Sri Lankan stars pay glowing tribute to retiring Tillakaratne Dilshan
- Sri Lankan legends Arjuna Ranatunga and Kumar Sangakkara felt that the selectors will find it hard to find an ideal replacement for Dilshan.
Sri Lankan veteran cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan, who announced earlier this week that the ongoing series against Australia would be his last in international cricket, has received glowing tributes from several Sri Lankan stars, including present skipper Angelo Mathews as well as 1996 World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga,
Mathews drew comparisons with Sri Lankan legends Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, to describe Dilshan's contributions to the national side and felt the team would find it incredibly hard to find a suitable replacement for someone of Dilshan's stature.
"Dilshan has been an absolute brilliant servant for Sri Lankan cricket over the past 17 years. I think he has equally done the service that Mahela and Sanga did, and we're going to miss him a lot. Unfortunately, he had called it a day. We respect that decision and the whole team wishes him the very best," Mathews said.
"It's going to be a tough task to fill his boots but we've seen the youngsters taking a lot of responsibility in the recent past. We're really thankful to Dilshan and our ambition is to try and win this match for him," he added, referring to the third ODI against Australia on Sunday, which will be Dilshan’s final match in the 50-over format.
Ranatunga, meanwhile, praised Dilshan’s all-round abilities, which saw him double up as a wicketkeeper at times while also being exceptional in the field.
He also has 106 ODI wickets to his name thus proving that he has been a more than useful player with the ball as well.
"Dilshan started his career as a middle-order batsman, then he moved on to become an opener," Ranatunga told the Island. "Opening the batting is the toughest thing in cricket. There's a lot at stake for an opener and not many players excel in that discipline. Dilshan had an outstanding career as an opener in all three formats. He was also a brilliant fielder and an intelligent bowler. All captains wish they have players like Dilshan in their ranks.”
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Ranatunga feels that the ‘Dilscoop’ shot that was introduced by Dilshan has ensured that his legacy will continue even long after his retirement.
"Dilshan could change games quickly. The dilscoop that he introduced has been played effectively by cricketers in shorter formats of the game with great success. Like Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath and Romesh Kaluwitharana, he left his mark in cricket," he said.
Sangakkara and others took to Twitter to pay his tribute to Dilshan claiming that the Sri Lanka selectors will find it really hard to find an able replacement.Published 28 Aug 2016, 00:44 IST