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Top 5 Cricket officials to emerge from Sri Lanka

Rajdeep Puri
Top 5 / Top 10
Ranjan Madugalle
Ranjan Madugalle – The best official ever?

Apart from being known for its dense wildlife and scenic beaches, Sri Lanka is best known for its cricketing achievements and quality players. They have produced magnificent cricketers over the years and have provided c with memories for a lifetime. Who could ever forget the heroics of Arjuna Ranatunga’s team of 1996, or the incredible knocks by Kumar Sangakarra and Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan’s magic fingers, Chaminda Vaas’s deadly in-swingers and Lasith Malinga’s toe-crunching yorkers still bring nightmares to opposition players.

Apart from these gifted players, Sri Lanka has also produced a host of great officials. Officiating a cricket match is one of the most difficult and tedious jobs in the industry. Despite being as involved in the game as all the players and coaching staff, the officials do not get the credit they deserve.

In this article, we look at the people behind the scenes who should be credited for their hard work and significant contribution to this beautiful game. Here are the top 5 cricket officials to emerge from Sri Lanka.

#1 Ranjan Madugalle

Ranjan Senerath Madugalle is arguably the most prominent and elite match referees in the history of the game. Having refereed over 150 tests, 300 ODI’s and 50 T-20’s, he is surely one of the most coveted and respected match official.

Madugalle started off his career as a stylish middle order test batsman for the Sri Lankan cricket team. He was known for his lazy elegance and in his ability to pick gaps in the field while batting. He was the only player to feature consistently in the first 18 tests Sri Lanka played. Madugalle performed well during his test career averaging 30, but was not able to do so in the ODI’s where his average was a meagre 18. 

Madugalle also captained the Sri Lanka Test and ODI teams for a brief period of time. During his unsuccessful stint as captain, Sri Lanka won only 2 out of their 13 ODI’s and lost both the test matches. 

After his retirement, Madugalle became an ICC-appointed match-referee. He made his Test debut in the match between Pakistan and Zimbabwe at Karachi in 1993-94, his ODI debut in the same series and his T20I debut in the match between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in 2006. After garnering a lot of trust and respect from the ICC, he was appointed as the “Chief match referee” in 2001 by the ICC and was considered as an outstanding member of the existing panel back then.  

He did court a small controversy exhibiting bias against Asian teams, a popular one which happened when Indian toured Australia in 1999. Apart from that incident, he has arguably been the best match referee till date. Due to his congenial outlook and strict disciplined approach, he was a highly respected referee who was never taken lightly. Till date, he continues to referee matches and has constantly featured on ICC’s Elite list of referees.

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