(By Chinmay Pagar)
HerathMudiyanselageRanganaKeerthiBandaraHerath or just Rangana Herath. Don’t even bother reading his full name, it’s just too tricky, but definitely not as tricky as his bowling. Rangana Herath just became the first left-arm spinner to take 400 wickets in tests and let’s not forget the fact that he is already ahead of another legendary left-arm spinner, Daniel Vettori and those 400 wickets have come in just 84 test!
At the age of 39, when most of the players have taken the mic in their hands, here is Herath, breaking records after records and taking fifers for fun. Herath is the most important cog in Sri Lanka’s test squad right now and it looks like they don’t even have to worry about his age, because he is just getting better and better. In the 37 tests he has played after his 35th birthday, he has taken 200 wickets! That’s more than most of the bowlers can manage in their entire career. Talk about age being just a number!
Herath made his test debut back in 1999, but with M. Muralitharan in the team, he rarely got any chances to prove himself. Until 2009, he had just 36 wickets in 14 tests. But Sanga decided to trust Herath for his captaincy debut and it did wonders for Herath and Sri Lanka. Since then, he has never looked back and his stats read 400 wickets in 84 tests now. Herath is also the third fastest to 400 wickets, only behind Muralitharan, R. Hadlee and D. Steyn. Those names are the proof that Herath is one of the best bowlers in the history of the game and arguably the best left-arm spinner the sport has ever seen.
Herath is used to making and breaking records, and that list his very long, but some of his records are evident to the efforts he puts for a team. He has most fifers in 4th innings, 11 in 35 innings in total and we all can imagine how important all those 11 fifers must have been for a result of those test matches. He also has 9 ten-fers in tests, only behind Warne and Murli. He is also one of the only three bowlers to have taken five wicket hauls against all test playing nations.
Herath has also led his team on a few occasions, and it has only helped him to elevate his own performance. In a test against Zimbabwe, he recorded the best bowling figures by a captain of last 31 years, with 13/152. Herath’s contribution in limited overs circuit has been limited but he was part of Sri Lanks’s T20 World Cup winning squad in 2014 and in a match against New Zealand, he showed everyone why he was the most feared spinner (Yes, spinners can be fearsome too, go face Herath to find that out!) in the tests with an incredible performance of 3.3-2-3-5. Anyone would hardly believe that those are not the figures from some video game.
I don’t know who said age is just a number, but this guy is making it sound spot-on more than ever. He just doesn’t age! We can just keep watching his spin that red cherry for years to come and making batsmen wonder where the hell that ball will go after it bounces off the pitch. You are simply awesome HerathMudiyanselageRanganaKeerthiBandaraHerath!