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Akila Dananjaya

Mahamarakkala Kurukulasooriya Patabendige Akila Dananjaya Perera (born 4 October 1993), or Akila Dananjaya, is a professional Sri Lankan cricketer, who plays all forms of the game for the national team. However, in December 2018, he was suspended from bowling in international matches, after his bowling action was deemed to be illegal, which was later corrected to play in March 2019.[1] In September 2019, the International Cricket Council (ICC) banned Dananjaya from bowling in international matches for twelve months, after his bowling action was deemed to be illegal.[2]

Personal life

The son of a carpenter from Moratuwa, Dananjaya studied at Moratuwa Maha Vidyalaya Panadura Mahanama Navodya Vidyalaya, Panadura. He married his longtime partner Nethalie Tekshini on 22 August 2017 just two days before his recall to the ODI team for second ODI against India.[3][4] The wedding was celebrated at Ramadia Ran Mal Holiday Resort, Moratuwa and two spinners Rangana Herath and Ajantha Mendis signed as witnesses.[5]

Domestic career

He was selected to play for Wayamba United in the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League. In only his second match for the franchise, he took 3–18 against Nagenahira Nagas, consistently disturbing the batsmen with his flight, googly and other variations.[6]

In the 2013 IPL auctions, Dananjaya was sold to the Chennai Super Kings for his base price of $20,000.[7] In January 2018, he was bought by the Mumbai Indians in the 2018 IPL auction.[8]

In March 2018, he was named in Galle's squad for the 2017–18 Super Four Provincial Tournament.[9][10] In August 2018, he was named in Colombo's squad the 2018 SLC T20 League.[11] In March 2019, he was named in Colombo's squad for the 2019 Super Provincial One Day Tournament.[12]

International career

Early beginning

Officially a left-hand batsman and an off-break bowler, he is said to have seven variations, including the leg-break, googly, carrom ball, doosra and his stock off-spinner that had impressed national team captain Mahela Jayawardene so much in the nets as to make Jayawardene request him to be fast-tracked into the national squad.[13] Dhananjaya had at that point played no first-class, List A, T20 or even U-19 cricket. This in turn led to controversy as his selection was questioned by the media on the basis of a net performance.[14]

This in turn led to a place in the final squad for the 2012 ICC World Twenty20.[15] He made his debut international appearance at the age of 18 against New Zealand at Pallekele in a pool match of World Twenty20.

He was hit on the face by a full-blooded drive from New Zealand opener Rob Nicol, with the ball going through his hands to strike the left side of his face. X-rays and MRI scans revealed that he had suffered a fracture on his left cheek bone as a result of the blow and did not play in the pool match against West Indies.[16]

Recall after 5 years

Dananjaya was recalled in to the ODI squad after five years for the Zimbabwe tour in 2017.[17] In the first match of the series, he took his maiden ODI wicket by dismissing Craig Ervine.[18] He took his maiden ODI five-wicket haul on 24 August 2017 against India at Pallekele Cricket Stadium. His fifer took in the space of 13 deliveries, which is the best for a Sri Lankan in ODIs as well. He bewildered the Indian batsmen. However, India won the match by 3 wickets at the end and Dananjaya's bowling figures of 6 for 54 stands as the best bowling figures by a Sri Lankan in a losing cause.[19][20] Despite the loss, he awarded man of the match for impressive bowling performance.

On 13 October 2017 against Pakistan, Dananjaya scored his maiden ODI fifty. His score of an unbeaten 50 off 72 balls did not help Sri Lanka to win the match, but helped to reach 200 mark in total.[21]

As strike bowler

In 2018, Dhananjaya was named to Sri Lanka's Test squad for the tour of Bangladesh.[22] He made his Test debut on 8 February 2018 against Bangladesh in the second Test at Sher-e-Bangla Cricket Stadium. He took his first test wicket of Mahmudullah in the Bangladesh's first innings and claimed two more wickets to restrict Bangladesh to 110 by finishing with decent figures of 3/20.[23] In the second innings, Dananjaya took his maiden Test five-wicket haul by taking 5 for 24 runs, becoming only the 3rd Sri Lankan to take a test fifer on his test debut and the first instance for Sri Lanka since 1999.[24] With 8 wickets for 44 runs in the match, Dananjaya's bowling figures recorded as the best bowling figures by a Sri Lankan in debut match and only the 2nd Sri Lankan to grab 8 wickets on debut, beating Ajantha Mendis' figures of 8/144.[25] Dananjaya's record breaking figures of 8/44 on his Test debut is regarded as one of the most economical cheapest bowling figures by a bowler on test debut and also recorded the best bowling average by a bowler on his test debut (for a bowler with minimum of 8 wickets) with an average of 5.50 breaking the previous record held by Albert Trott.[26][27]

In May 2018, he was one of 33 cricketers to be awarded a national contract by Sri Lanka Cricket ahead of the 2018–19 season.[28][29]

Dananjaya played the second test against South Africa in 20 July 2018. During the match, he had a 74-run partnership with Rangana Herath. Dananjaya scored unbeaten 43 in that first innings and helped Sri Lanka swell their first-innings total to 338. In bowling, Dananjaya picked up his second five-wicket haul in his third Test.[30] In the second innings, he took two wickets and finally Sri Lanka won the match by 199 runs and sealed the series 2-0.[31]

In the fifth ODI against South Africa, Dananjaya took career-best figures of 6 for 29, where South Africa were bowled out for just 121 runs. South Africa dismissed inside 25 overs for their lowest total in, and against, Sri Lanka as well. He mixed the deliveries at will with wrong'un and googlies, where Proteas batsmen had no answers. Dananjaya's figures of 6-29 is the best bowling figures against South Africa by a Sri Lankan. Sri Lanka won the match by 178 runs and Dananjaya was adjudged man of the match for his match winning bowling performance. Despite all those results, South Africa won the series 3-2.[32] He was also selected for ODI bowling nominees in ICC Cricket Awards 2019 for his bowling in this match.[33]

Bowling action

In November 2018, during the first Test against England at Galle, Dananjaya is reported with suspect bowling action. He was then requested to undergo testing on his action within 14 days. However, the ICC informed that he can bowl until the results of the bowling tests are out.[34] Dananjaya played the second Test of the series and took a five wicket haul, despite Sri Lanka lost the match and the series. He missed the third Test due to biomechanical testing in Brisbane, Australia.[35] In December 2018, he was suspended from bowling in international matches due to his action being deemed illegal.[36] Although he was allowed to bowl in domestic cricket with cameras placed all around to capture his action governed by Sri Lanka Cricket.

On 1 February 2019, he went Chennai to reassess his bowling action. The reassessment took place at the Center for Sports Science (CSS) of the Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research in Chennai.[37] On 18 February 2019, he was cleared by the ICC to play international cricket.[38] He was included to the South African ODI series after clearance.[39]


  1. ^ "Bowling action of Akila Dananjaya found to be illegal". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Akila Dananjaya banned from bowling for one year". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Newly-wed Akila Dananjaya skipped honeymoon to record career-best bowling figures". Zee News. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Dananjaya's near wedding gift to Sri Lanka". CricBuzz. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Sri Lankan Cricketer Akila Dananjaya's Wedding And Pre-shoot". Asian Mirror. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  6. ^ Jayawardene's 96 keeps Wayamba on top Cricinfo. Retrieved 25 August 2012
  7. ^ CSK in the 2013 IPL Auction Cricinfo. Retrieved 20 April 2013
  8. ^ "List of sold and unsold players". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Cricket: Mixed opinions on Provincial tournament". Sunday Times (Sri Lanka). 26 March 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  10. ^ "All you need to know about the SL Super Provincial Tournament". Daily Sports. 26 March 2018. Archived from the original on 27 March 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  11. ^ "SLC T20 League 2018 squads finalized". The Papare. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Squads, Fixtures announced for SLC Provincial 50 Overs Tournament". The Papare. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Early signs encouraging for Dananjaya". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  14. ^ Who is Akila Dananjaya? Cricinfo. Retrieved 25 August 2012
  15. ^ Rookie spinner Dananjaya gets World T20 call-up Cricinfo. Retrieved 25 August 2012
  16. ^ "Injured Dananjaya doubtful for West Indies clash". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  17. ^ "Chandimal left out for first two Zimbabwe ODIs". EPNcricinfo. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Zimbabwe tour of Sri Lanka, 1st ODI: Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Galle, Jun 30, 2017". EPNcricinfo. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  19. ^ "Dhoni, Bhuvneshwar trump Dananjaya's 6 for 54". EPNcricinfo. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  20. ^ "Record 8th wicket stand and Dananjaya's dream spell". EPNcricinfo. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  21. ^ "1st ODI (D/N), Sri Lanka tour of United Arab Emirates and Pakistan at Dubai, Oct 13 2017". EPNcricinfo. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Lakmal named Sri Lanka's Test vice-captain". ESPN Cricinfo. 13 January 2018. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  23. ^ "2nd Test, Sri Lanka Tour of Bangladesh at Dhaka, Feb 8-12 2018". ESPN Cricinfo. 8 February 2018. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  24. ^ "Best bowling in an innings on debut for Sri Lanka". ESPNCricinfo. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  25. ^ "Best test match bowling figures for Sri Lanka". ESPNCricinfo. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  26. ^ "Dananjaya takes five as Sri Lanka clinch series". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  27. ^ "Rangana Herath and Akila Dananjaya rewrite record books". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  28. ^ "Sri Lanka assign 33 national contracts with pay hike". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  29. ^ "Sri Lankan players to receive pay hike". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  30. ^ "Dimuth Karunaratne builds lead after spinners rout South Africa again". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  31. ^ "Herath six-for completes 2-0 after de Bruyn's fighting 101". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  32. ^ "Mathews, Akila Dananjaya hand South Africa a drubbing". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  33. ^ "Three leggies, two oldies, and a pile of wickets". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  34. ^ "Akila Dananjaya reported for suspect bowling action". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  35. ^ "Akila Dananjaya set to miss third Test in order to have action tested". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  36. ^ "Sri Lanka spinner Akila Dananjaya suspended for illegal action". BBC Sport. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  37. ^ "Akila Dananjaya's action to be tested in Chennai". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  38. ^ "Akila Dananjaya returns for South Africa ODIs after having action cleared". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  39. ^ "Akila Dananjaya's action cleared ahead following tests in Chennai". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 19 February 2019.

External links

28 September 2019