Top 10 Best Sri Lankan Cricketers of All Time

Cricket isn't just a sport in Sri Lanka. It's woven into the fabric of the nation. Sri Lankan cricketer play with passion, with flair, and with a certain grit that sets them apart. Over the years, Sri Lanka has given the cricketing world extraordinary players who have rewritten record books and captured our imaginations.

But who are the absolute best? Are you a fan of explosive opening batsmen who sent bowlers scrambling? Or perhaps the mysterious art of spin bowling has your heart. Does an elegant wicketkeeper or a rock-solid fielder draw your eye?
The Top Ten
1 Sanath Jayasuriya

It's hard to imagine that for the first half-decade of his career, Sanath Jayasuriya was considered a bowler who could bat a bit. Think of him now, and you think of forearms straight out of a smithy, brutal shots hammered through point and cover, and scythes over the leg side - and everything in-between. You recall a man who could score equally briskly in every form of the game, who absolutely slashed and burned his way through bowling attacks and murdered them.

As with anyone who relied so much on extraordinary hand-eye coordination, there were troughs and lean times. But just as the obit writers got busy, he would produce another innings of supreme power and insane brute power! He is for sure the GREATEST of all time who ever played the game, the GOD of Cricket!

Sanath Jayasuriya: the Match Winner, the Master Blaster, the Little Dynamite, the King of Hard Hitting, the Emperor of Sixers, and the Great Sri Lankan Patriot! He is an inspiration to all those who play cricket. He is my idol. He is my inspiration.

He has broken more than one hundred batting, bowling, and fielding world records! He is the greatest Sri Lankan ever born. We love you, Sana!

2 Kumar Sangakkara Kumar Chokshanada Sangakkara is a cricket commentator, former cricketer and captain of the Sri Lankan national team.

He's simply one of the best cricketers. You know you're in for a ton of runs when he walks onto the pitch, and when wicketkeeping too. King of SL.

He is their best batsman, their best-ever wicketkeeper, saved or won more matches for Sri Lanka than anyone else in tests, and a fine captain leading Sri Lanka to finals of T20 and ODI world cups. He simply is their best cricketer ever.

Kumar Sangakkara is a hero of Sri Lankan cricket. He played a pivotal role in elevating the team's status in the world of cricket. It's because of the foundation laid by players like him that Sri Lankan cricket has reached such impressive heights.

3 Muttiah Muralitharan

So full of zest did Muttiah Muralitharan appear when he took his 709th test wicket to break the all-time record in his native Kandy in 2007, that no one would have bet confidently against him becoming the first man to take 1,000.

He is the leading wicket-taker in the world. The one Sri Lankan who is known worldwide for good reasons. An incredible player.

Undoubtedly, his contribution to Sri Lankan cricket is enormous, and he will remain one of the greatest cricketers the world has ever seen.

4 Lasith Malinga

Best bowler Sri Lanka will ever see. A world-accepted player as a simple, honest man. Mumbai Indians were lucky to have him. Always smiling, Sri Lanka cricket selectors and the board thought the years played foul by him, but he was always able to prove his talent with the cricket ball. Hope he will be used in a wise manner for future cricket bowlers.

Really good player.

He is my favorite player in cricket. I like Bumrah also because he is like Lasi.

5 Tillakaratne Dilshan

Sanath Jayasuriya is the greatest. Muttiah Muralitharan and Romesh Kaluwitharana are the co-2nd greatest, and Tillakaratne Dilshan deserves nothing less than 3rd!

Unlike bastards like Sangakkara who play cricket for personal records, Tillakaratne Dilshan plays for the victory of the whole motherland. He is an amazing batsman, a great bowler, and an incredible fielder! For me, he is the greatest all-rounder since Sanath Jayasuriya!

He is the 4th greatest after Sanath, Sanga, and Mahela. His aggressive style has always been admired by all Sri Lankans. His new opening partner, Kusal Perera, is almost as dashing. No wonder people have started to think that Dilshan, the old boy, and Kusal, the youngster, are bound to be like Kaluwitharana and Jayasuriya, like in the 90s. Flashy starts! Another era for Sri Lanka!

In a short amount of time, he'll become Sri Lanka's greatest batsman in history, even better than Jayasuriya. Chandimal is on track to beat him because Dilshan's power is low.

6 Mahela Jayawardene

Mahela Jayawardene was the most important part of Sri Lankan cricket in the post-World Cup era. He was not only a fantastic batsman, but he also possessed the smartest cricketing brain ever produced by Sri Lanka.

The impact of Jayawardene on Sri Lankan cricket is evident from the fact that Sri Lanka continued to lose games after his retirement in 2014, even though the team still had Sangakkara, who was a legendary batsman in his own right. Mahela was the mastermind behind many of Sri Lankan Cricket's fabulous achievements in the modern era.

You've gotta love Sanath, Muttiah, Aravinda, and amongst them stands this man as well! Someone on whom Sri Lankan cricket could always rely on! Great batsman, great captain, and above all, a great human being!

He has been there for Sri Lankan cricket when they needed his service the most. He'll always be one of the greatest players of not only Sri Lanka but also cricketing history! Hail the master!

7 Nuwan Kulasekara

In Sri Lanka's bowlers, Lasith Malinga comes in first place, Rangana Herath in second place, and Nuwan Kulasekara deserves nothing less than third place.

He is an innocent but very talented player. He also has a brave heart and always gives 100% to the game while bowling, batting, and fielding. He is an underrated player but was the number 1 ODI bowler once. He is also one of the greatest swing bowlers after Vass.

8 Marvan Atapattu

His style is unique and beautiful to watch. The drives, the cuts, the pulls are textbook accurate! The best batsman after Sanath Jayasuriya.

For me, there are three opening pairs who changed the world, and Marvan is in one of them:

1st: Sanath Jayasuriya & Romesh Kaluwitharana
2nd: Sanath Jayasuriya & Marvan Atapattu
3rd: Sanath Jayasuriya & Tillakaratne Dilshan

Go Sri Lanka!

The second-best batsman ever produced by Sri Lanka, only seconded to Sanath Jayasuriya and nobody else. Marlon Kandamantu is how we call him down south. I can still remember those beautiful cover drives! Thanks, Marvan!

9 Dinesh Chandimal

He has done so many sacrifices for the sake of the team, the spirit of the game, and the pride of Sri Lanka. He never plays for individual records. He always plays for the country. He is a great batsman, fielder, and wicketkeeper. He is a true champ behind the 2014 T20 World Cup. He is that good. I will rank him as the 2nd greatest ever, behind only Sanath Jayasuriya. Come on Dinesh Chandimal! Oyata Budu Saranai!

He always shows true sportsmanship during the play. A great player who likes to give his best to the country. But being captain at an early stage of his career made him stressed and inconsistent.

He is a great cricketer in Sri Lanka. Dinesh is better than Malinga as the T20 cricket captain in Sri Lanka. One day he will be the greatest cricketer in our country. All the best! And I love you.

10 Aravinda de Silva

Please don't prioritize numbers and records at first. When contesting for the best batsman, the following should be considered:

1. Match-winning ability
2. Ability to handle pressure
3. Ability to manage the match situation
4. The number of shots played with full confidence
5. Strike rate, batting average, and the number of centuries scored
6. The ability to counterattack against bowlers
7. Natural talent

Considering the above, Aravinda De Silva is the most prolific and accomplished batsman, and he deserves to be recognized as the best Sri Lankan batsman the country has ever produced.

This guy was a cold-blooded killer. This comment from an Indian: Sanath was fire at the top, but he was hit and miss. If Sanath succumbed, as sure as death, De Silva would walk out and set things in motion. Watching him bat was spooky. For a while, you don't notice him. You feel what's going on is insignificant in terms of the bigger narrative. And then 10 overs later, you pay attention and realize he has ten shots for every ball bowled at him.

The Contenders
11 Rangana Herath

Great left-arm spinner.

12 Romesh Kaluwitharana

Sanath Jayasuriya is the greatest, but Romesh Kaluwitharana deserves to be recognized as nothing less than the second greatest!

Together with Sanath, Kalu revolutionized One Day International batting with his aggressive tactics during the 1996 Cricket World Cup. It's a massive compliment to say someone changed the game, and their explosive batting in the 1996 World Cup altered everyone's approach to starting innings.

And man, he was and will always be the greatest wicket-keeper to ever play the game!

Little Kalu! You are the greatest wicket-keeper of all time! There will never be a keeper better than you. You are the best because you are the backbone of the team behind the wicket.

SANA & KALU: The greatest batting pair in the history of the game!

13 Ajantha Mendis
14 Chaminda Vaas

Simply the best and most consistent fast bowler that Sri Lanka has ever had. Any country would be proud to include him in their list of best cricketers!

There is no other bowler as consistent and genuine as he is. He was not only a great bowler but an exceptionally reliable all-rounder who gave his all with the bat and ball.

The best ever Sri Lankan fast bowler. Chaminda Vaas is the best Sri Lankan bowler after Muralitharan.

15 Angelo Mathews

Certainly deserves to be higher up. Was an absolute beast in the three peak years of his career.

Good captain. Super man.

16 Nuwan Zoysa

In his eighth Test, Zippy became the first player in history to take a hat-trick off his first three balls of a Test match! He achieved this against Zimbabwe at Harare in November 1999, dismissing Trevor Gripper, Murray Goodwin, and Neil Johnson. He has gone on to take over 100 ODI wickets for Sri Lanka, the ninth to have achieved the milestone. To me, he is the best bowler produced by the subcontinent!

Ara Zoysa! Standing 6'4", he is often regarded among Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Colin Croft, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, and Joel Garner as one of the eight most lethal fast bowlers of all time!

It would not be too much off the mark if Nuwan Zoysa were to be referred to as the greatest bowler to have graced the field.

17 Asanka Gurusinha

He may not reach the same level as Sanath Jayasuriya, but he was an awesome player in the '96 World Cup winning team. He was a big factor and played major roles in the win. Asanka was the best one-down batsman when Sanath or Kalu were dismissed. He did his best to help win the World Cup. What a great player - had to vote for him.

You will never find a better team than the '96 World Cup winning team: Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Asanka Gurusinha, Aravinda de Silva, Arjuna Ranatunga, Hashan Tillakaratne, Roshan Mahanama, Upul Chandana, Kumar Dharmasena, Chaminda Vaas, Marvan Atapattu, Ravindra Pushpakumara, Pramodya Wickramasinghe, and Muttiah Muralitharan. The golden era of Sri Lankan cricket!

18 Roshan Mahanama

He was Sri Lanka's best opening batsman way back in the early nineties but was overshadowed by the great Sanath Jayasuriya when he was promoted in the batting order. This promotion led Sri Lanka to win the '96 Cricket World Cup.

However, I can still remember the greatest game ever where Sanath scored 340 with Roshan scoring 225 with their 576-run partnership, which led to the mammoth 952/6 against India. Roshan was also an excellent fielder.

The best Sri Lankan fielder.

19 Upul Chandana

One of the best fielders ever! He is among the greatest fielders Sri Lanka ever produced, like Roshan Mahanama, Sanath, TM Dilshan, Mahela, and Kaluwitharana - the best wicketkeeper in the world!

Best fielder along with Roshan Mahanama!

Terrific all-rounder, maybe seconded only to the great Sanath Jayasuriya and nobody else.

20 Pulasthi Gunaratne

Pulasthi's image has appeared on postage stamps and currency notes. A museum dedicated to his life was opened in his alma mater, the Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club's VVIP section. To commemorate his participation in the 2003 World Cup, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka issued a Rs.2 commemorative gold coin with Pulasthi's exact image, which is shown here. In 2004, he was inducted into the Antonians Sports Club Hall of Fame.

His stats and figures say it all! He has scored 36 runs and captured 27 wickets in one-day internationals. Top score of 15 (not out), best bowling of 4 for 44, and has taken three catches also! A great player!

Once Sachin Tendulkar peed in his ball-guard and pants when Pulasthi came running all the way from the boundary line!

21 Arjuna Ranatunga

He should have been rated higher than this. One of the best captains in the history of the game.

Captain cool absolutely... love his way of captaincy in the 1996 World Cup, which changed Sri Lankan cricket. Also, his brave innings against Pakistan at Pindi Test with one hand, winning the game for Sri Lanka and also giving confidence to Murli during his bowling in Australia.

He is a really great captain, and he brought his team from a low stage to a higher stage.

22 Upul Tharanga

Super opening batsman.

Tharanga is the best batsman on the Lankan side and better than Kohli and Tendulkar.

23 Ruwan Kalpage
24 Thilan Samaraweera

He is the best Sri Lankan test batsman after Mahela and Sanga. He got appointed to the test team of the year 2009 as a batsman. He ranked No.7 in ICC test rankings in 2009 and scored 1500 runs in that year. He got injured in the Lahore attack and became the man of the series vs. NZ from the very first series after he recovered. He still holds the second-highest average by any Sri Lankan test batsman, with an average of around 49.

25 Hashan Tillakaratne

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni of Cricket! Deshabandu Action Batta Hashan Prasantha Tillakaratne is memorable for his two one-day tons - 104 in 1993 and 100 in 1995 - both against the lethal West Indies. We lost both matches.

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