Talk about innovation, talk about grit, talk about passion, talk about contributing to your team in any way possible, Tilakratne Dilshan is someone who has done it all for his team. A man who started his career as a normal 4 down hard hitting batsman who could roll his arms, clambered his way to the highest echelons of the game finishing as one of the most revered cricketers in the modern day. The man would feature into the wish list of every modern day captain: he could be as perilous as anyone opening the innings and has a piquancy of picking up those crucial wickets and is a live wire in the field. Bat, bowl, spectacular fielding, keeping, there is nothing that this guy can’t do. So, here at Essentially Sports, we would like to stoop over and congratulate this modern day legend on one of the most impressive careers in the game of cricket.
Tillakaratne Mudiyanselage Dilshan made his debut in 1999 against Zimbawe. He was quick to cash in on the provided opportunity, smashing 163 in his second test and was conferred with his maiden man of the match award. Dilshan’s career took a paradigm shift when he was asked to open the innings in 2007. He went on to score 21 ODI centuries and all of his Test and T20 centuries in this position.
An epitome of his truculent abilities was delineated in his innings against the Indians on December 15, 2009 when he took it upon himself to chase down a mammoth 414 posted by the Indians. In the end, the Sri Lankans just failed to cross the line, ending up at 411. It was Dilshan’s 160 that kept the Lankans in the game. From 2009 to 2015, Dilshan was easily at the prime of his career amassing a total of more than 800 runs for each of those years.
The saga of Dilshans’ envious career was only gilded with the record of being the only batsman in the game who has scored centuries in all formats as a captain. He was conferred with the Man of the Series award in the 2009 ICC T20 World Cup for accumulating 317 runs in 7 matches at a phenomenal average of 52.83 and a Strike Rate of 144.74 with his team successfully claiming the title. He went on to become the highest run scorer in the 2011 ODI World Cup, taking his team into the finals.
Dilshan was a true maven who knew when to explode onto the opposition and when to rebuff his natural disposition to craft a long needed innings. He was the first to play the scoop over the keeper’s head which later was famously called as the “Dil Scoop”. The man has been there for the Sri Lankans in the most difficult of times. His spirit to play for the national team has been reflected many a time, the most famous ones being the times when he agreed to play for the national side despite not being paid his salary for a considerable duration and taking on the captaincy job despite not favouring it personally. It was under him that the Sri Lankans managed to pull of their first test win in South Africa.
Dilshan said farewell to the longest format of the game in October 2013, scoring 5297 runs, which includes 16 centuries and 39 wickets in 87 test matches. His panoply of predisposing records also includes the record of scoring most runs after the age of 35(4674). Dilshan finished his ODI career in August, 2016 with the title of highest run scorer for Sri Lanka in the ODI format (10290) beside his name, scoring 1207 of them in 2015.
Dilshan finally decided to hang up his boots, and played his last T20 internationals against the Aussies on Sep 9, 2016, scoring 1889 runs in this format for his nation. Known for his cuts and pulls and the famous “Dil Scoop”, Dilshan has been one of the most assiduous servant for his country. He has been one of the biggest entertainer and ambassador of the modern game and we hope that he has a wonderful life ahead. Thank You for the memories champion.