Danushka Gunathilaka

Danushka Gunathilaka

Player Bio

Danushka Gunathilaka is a flamboyant cricketer from Sri Lanka who has made a name for himself as an attacking left-handed opener. Born in Panadura, Sri Lanka on March 17, 1991, he studied at Mahanama College in Colombo. Gunathilaka was groomed at the prestigious Sinhalese Sports Club and played for Sri Lanka's Under-19 team in the 2009 Youth World Cup. He made his List A debut for Colombo Cricket Club in the 2009-10 season but had to wait until mid-2015 before making his debut for the senior team during a tour of New Zealand.

Gunathilaka's rapid 65 in ODI won him the Man-of-the-Match award and announced his arrival on the international cricketing stage. He plays as a top-order batter in all forms of the game and is a strong square of the wicket particularly on the offside. Gunathilaka is also a part-time off-spinner.

Early Life and Background

Danushka Gunathilaka was born into a middle-class family in Panadura, Sri Lanka. His father was an entrepreneur while his mother worked as a teacher. Growing up, he displayed an early interest in cricket and started playing informally with friends from his neighbourhood.

Gunathilaka honed his skills at every opportunity he got by practising tirelessly at home or playing street cricket with friends. He soon caught the attention of local coaches who were impressed by his natural talent and encouraged him to take up organised cricket.

He attended Mahanama College in Colombo where he continued to impress with his cricketing skills, earning selection into various age-group teams including Sri Lanka's Under-19 squad.

Despite initial struggles, including being dropped from the national Under-19 team and being overlooked for selection to the senior team, Gunathilaka continued to work hard on his game. Eventually, he earned a place in Sri Lanka's domestic cricket circuit where he played for various teams including Kandy, Dambulla, and Colombo.

Rise to Prominence

Danushka Gunathilaka's rise to prominence began with his performances in domestic cricket where he emerged as one of Sri Lanka's most exciting young talents. He was soon drafted into the national team for their tour of New Zealand in mid-2015.

Gunathilaka made an immediate impact, scoring two smart fifties from four innings during the Sri Lanka A tour of New Zealand. This led to his inclusion in the senior team for their ODI series against New Zealand.

He announced himself on the international stage with a rapid 65 in his third ODI which helped Sri Lanka win the match against New Zealand. This performance won him the Man-of-the-Match award and established him as one of Sri Lanka's most promising young players.

Since then, Gunathilaka has gone from strength to strength in both domestic and international cricket. He played a crucial role in Sri Lanka's record chase of 321 runs against India during the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy tournament, scoring 77 runs.

He also scored his maiden ODI century against Zimbabwe on July 6, 2017, and was awarded the Man-of-the-Match for his batting performance. Gunathilaka is known for his attacking style at the top of the order and has formed successful partnerships with other opening batsmen like Niroshan Dickwella.

Cricketing Career

Danushka Gunathilaka has represented Sri Lanka in all three formats of international cricket - Tests, ODIs, and T20s. In Test cricket, he made his debut against South Africa in 2017 but had a disappointing start scoring just 16 and 2 with loose strokes in both innings.

However, in ODI cricket, Gunathilaka has been a prolific run-scorer for Sri Lanka. He has scored 1601 runs at an average of over 35 with Eleven half-centuries and two centuries to his name. Gunathilaka's highest score in ODIs is 133.

In T20s, he has played 46 matches and scored over 741 runs at an average of 16.46. He has also taken six wickets with his part-time off-spin bowling.

Gunathilaka is known for his aggressive batting style and ability to score quickly. He is particularly strong square of the wicket on the off-side, using his quick footwork to create space.

Major Tournaments and Series

Danushka Gunathilaka has had a successful career in major tournaments and series for Sri Lanka. The left-handed opener has showcased his attacking batting style on various occasions, making him a valuable asset to the team.

In 2017, Gunathilaka was called up as a replacement for Chamara Kapugedara for the Champions Trophy held in England and Wales. He made an explosive entrance to the tournament with a match-winning knock of 76 off 72 balls against India in their first game. In that innings, he showed great resilience against some quality Indian bowlers.

In other major tournaments such as the Asia Cup and Nidahas Trophy, Gunathilaka has consistently contributed with important runs at crucial times for Sri Lanka.

The player's most notable performances have come in domestic leagues like the Lanka Premier League (LPL). In LPL's inaugural season held in 2020, playing for Galle Gladiators, he ended up as the leading run-scorer of the tournament with 476 runs in ten matches at an average of 43.27. His performances helped Gladiators reach the final of the competition.

Playing Role and Skills

Danushka Gunathilaka is an attacking left-handed opener who has consistently provided quick starts to Sri Lanka in all formats of the game. He plays square of the wicket, is strong through the off-side, and can play both spin and pace bowling with ease.

In addition to his batting prowess, Gunathilaka also contributes with his part-time off-spin bowling which adds balance to the team. When required, he can bowl crucial overs for his captain without compromising on the team's overall strategy.

Gunathilaka's adaptability is another skill that comes in handy when playing in different conditions. He can adjust his game according to the nature of pitches or match situations, making him a versatile player in any given scenario.

Despite his strengths, there are areas where the player needs improvement. In Test cricket, he has not been able to replicate his limited-overs success yet. Though he has only played three Test matches so far, he needs to work on his technique against quality fast bowlers if he wants to establish himself as a complete player across all formats.

Personality and Off-the-Field Persona

He comes across as a humble personality who values hard work and dedication. The player takes inspiration from former Sri Lankan greats like Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. The cricketer keeps himself fit by regularly running and working out at the gym. He likes spending time with family and friends when not playing cricket.

Danushka Gunathilaka's contribution to Sri Lankan cricket cannot be overlooked. The player's aggressive batting style and useful off-spin bowling have made him an essential member of the team across all formats of the game. With age on his side, it will be interesting to see how he further develops his skills and cements his position as a key player for Sri Lanka in the future.

Legacy and Impact

Danushka Gunathilaka is a cricketer who has made a mark on the game with his aggressive style of batting and left-handed strokeplay. He has been an inspiration for young cricketers in Sri Lanka and beyond, particularly in terms of his poise and attacking mindset.

In the limited-overs format of cricket, he is considered one of the most dangerous openers going around. His ability to get off to a quick start by scoring runs with ease against quality bowling attacks makes him a sought-after asset for any team. This talent has been recognised globally and his impact on the game has been significant.

Gunathilaka's performances have set high standards for future generations and many young players are following in his footsteps, trying to emulate his playing style. By being able to adapt to different formats of the game, he has established himself as one of the key players for Sri Lanka across all formats.

Recognition and Awards

Throughout his career, Danushka Gunathilaka has received numerous accolades that reflect his exceptional performances on the field. He was awarded Man-of-the-Match in his third ODI against New Zealand, which speaks volumes about the impact that he made early on in his international career. His maiden century against Zimbabwe earned him another well-deserved Man-of-the-Match award.

Gunathilaka was also named in the LPL team of the tournament for his performances during the 2020 Lanka Premier League. In addition, he topped the run-charts during that season with 476 runs at an impressive average of 47.60.

Danushka Gunathilaka is undoubtedly one of Sri Lanka's most exciting young talents. With his attacking style of play and ability to score quickly against any opposition, he has become an important part of Sri Lanka's cricketing set-up. He has shown great temperament and tenacity in his performances, which have helped him establish himself as one of the most consistent performers for his team.

Despite facing some early setbacks in his career, he has emerged as an inspirational figure for young cricketers in Sri Lanka and beyond. With a bright future ahead of him, it wouldn't be surprising to see Gunathilaka continue to make big strides in Sri Lankan cricket.

When did Danushka Gunathilaka make his debut in international cricket?
Danushka Gunathilaka made his debut in international cricket for Sri Lanka vs West Indies in Colombo on November 01, 2015.
What are Danushka Gunathilaka's stats?
In 47 ODIs, he has scored 1601 runs at an average of 35.57 with a high score of 133. In T20Is, he has scored 741 runs at an average of 16.46 with a high score of 57.
Has Danushka Gunathilaka ever scored a century in international cricket?
Yes, Danushka Gunathilaka has scored 2 centuries across the 3 formats in International cricket.
How many wickets have Danushka Gunathilaka taken in ODI cricket?
He has taken 8 wickets in total in ODI cricket.
Has Danushka Gunathilaka played in the Indian Premier League (IPL)?
No, Danushka Gunathilaka has not yet played in the Indian Premier League.