because of political reasons, it is believed that the league hasn’t had the opportunity of getting graced by the legendary cricketers of our neighbouring nations. Nevertheless, in the following slides, we’ll try to bust some myths and name 5 Sri Lankan cricketers who have had a successful IPL career.
Not taking Lasith Malinga’s name, every time we talk about the greats who have played in the Indian Premier League, would be the unfairness of the highest pedigree. Being a stalwart of the Mumbai Indians, the ace pacer has struck 170 dismissals in a total of 122 games, making himself the highest wicket-taker in the history of the league. The 37-year-old averages around 19 with the ball & also had a fifer to his name. Malinga, who is arguably also the finest death bowler of all time, had been a part of MI since 2009 and continued his stint till 2017. He rejoined the side in 2019 and is currently serving the franchise as its bowling coach.
Fans who have been following the Indian Premier League since its inception are very well of Jayasuriya’s greatness. The explosive opener was signed by the Mumbai Indians in the first season of the league and he made sure that the team doesn’t regret it. He hit a scintillating hundred consisting of 114 runs against MI’s arch-rivals Chennai Super Kings. The veteran also helped his team chase down the target set by the Kolkata Knight Riders in just 6 overs, which is also a world record. This successful campaign ensured his place in Cricinfo’s IPL XI of the year 2008 & also helped him in making a comeback in the Lankan side.
More than his runs, the IPL fanatics remember Thisara for the no. of franchises he has played for. He has hitherto been a part of a total of 6 IPL teams which is the second-highest after Aaron Finch (7). However, the handy all-rounder’s breakthrough season came while playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013, wherein, he scored 233 runs and struck a whopping amount of 19 wickets in a total of 16 games. Overall, Perera has taken 422 runs at a decent Strike Rate of 137.46 and has dismissed a total of 31 batters.
Mahela started off his career at the Kings XI Punjab & went on to play 3 consecutive seasons for them. Despite having fine outings with the franchise, he was released in 2010. The Kochi Tuskers Kerala soon picked him in the mini auctions of 2011, however, they too released him in the very next season. The Delhi Daredevils (now, Capitals) then bought him in the next seasons but the stint’s dissolution marked the end of the veteran’s IPL career. He has played a total of 80 IPL games and scored 1802 runs, including a ton. Nonetheless, Jayawardene is now the coach of the Mumbai Indians and has tasted quite a lot of success in that role too.
Sangakkara was among the poster boys of the first season of the Indian Premier League. The Kings XI Punjab bought Sanga for a hefty amount of US$700,000 in the first season. Even though he scored more than 1000 runs for the Men In Red in the next 3 seasons, he was eventually released. In 2011, the aesthetically pleasing batsman bagged another decent amount of US$300,000 as he was bought by the Deccan Chargers. He loyally served the team in the two seasons & also went on to lead their successors Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013. The wicket-keeper batsman has scored a total of 1678 runs at an average of 25.95, including 10 half-centuries.