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Kulasekara Mudiyanselage Dinesh Nuwan Kulasekara (Sinhala: නුවන් කුලසේකර; born 22 July 1982) is a former Sri Lankan cricketer, who played for the Sri Lanka national cricket team in all three formats of the game. Regarded as one of the best swing bowlers in the world cricket, Kulasekara is a useful and effective medium pace bowler, who can swing the ball in both ways in first few overs, and also can bat in late overs.[1] He once ranked number one in the ODI bowlers rankings on 11th March, 2009 and remained in that position till 26th September 2009, becoming only Sri Lankan to achieve the feat.[2] He was educated at the Bandaranayake College, Gampaha.

Nuwan Kulasekara
නුවන් කුලසේකර
Nuwan Kulasekara.jpg
Personal information
Full nameKulasekara Mudiyanselage Dinesh Nuwan Kulasekara
Born (1982-07-22) 22 July 1982 (age 37)
Nittambuwa, Sri Lanka
BattingRight-handed
BowlingRight arm fast-medium
RoleAll-rounder
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 100)4 April 2005 v New Zealand
Last Test16 March 2013 v Bangladesh
ODI debut (cap 118)18 November 2003 v England
Last ODI10 July 2017 v Zimbabwe
T20I debut11 October 2008 v Pakistan
Last T20I6 April 2017 v Bangladesh
Domestic team information
YearsTeam
2002–2004Galle Cricket Club
2004–2011Colts Cricket Club
2011–2012Chennai Super Kings
2015-2016Comilla Victorians
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI T20I
Matches 21 184 58
Runs scored 391 1,327 215
Batting average 15.54 15.43 10.23
100s/50s 0/1 0/4 0/0
Top score 64 73 31
Balls bowled 3,567 8,263 1,231
Wickets 48 199 66
Bowling average 37.37 33.92 23.18
5 wickets in innings 0 1 0
10 wickets in match 0 0 0
Best bowling 4/21 5/22 4/31
Catches/stumpings 8/– 46/– 17/–
Source: Cricinfo, 24 July 2019

In June 2016, he retired from Test cricket, due to major concern to play limited over cricket.[3] In July 2019, he announced his retirement from all international cricket.[4] The third ODI between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on 31 July 2019 was dedicated to Kulasekara and there was a felicitation ceremony at the end of the match to honour his cricketing service to Sri Lanka for 15 years.[5][6][7]

Contents

International careerEdit

Debut yearsEdit

Kulasekara made his One Day International debut against England at Dambulla on 18 November 2003. He took 2–19 as England were bowled out for 88, and Sri Lanka took less than 14 overs to win by 10 wickets.[8] He made his Test cricket debut against New Zealand at Napier on 4 April 2005 as the 100th test cap for Sri Lanka. In the match he took only one wicket, and scored a duck, as the match was drawn.[9] He made Twenty20 International debut on 11 October 2008 against Pakistan. He went for 36 runs in 3.5 overs, where Pakistan won the match by 3 wickets.[10]

BreakthroughEdit

In 2008, he took 4 for 40 against India in a pitch where there wasn't a lot of movement for the seamers. All four came in a decisive first spell, either side of a rain delay, with the new ball.[11] During Bangladesh tri-series, he continued the best form where he involved for top-order collapses of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.[12] On January 25, 2009, he climbed to No.2 in the ICC rankings for ODI bowlers.[13] In that period, Kulasekara has taken 45 wickets at an average of 20.97, which included five wickets in the last two ODIs of the series against Pakistan.[14]

He gained attention to international scene in 2008, when propelled him to the top spot in the ICC ODI rankings for bowlers with 724 points.[15] In that period, he has taken 47 wickets at 20.97 in 29 matches, with a strike-rate of 28.00 and an economy rate of 4.45.[16] He ranked number one in ODI bowlers from 11th March 2009 and remained in that position till 26th September 2009. The retirement of Chaminda Vaas and the inconsistency of Lasith Malinga proved to be a boon for Kulasekara, as he leapfrogged them, to emerge as the strike bowler of the Lankan side. His spell of 4 for 41 at Colombo was nominated to be one of the ODI Bowling Performance of the year by ESPNCricinfo.[17]

During Pakistan series at home in 2009, Kulasekara became the highest wicket taker in 3-match test series. He won the man of the match award for his bowling performance in second Test.[18] Sri Lanka won the series 2-0 and Kulasekara won the player of the series award.[19][20] He took 17 wickets at an average of 15.05 and economy of 2.67.[21] His 4 for 37 is his third four-wicket haul in his last two Tests.[22]

Kulasekara was included into the World ODI team in the year 2009 captained by MS Dhoni which was announced during ICC awards 2009.[23] On 23 May 2010 against New Zealand, he ripped through New Zealand's batting with three wickets in his first over and ended with 3 for 4 runs. Sri Lanka finally won the match by 7 wickets and Kulasekara won the man of the match award.[24] Due to his performances, he was called into the test squad for the West Indies series in 2010.[25]

Ups and DownsEdit

Kulasekara and Malinga spearheaded the Sri Lankan team since their debut in 2003 and 2004, where they combined to perform in match winning bowling spells. During Twenty20 international against England in Bristol, Malinga and Kulasekara delivered match winning combined figures of 3 wickets for 30 runs in 7 overs. Sri Lanka finally won the match by 9 wickets.[26]

He did not played any form of cricket since October 2012 due to injuries. But he returned domestic arena and played in the semi-final of the fifty-over domestic tournament. He made an impressive return with 2 for 37 in seven overs for Colts Cricket Club against Nondescripts. With that, Kulasekara was recalled into the Test and ODI series against South Africa.[27][28] He did not played in test series, but played all five ODIs against South Africa, without a large impression. He took only 2 wickets in the series at an average of 107.00.[29]

After impressive CB series in Australia, Kulasekara was recalled into test squad for the Pakistan series in 2012.[30] Kulasekara was the highest wicket taker in 2 match T20I series against Pakistan, where he took 4 wickets at an average of 6.50.[31] However, the series was drawn 1-1. Kulasekara along with Malinga took 7 wickets a piece during ODI series of Pakistan tour where Sri Lanka won the series by 3-0.[32]

In July 2012, Kulasekara was ruled out of the five-ODI series against India, after injuring his groin during the first match. He injured while attempting a catch to dismiss Virender Sehwag in the eleventh over.[33] On October 25, 2012, Kulasekara was named as the vice captain of Sri Lanka's T20I squad for the tour against New Zealand.[34]

On 18 January 2013, Kulasekara picked up his first and only five-wicket haul with a fearsome spell of inswing bowling in 3rd ODI against Australia at Brisbane. It was recorded as his best bowling figures 5/22 in ODI career. Australia dismantled to 74 all out and Sri Lanka won by 4 wickets.[35] His spell was nominated to be one of the best ODI bowling performance of the year 2013 by ESPNCricinfo.[36]

Injuries and formEdit

On 4 March 2012, he scored a thrilling score of 74 against Australia for a close defeat in first final of CB Series.[37] In that series, Kulasekara was the second highest wicket taker for Sri Lanka with 12 wickets, only behind Malinga's tally of 18 wickets.[38]

On 13 June 2013 against England in 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, Kulasekara helped skipper Kumar Sangakkara to score his century and guided Sri Lanka to the victory. Sangakkara along with Kulasekara added unbeaten 110 runs for the fourth wicket. Kulasekara was prompted to No. 5 to have a swing in the Powerplay where he launched Graeme Swann's offspin for two successive leg-side sixes, and continued to thrash his way to an unbeaten 58 from 38 balls. Shortly after Sangakkara scored his hundred, he fell over in mid-pitch when running. By recognizing the danger of being run out at wicket keepers end, Kulasekara ran alongside him to ensure that he would be run out and secure Sangakkara.[39] After the Champions Trophy, Sri Lanka went West Indies to play for triangular series involving West India and India. During the match against West Indies, Kulasekara dislocated the ring finger of his left hand and out for seven to ten days.[40]

After three week of resting, Kulasekara was called up for the T20I series against South Africa in 2013.[41] However, Sri Lanka lost the T20I series 2-1. During ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE, Kulasekara sustained a hamstring tear at the end of the ODI series and omitted from the Test series.[42] After recovery he was included to the Bangladesh series in Bangladesh. But injuries are appeared to be not recovered well, where he was ruled out of the rest of the Bangladesh tour and the 2014 Asia Cup with a groin injury. During first ODI against Bangladesh, he bowled six overs for 38 runs where he sustained the injury.[43]

Magnificent 2014Edit

Kulasekara played in the ODI series against England in 2014, where Sri Lanka won the series 3-2. In the second ODI, Kulasekara along with Sachithra Senanayake bowled out England for 99 runs. This was their heaviest ODI defeat on home soil. Kulasekara took 3 for 15 runs and Sri Lanka finally won the match by 157 runs.[44]

During 2014 ICC World Twenty20 against Netherlands, Kulasekara reached to an unbelievable record with the most economical spell in a T20I by any bowler as well as in a T20 world cup match (0.00). He became the only bowler to record an economy of 0.00 in a T20I as well as in T20 world cup match. But he managed to bowl only two overs without conceding even a single run where the Netherlands were bowled out for just 43, the lowest T20I total.[45][46][47]

Kulasekara holds the world record for bowling the most number of maiden overs in his career in T20I history(6) and the only bowler to have bowled more than 5 maiden overs in his T20I career.[48] He was named in the T20I XI of the year 2014 by Cricbuzz for impressive performance in limited over arena in 2014.[49]

In 2014, Kulasekara formed a formidable bowling partnership with Malinga and duo helped Sri Lanka to win 2014 ICC World Twenty20 by bowling difficult four overs at the death against strong Indian batting line up. During 2014 season, Sri Lanka won 20 ODIs out of 32 matches with 62.50% of winning percentage, where the bowling was dominated by Malinga and Kulasekara.

Late careerEdit

In 2014, Sri Lanka went India for the ODI series. The series considered as a black mark in Sri Lanka cricketing history, where they suffered a 5-0 whitewash from India, the first such instance in Sri Lanka cricket history. In the series, Rohit Sharma scored the highest individual score in ODIs with 264 against Sri Lanka, where Kulasekara took 1 for 89 off nine overs in the match. With that poor performance, he missed the England series as well. However on 30 December 2014, he was recalled into the ODI squad for the series against New Zealand at home.[50] In 2015, Kulasekara won the award for Best T20 bowler of the year in Sri Lanka Cricket awards 2015.[51] Kulasekara was overlooked for the July series against Pakistan in 2015, after he had had a modest World Cup campaign. He was recalled into the ODI squad for the series against West Indies.[52]

On 18 December 2015, Kulasekara replaced the injured Dhammika Prasad in Sri Lanka's ODI squad against New Zealand.[53] Sri Lanka only won one match in the whole series and lost all three formats. However, in the first ODI, Kulasekara scored his fourth ODI fifty. He along with Milinda Siriwardana formed the biggest partnership of the innings with 98 runs. He was dismissed for 58 runs and Sri Lanka only scored 188 at the end. New Zealand comprehensively won the match by 7 wickets.[54] He played in 2016 Asia Cup and then 2016 ICC World Twenty20 in India,[55] During 2016 Asia Cup, Sri Lanka had a poor performance where they only won against UAE. Sri Lanka only won against Afghanistan and lost all other matches.

On 5 November 2016, he was recalled for the tri-series with Zimbabwe and West Indies.[56] He picked up two wickets against West Indies to go with his two in the first match against Zimbabwe as well.[57] Sri Lanka won the series by defeating Zimbabwe in the final and Kulasekara took one wicket in the final. He was the third highest wicket taker in the series with 8 wickets at an average of 22.50.[58] During Bangladesh tour of Sri Lanka in 2017, Kulasekara helped Sri Lanka to break ODI drought by taking 4 wickets for 37 runs. Sri Lanka won the third ODI match by 70 runs.[59]

"I was going to announce my retirement straight after the World Cup but Lasith Malinga made a special request during the world cup to play alongside me in his final game. As such, I wanted to see if there was any way to make that happen. That's why my retirement announcement was delayed. It was because of Lasith's request that I also made a request to SLC, to see if there was a possibility of being selected in a farewell match. But I don't think it fit in with SLC's plans as I haven't heard back from them."

Nuwan Kulasekara.[60]

"I had the privilege of representing Sri Lanka in every major ICC event between 2007-2014, where the team played in two 50-over World Cup finals, three T20 World Cup finals, including our victorious one in 2014 against India. I was honoured to be the vice-captain of this World Cup-winning team. I represented my team and nation with the highest amount of pride and admiration; nothing was more important to me than seeing Sri Lanka at the top of world cricket. I have no regrets, every day that I played cricket I was happy, and I leave the sport happily."

Nuwan Kulasekara.[60]

International retirementEdit

On 1 June 2016, Kulasekara announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect to focus more on limited over internationals. He played 21 Tests and picked up 48 wickets and played his last Test in June 2014 at Lord's in a nail biting draw.

During 2019 Cricket World Cup, fellow Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga hinted that he like to retire from ODI cricket along with Kulasekara.[61] However, Sri Lanka Cricket and selection committee did not consider his intentions and selected the ODI squad for Bangladesh tour by omitting Kulasekara from the squad. Later, Kulasekara sent a letter to Sri Lanka cricket by saying to consider Malinga's consideration of playing one farewell match together.[62] Due to lack of reply for his letter, Kulasekara announced his retirement from international cricket in immediate effect on 24 July 2019.[63]

Malinga also announced his retirement from ODI cricket after the first ODI in Bangladesh series. However, Sri Lanka cricket announced that, third ODI of the series will dedicate to Kulasekara.[64][65] Sri Lanka won the third ODI as well as whitewash Bangladesh 3-0. The stadium was decorated with banners citing Thank You Kulasekara and gave a guard of honour for him in the match.[66] At the felicitation ceremony, he joined with his fellow cricketers and Malinga for one last time. Kulasekara ended ODI career as Sri Lanka's third-highest ODI wicket-taker among seamers, behind Chaminda Vaas and Lasith Malinga, with 199 wickets in 184 matches and fourth of all time Sri Lanka bowlers. At the retirement, he is also the joint second-highest wicket-taker for Sri Lanka in T20Is, with 66 wickets in 58 matches, behind Malinga's 97.

International recordsEdit

  • Highest ODI score for Sri Lanka when batting at number 8 position - 73 runs.[67]
  • First and only Sri Lankan cricketer to ranked as no. 1 in ODI rankings.
  • Most economical spell in a T20I by any bowler - 0.00 against Netherlands
  • Only bowler to record an economy of 0.00 in a T20I
  • Most number of maidens in T20Is - 5 maidens

Bowling styleEdit

Kulasekara, who hustles in from a long run–up, has a lovely smooth action which helps him to hurl the ball at a lively pace, getting enough seam movement both ways to trouble the batsman. His skills lie in his ability to produce inswing, and he is well known for his moderate nature to the batsmen, seldom being overly aggressive.[68] He has perfected the inwinger and outswinger during his period as world's number one, where he dominated the Sri Lankan ODI and Test line up.[69]

Franchise cricketEdit

On 29 April 2009, Kulasekara have been called for Kings XI Punjab squad as an emergency replacement for the injured Australian batsman Shaun Marsh.[70] Kulasekara joined the Chennai Super Kings for a price of $100,000 to play for their team in the IPL 2011.[71]

Kulasekara played in dometic T20I series for Kandurata Maroons. In the final against Basnahira Greens, Kulasekara took match winning 3 wickets. Kandurata won the match by 7 wickets and selected for the 2013 Champions League Twenty20.[72]

He played for Comilla Victorians in Bangladesh Premier League in 2015 edition.[73] During the match against Rangpur Riders on 27 November 2015, he took 4 wickets for 12 runs, where Bulls bowled out for 82 runs.[74] He guided Comilla for the victory by defeating Barisal Bulls in the final by 3 wickets.

In 2016, Sussex have signed Kulasekara for a short-term NatWest T20 Blast for Sussex Sharks. He was available for matches against Kent, Middlesex and Glamorgan, but failed to deliver match winning spells.[75]

ArrestEdit

Kulasekara was detained by Kadawatha police on 19 September 2016, after being involved in a road accident.[76][77] However, Kulasekara was produced before the Mahara Magistrate and was released on bail of five lakhs due to the death of a 28-year-old motorcycle rider from the accident.[78][79] The accident occurred near the Kirillawella junction in Kadawatha in the afternoon, where the rider was coming from opposite side to the Kulasekara's vehicle and had overtaken a bus and then crashed onto its bund, where he was thrown onto the patch of Kulasekara's vehicle.[80] After the incident Kulasekara's father paid his condolences to the deceased's family, where his mother then told that her son went to the same school as Nuwan. His mother also told that her son was very fond of sports and was a fan of Nuwan Kulasekara.[81]

Before being arrested Kulasekara participated in the practice pitch opening ceremony of Colombo Hindu College on the same date in the morning.[82]

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External linksEdit