The Pathirana Factor in Sri Lankan Cricket Politics

Rex Clementine, in Island, 21 August 2019, where the title reads “SLC removes spin bowling coach, offie faces lengthy suspension”

Off-spinner Akila Dananjaya faces a lengthy suspension from international cricket after his bowling action was reported as suspect for a second time following the opening Test match against New Zealand at the Galle International Stadium on Sunday. The Sri Lankan team management was provided with footage of about six deliveries which caused suspicion and one delivery in particular is sure to get him into trouble, a source privy to the exchanges between the International Cricket Council and Sri Lanka Cricket told The Island.

Piyal Wijetunge coaching

Dananjaya was reported in November last year as well and remodeled his action. He will undergo reassessment within 14 days and if it is found that he is bending the elbow more than 15 degrees, he will be banned for 12 months, official sources confirmed.

Interestingly, Spin Bowling Coach Piyal Wijetunga had reservations against playing Dananjaya in Test cricket. Dananjaya had played six ODIs and three T-20s since being cleared in December last year but his action wasn’t reported until he turned up for last week’s Test match. “I feel it was too early for Akila to make a comeback in Test cricket. The plan was for him to be engaged in ODIs and T-20s and one day to take over in Test cricket once Dilruwan Perera retired from the game,” Wijetunga told The Island.

Wijetunga, who had worked as Spin Bowling Coach at SLC for more than a decade, had been discontinued from service after short notice. The former left-arm spinner who had joined SLC in 2005, had been told 24 hours before his contract expired on the 31st of July 2019 that his services were no longer required.

The Island learns that SLC intends to recruit Sachith Pathirana as a Spin Bowling Coach. Pathirana (30) is still an active First Class cricketer. Ever since Thilanga Sumathipala was elected President of Sri Lanka Cricket, Pathirana received an extended run in the national cricket team despite minimal returns. Now that he has been well and truly exposed in the international arena, the current administration seems to be pushing his case as a coach.

Pathirana’s father Janaka controls around seven votes at the cricket AGM and voted heavily in favour of the current administration during the last cricket elections.

Meanwhile Dananjaya is free to play the next Test match beginning on Wednesday at P. Sara Oval but sources said that he will not be part of the side. Instead, veteran off-spinner Dilruwan Perera has been drafted into the side. Perera has recovered from a hamstring injury.



One three schoolboys from St Anthony’s College who played in the same team and then went on to represent Sri Lanka. Wijetunge, a left-arm orthodox slow bowler, formed a menacing partnership with Muttiah Muralitharan, terrorising batsman from other schools. The other member of the trio was Ruwan Kalpage. Unlike his fellow team-mates, Wijetunge did not go on to have a distinguished international career, playing only one Test. In a memorable personal moment Wijetunge made his Test debut alongside his former schoolboy team-mates against South Africa at Moratuwa where he bowled tidily taking two wickets. However, they could not bowl Sri Lanka to victory on the final day as they did many times at school, a defiant century from Jonty Rhodes holding them at bay. …….. Johann P Jayasekera


Full name Sachith Shanaka Pathirana

Born March 21, 1989, Kandy

Current age 30 years 153 days

Major teams Colombo Cricket Club, Combined Provinces,Kandurata, Kandy Youth Cricket Club, Ragama Cricket Club,Southern Express, Sri Lanka Under-19s

Nickname Podda

Playing role Allrounder

Batting style Left-hand bat

Bowling style Slow left-arm orthodox

Height 5 ft 9 in

Education Trinity College, Kandy

Sachith Shanaka Pathirana
Batting and fielding averages
Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s Ct St
ODIs 18 14 1 332 56 25.53 383 86.68 0 1 33 5 4 0
T20Is 5 5 0 27 14 5.40 24 112.50 0 0 3 0 0 0
First-class 94 144 7 3714 168 27.10 4235 87.69 3 22 344 148 51 0
List A 106 89 9 1939 90* 24.23 2189 88.57 0 10 162 51 28 0
T20s 62 49 11 676 48 17.78 503 134.39 0 0 73 20 15 0
Bowling averages
Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
ODIs 18 18 765 720 15 3/37 3/37 48.00 5.64 51.0 0 0 0
T20Is 5 5 95 119 5 2/23 2/23 23.80 7.51 19.0 0 0 0
First-class 94 151 15390 9785 320 7/49 11/144 30.57 3.81 48.0 17 21 3
List A 106 102 4375 3462 128 5/20 5/20 27.04 4.74 34.1 3 3 0
T20s 62 55 1036 1250 63 4/17 4/17 19.84 7.23 16.4 2 0 0
Career statistics
ODI debut Sri Lanka v Pakistan at Pallekele, Jul 15, 2015 scorecard
Last ODI India v Sri Lanka at Visakhapatnam, Dec 17, 2017 scorecard
ODI statistics – Statsguru ODI analysis –
Player analysis menu/filter
ODI match list
Batting career summary
Batting innings list
High scores
Batting series averages
Bowling career summary
Bowling innings list
Best innings bowling
Bowling series averages
Fielding career summary
Fielding innings list
Most catches in an innings
Fielding series statistics
T20I debut Sri Lanka v Australia at Pallekele, Sep 6, 2016 scorecard
Last T20I Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Lahore, Oct 29, 2017 scorecard
T20I statistics – Statsguru T20I analysis –
Player analysis menu/filter
T20I match list
Batting career summary
Batting innings list
High scores
Batting series averages
Bowling career summary
Bowling innings list
Best innings bowling
Bowling series averages
Fielding career summary
Fielding innings list
Fielding series statistics
First-class debut Colombo Cricket Club v Nondescripts Cricket Club at Colombo (CCC), Nov 21-23, 2008 scorecard
Last First-class Ragama Cricket Club v Badureliya Sports Club at Colombo (Bloomfield), Feb 1-3, 2019 scorecard
List A debut Colombo Cricket Club v Nondescripts Cricket Club at Colombo (CCC), Nov 26, 2008 scorecard
Last List A Colombo Cricket Club v Badureliya Sports Club at Colombo (CCC), Mar 12, 2019 scorecard
T20s debut Kandurata v Ruhuna at Colombo (Colts), Apr 17, 2008 scorecard
Last T20s Badureliya Sports Club v Kandy Customs Cricket Club at Colombo (CCC), Feb 19, 2019 scorecard
Recent matches
Bat & Bowl Team Opposition Ground Match Date Scorecard
20, 0/33 Badureliya v Col CC Colombo (CCC) 12 Mar 2019 LA
9, 1/54 Badureliya v KTC Kaluthara 10 Mar 2019 LA
64, 0/21 Badureliya v Lankan CC Kaluthara 9 Mar 2019 LA
2/54, 8 Badureliya v Saracens Kaluthara 6 Mar 2019 LA
5/37, 37 Badureliya v Colts Colombo (Colts) 4 Mar 2019 LA
27, 2/21 Badureliya v Kandy CCC Colombo (CCC) 19 Feb 2019 T20
2, 1/22 Badureliya v Burgher SLAOCIC Stadium 18 Feb 2019 T20
1/17, 17 Badureliya v Galle CC Colombo (CCC) 16 Feb 2019 T20
0/35 Badureliya v Lankan CC Panagoda 15 Feb 2019 T20
42, 1/162, 23, 0/22 Badureliya v Ragama Colombo (Bloomfield) 1 Feb 2019 FC

An allrounder who bowls slow left-arm, Sachith Pathirana’s rise to the national side has been long-awaited, since his promising time in the Under-19 team. Pathirana captained Sri Lanka’s U-19 side at the age of 17 in a one-day tri-series against England and Malaysia, and a year later, made a major impact in the 2008 U-19 World Cup, hitting 231 runs and taking 10 wickets.

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