Mushfiqur Rahim Profile | Career Info, Records Biography
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 test, one-day, and t20 cricket. He is regarded as one of the best swing bowlers in the world by many critics. He ranked number one in the ODI bowlers rankings on 11 March 2009 and remained in that position until 26 September 2009, becoming the only Sri Lankan to achieve this feat. He was educated at Bandaranayake College, Gampaha.
In June 2016, he retired from Test cricket to play limited overs cricket. In July 2019, he announced his retirement from international cricket. The third ODI between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on 31 July 2019 was dedicated to Kulasekara. and it included a celebratory ceremony at the end of the match to honour his cricketing service .
Kulasekara made his One Day International debut against England at Dambulla on 18 November 2003. He took 2–19 as England was bowled out for 88, and Sri Lanka took less than 14 overs to win the match by 10 wickets. He made his Test cricket debut against New Zealand at Napier on 4 April 2005 as the 100th test cap for Sri Lanka. During the match, he took only one wicket and scored a duck as the match was drawn. He made his Twenty20 International debut on 11 October 2008 against Pakistan. He secured 36 runs in 3.5 overs, although Pakistan won the match by 3 wickets.
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. During Bangladesh tri-series, he was in his best form where he was involved in top-order collapses of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. On January 25, 2009, he climbed to No.2 in the ICC ranking chart for ODI bowlers. During that period, Kulasekara took 45 wickets at an average of 20.97, which included five wickets in the last two ODIs of the series against Pakistan.
He attracted attention in the international scene in 2008 which propelled him to the top spot in the ICC ODI rankings for bowlers with 724 points. During that period, he took 47 wickets at 20.97 in 29 matches with a strike rate of 28.00 and an economy rate of 4.45. He was ranked number one among ODI bowlers on 11 March 2009 and remained in that position till 26 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 star strike bowler of the Lankan side. His spell of 4 for 41 at Colombo was nominated to be one of the best ODI Bowling Performance of the year by ESPNCricinfo.
During the Pakistan series at home in 2009, Kulasekara became the highest wicket-taker in the 3-match test series. He won the man of the match award for his bowling performance in second Test. Sri Lanka won the series 2-0 and Kulasekara won the player of the series award. He took 17 wickets at an average of 15.05 and an economy of 2.67. His 4 for 37 is his third four-wicket haul in his last two Tests.
Kulasekara was included in the World ODI team in the year 2009 captained by MS Dhoni which was announced during ICC awards 2009. On 23 May 2010 , 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. Due to his performances, he was called into the test squad for the West Indies series in 2010.
Ups and Downs
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.
He did not play 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 a 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. He did not play 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.
After a CB series in Australia, Kulasekara was recalled into the test squad for the Pakistan series in 2012. Kulasekara was the highest wicket-taker in 2-match T20I series against Pakistan, where he took 4 wickets at an average of 6.50. However, the series was drawn 1-1. Kulasekara along with Malinga took 7 wickets apiece during the ODI series of Pakistan tour where Sri Lanka won the series by 3-0.
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. On October 25, 2012, Kulasekara was named as the vice-captain of Sri Lanka's T20I squad for the tour against New Zealand.
On 18 January 2013, Kulasekara picked up his first and only five-wicket haul with a 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. His spell was nominated to be one of the best ODI bowling performance of the year 2013 by ESPNCricinfo.
Injuries and form
On 4 March 2012, he scored 74 against Australia for a close defeat in the first final of the CB Series. In that series, Kulasekara was the second-highest wicket-taker for Sri Lanka with 12 wickets, only behind Malinga's tally of 18 wickets.
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 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 off-spin 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-keeper's end, Kulasekara ran alongside him to ensure that he would be run out and secure Sangakkara. 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.
After three weeks of resting, Kulasekara was called up for the T20I series against South Africa in 2013. However, Sri Lanka lost the T20I series 2-1. During the 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. After recovery, he was included in 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 the first ODI against Bangladesh, he bowled six overs for 38 runs where he sustained the injury.
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.
During 2014 ICC World Twenty20 against the Netherlands, Kulasekara reached to a record with the most economical spell in a T20I by any bowler as well as in the 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.
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. He was named in the T20I XI of the year 2014 by Cricbuzz for impressive performance in limited over arena in 2014.
In 2014, Kulasekara formed a 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 the 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.
In 2014, Sri Lanka went to India for the ODI series. The series considered 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 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. In 2015 Kulasekara won the award for Best T20 bowler of the year in Sri Lanka Cricket awards 2015. Kulasekara was overlooked for the July series against Pakistan in 2015, after he had a World Cup campaign. He was recalled into the ODI squad for the series against West Indies.
On 18 December 2015, Kulasekara replaced the injured Dhammika Prasad in Sri Lanka's ODI squad against New Zealand. 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. He played in 2016 Asia Cup and then 2016 ICC World Twenty20 in India, During the 2016 Asia Cup, Sri Lanka had a 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. He picked up two wickets against West Indies to go with his two in the first match against Zimbabwe as well. 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. During the 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.
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 draw.
During the 2019 Cricket World Cup, fellow Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga hinted that he would like to retire from ODI cricket along with Kulasekara. However, Sri Lanka Cricket and selection committee did not consider his intentions and selected the ODI squad for the 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. Due to a lack of reply to his letter, Kulasekara announced his retirement from international cricket in immediate effect on 24 July 2019.
Malinga also announced his retirement from ODI cricket after the first ODI in Bangladesh series. However, Sri Lanka cricket announced that the third ODI of the series will dedicate to Kulasekara. 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 honor for him in the match. 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 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.
- Highest ODI score for Sri Lanka when batting at number 8 position - 73 runs.
- First and only Sri Lankan cricketer to ranked as no. 1 in ODI rankings.
- The most economical spell in a T20I by any bowler - 0.00 against the Netherlands
- The only bowler to record an economy of 0.00 in a T20I
- Most number of maidens in T20Is - 5 maidens
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. He has perfected the inswinger and outswinger during his period as the world's number one, where he dominated the Sri Lankan ODI and Test line up.[unbalanced opinion?]
On 29 April 2009, Kulasekara has been called for Kings XI Punjab squad as an emergency replacement for the injured Australian batsman Shaun Marsh. Kulasekara joined the Chennai Super Kings for a price of $100,000 to play for their team in the IPL 2011.
Kulasekara played in the domestic T20I series for Kandurata Maroons. In the final against Basnahira Greens, Kulasekara took a match-winning 3 wickets. Kandurata won the match by 7 wickets and selected for the 2013 Champions League Twenty20.
He played for Comilla Victorians in Bangladesh Premier League in the 2015 edition. During the match against Rangpur Riders on 27 November 2015, he took 4 wickets for 12 runs, where Bulls bowled out for 82 runs. 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.
Kulasekara was detained by Kadawatha police on 19 September 2016, after being involved in a road accident. 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. 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. 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.
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