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Deshamanya Arjuna Ranatunga (Sinhala: අර්ජුන රණතුංග; born 1 December 1963) is a former Sri Lankan cricketer and 1996 Cricket World Cup winning captain for Sri Lanka.  He is regarded as the pioneer to lift Sri Lankan cricket from underdog status to one of great forces in cricketing world. After retirement, he worked in many posts of Sri Lanka Cricket administration. By entering his father's stream of politics, Ranatunga started his political career in 2005, and is now the cabinet minister of Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation.
Upon retirement from playing cricket he entered politics, joining the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and entered parliament, from Colombo District, in the 2001 elections. He served a tenure as deputy minister for tourism, and also served as the president of Sri Lanka Cricket until December 2008. He joined the Democratic National Alliance in 2010 and contested the 2010 elections.
Arjuna Ranatunga is the son of Reggie Padmasena Rantunga, the third Governor of Sabaragamuwa, serving between June 2005 and February 2008. He has five siblings; cricketer Sanjeeva Ranatunga, along with Dammika Ranatunga, Nishantha Ranatunga, Prasanna Ranatunga, and Ruwan Ranatunga. He was born on 1 December 1963 in Gampaha near Colombo. He has a son Dhyan Ranatunga who is also a cricketer.
Ranatunga went on to captain the Sri Lanka national cricket team in 1988, taking control of it for the next 11 years, transforming it from a weak, routinely defeated team into a competitive and successful unit. He led the team to win the 1996 World Cup. His innovative captaincy took a Sri Lanka team, given little chance prior to the competition, for cricket's greatest prize. His strategies was commended by many cricketing greats and followed by ther teams. He was the brain behind the strategy of scoring as many runs as possible in the first 15 overs of an ODI match in which there are field restrictions. This strategy was still followed by the batsmen in the Powerplays. He was widely recognised as a belligerent leader and was famous for defending his players at all costs regardless of what they did.
Ranatunga was known for controversially calling a runner during long innings due to his level of fitness. After the second final of the One Day triangular series in Australia in the 1995/6 season, when the incident with Healy occurred, Ranatunga instructed his players not to shake the Australian players' hands. During this match, Sanath Jayasuriya and Australian paceman Glenn McGrath were also involved in physical jostling; Jayasuriya accused McGrath of racially abusing him, a claim that the bowler denied.
Defence of Muralitharan
Ranatunga is also remembered for his stand in a One Day International against England. Australian Umpire Ross Emerson called Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing. (Muralitharan was subsequently cleared by bio-mechanical experts hired by the ICC.) Ranatunga exchanged heated words with umpire Emerson and led his team to a point just inside the boundary line, halting play and giving the impression that he was about to forfeit the match, until the Sri Lankan management conferred with him and play resumed. English captain, Alec Stewart, was openly critical of Ranatunga's behaviour. In a comment caught on the stump microphone he was heard to say to Ranatunga "Your conduct today has been appalling for a country's captain". The match was bad-tempered, with instances of shoulder-bumping.
Wrangles with Warne
There has always been between Warne and Ranatunga a grudging mutual admiration. When the former visited Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami to aid Muralitharan in his "great work" there, he developed an amiable rapport with his long-time foe: "We even wagged," he confirmed later. Not long after, however, Ranatunga was lambasting him in a scathing newspaper attack.
"You can't be mates with everyone," Warne wrote in his 2008 book Shane Warne's Century, serialised by The Times in September, "and if there was any way I could knock him down to number 101[page needed] for the purposes of this book, I'd be delighted to do so. But having taken on the task, I want to do it seriously, and the fact is that Ranatunga helped to put Sri Lanka on the cricket map. And you know what? Deep down, I'll quietly admit that I rated him as a cricketer."
He entered into politics by joining the Sri Lanka Freedom Party led by Chandrika Kumaratunga, and contested the 2001 parliamentary elections with PA from Colombo District. After the UPFA victory in 2004, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Promotion. In 2010, Ranatunga left the UPFA and joined the Democratic Party of the DNA led by Sarath Fonseka, and was made the deputy leader of the Democratic Party. On November 2012, he resigned from the Democratic Party, but continued his affiliation with DNA. He endorsed Maithripala Sirisena in the 2015 Presidential election, and after Sirisena's victory Ranatunga was appointed Minister of Highways, Ports & Shipping.
- Ranatunga's highest Test batting score of 135 not out was made against Pakistan, Colombo, 1985–1986
- His best Test bowling effort of 2 for 17 came against New Zealand, Kandy, 1983–1984
- Ranatunga's captaincy record was as follows: 56 matches, 12 wins, 19 losses, 25 draws.
- One-day Internationals
- He has the record for the most runs scored by any batsman in ODI history at number 5 position (4675 runs) and also the first to score over 4500 ODI runs when batting at no 5 position.
- Warne, Shane. "Shane Warne's Century: Ranatunga looked like he had swallowed a sheep." The Times, 27 September 2008.
- Shenton, A. "Ranatunga's Unique Achievement", The Cricket Statistician, No. 113, Spring 2001. Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians; West Bridgford, Nottingham
- Edirisinghe, Dasun (21 January 2016), "DNM demands vacant UNP seat", The Island (Sri Lanka), retrieved 16 March 2016
- Gooneratne, Lankesh (2 February 2016), "Ekanayake scotches rumours", Ceylon Today, retrieved 16 March 2016[permanent dead link]
- "Sports". Sundaytimes.lk. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
- "Arjuna versus". Cricket Monthly. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
- "Ranatunga appointed head of Sri Lanka Cricket". Cricinfo. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
- "Where are Herath's team-mates from his 1999 Test debut?". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
- "Ranatunga takes up Sri Lanka post". BBC News. 2 January 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- "Sri Lankan Provinces from 1988". WorldStatesmen.org. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- "Result of Parliamentary General Election 1989" (PDF). Department of Elections, Sri Lanka. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- "Former Lankan minister held in murder case". Rediff.com. 3 November 2001. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- "Arjuna Ranatunga". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
- Shenton, p.9.
- "England give it a go". ESPN Cricinfo. 10 August 2017. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
- "World Cup final: A history of tension". The Australian. 27 April 2007. Archived from the original on 3 April 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2008.
- "ICC biomechanical expert says Murali was right". Cricinfo.com. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "The ugly face of cricket (24 January 1999)". Content-uk.cricinfo.com. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Warne 2008.
- The book details Warne's selection of the 100 greatest players of his time. Ranatunga found himself at 93.
- "PART I : SECTION (I) — GENERAL Appointments & c., by the President" (PDF). The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Extraordinary. 1339/09. 7 May 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2013.
- "Ceylon Today | 'SF, the only person who can rescue the country'". Ceylontoday.lk. 25 May 2012. Archived from the original on 27 May 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "Arjuna Ranatunga joins Gen Fonseka". Sundaytimes.lk. Retrieved 16 November 2012.[permanent dead link]
- "Arjuna, Tiran also to boycott SF rally?". Dwww.adaderana.lk. 18 October 2012. Archived from the original on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
- "Ceylon Today | MP Ranatunga resigns from DP". Ceylontoday.lk. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "Tell Bandula – Glass Box". Adaderana.lk. Archived from the original on 16 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
- "Resignation not valid: SF | Breaking News". Dailymirror.lk. 11 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "Arjuna resigns from SF's party". Dailymirror.lk. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "I will contest as the Common Candidate - Maithripala Sirisena". Ada Derana. 21 November 2014. Archived from the original on 16 April 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
- "PART I : SECTION (I) — GENERAL Appointments & c., by the President" (PDF). The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Extraordinary. 1897/16. 18 January 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 January 2015.
- "HowSTAT! ODI Cricket - Most Runs for Each Batting Position". www.howstat.com. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
- Cricinfo profile on Arjuna Ranatunga
- HowSTAT! statistical profile on Arjuna Ranatunga
- 1st Asian International Sportsman ever to address the Oxford Union
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