Another day and another sad news for Sri Lankan cricket. It hadn’t even been 24 hours since the ill-fated news of Sri Lankan trio of Dickwella, Gunathilaka, and Mendis being banned from international cricket arrived, that there’s another news concerning Sri Lanka, one that’s bound to offer yet more sadness as if there wasn’t any. Announcing his retirement from international cricket with immediate affect, left-arm medium pace bowler Isuru Udana has decided to call it a day.
Sad news? Sudden news? Or a piece of news that’s about as sad as it is sudden, having perhaps left more surprises than any concerning the state of affairs in Sri Lankan cricket.
While we all have our judgment on that, since Isuru Udana’s career was neither a great one nor bereft of skill or promise at the same time, there’s definitely an element of surprise in the decision.
First things first, Isuru Udana hadn’t been having a terrible time in the sport he so loves for him to suddenly call it a day. Second, it wasn’t that he was growing terribly old to wield the ball or hurl the ball. At 33, most cricketers find their second and if things go well, a promising wind in international cricket. So the news is bound to surprise a lot many.
And last, since 2019 or so, the prominent left-arm pacer from Sri Lanka had evolved into a fine all-rounder. Hailing from a country where perhaps the best current all round cricketer is none other than Angelo Mathews, Isuru Udana had the big shots in his craft and the quick deliveries and a surprise slow bouncer with which he’d surprise-if not trample-batting attacks.
Then why suddenly did Isuru Udana, who first appeared for his country way back in 2009, as a talented 21-year-old cricketer, called time on his career renders some contemplation, even if there aren’t any immediate answers or promising ones on that front.
Yet, while we are yet to exactly come to the bottom of this sudden decision, it would pain the Sri Lankan fan, above all, to note that despite debuting over a decade back in the game, all that Udana came to play were no more than 21 ODIs and 33 T20Is.
If that’s not a painfully scant number of international appearances, then one wonders, what is?
Moreover, there weren’t any significant injuries, of late, that may have compelled Isuru Udana, who made his one-day debut against India, to take the hard or tough decision.
The following is what the all rounder had to say with regards to a call that’s bound to leave some sad and most others, utterly surprised:
“I believe the time has come for me to make way for the next generation of players,” Udana said. “It is with immense pride and passion, and unfathomable commitment that I have represented and served my country,” he’d conclude.
What beckons some thought is that this isn’t the first retirement for Sri Lanka, who only recently defeated India in the T20I series but lost the ODIs at home.
Earlier in May, one of the most promising all round cricketers to have emerged from the region, Thisara Perera, called time on an exciting career, a decision that left plenty in absolute shock.
With Mathews not around for immediate international duties, and the likes of Dinesh Chandimal not in the best of forms, one reckons, there’s a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of stars like Dimuth Karunaratne, for it is talents like he that now have the major responsibility of reforming Sri Lankan cricket.
That being said, his natural athleticism and passion for the game will make Isuru Udana’s sudden retirement hard to digest especially for doting fans of the Island paradise.