Home > Features >

Rangana Herath: Spectacular yet remains underrated

Rangana Herath picked nine for 127 to become the first left-arm bowler to bag nine wickets in an innings © AFP
Rangana Herath picked nine for 127 to become the first left-arm bowler to bag nine wickets in an innings © AFP

Rangana Hearth continues to be the bedrock of the Sri Lankan bowling attack after the retirement of Test cricket’s highest wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan. R Vishal analyses as to why the left-arm spinner is underrated despite his immaculate consistency.

There have been 19 five wicket hauls and three 10 wicket hauls since 2009, but as the story of his career has been so far, Rangana Herath’s herculean feats still largely remain unnoticed by the cricketing fraternity. During his latest five-wicket scalp against Pakistan in Colombo (SSC), he became the fourth-fastest bowler in history to take 250 Test wickets. The only ones who beat him to the feat are Shane Warne, Anil Kumble and the colossal name, whose shadow perpetually looms over him, Muttiah Muralitharan.

Just ask Virat Kohli or a Cheteshwar Pujara how it is to deal with a collective pressure of a demanding cricket nation to fill in the boots of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid respectively. While that story is still in its infancy, Herath took to the role with aplomb. While Murali had an able strike bowler in Chaminda Vaas in his halcyon days, Herath has lacked an able support bowler to aid him. The Lankan pacers continue to deliver blink-and-miss performances and the team management has had little choice but to chop and change.

A one-man show? Possibly. Out of the 21 Test wins that he has been a part of, Herath has taken 107 wickets at a whopping average of 22.04. The burden of expectations clearly decodes the Hearth code here. He was never perhaps rated highly enough, right from the onset to come this far. While Hearth had to wait till his early 30′s to cement a place in the team, quite a few spinners from Upul Chandana to Ajantha Mendis were tried out in the first decade of the millennium to play second fiddle to Murali.

Sri Lankan administrators have had a reputation of having an eye for the unconventional. The carrom ball and the sling-arm pace is now a part of the Island Nation’s folklore. There is nothing spectacular about Herath. A run-up that is only a few paces, barely intimidating and the arm going down in one fluent motion — a far cry from the variation specialists that are in vogue. It is perhaps this simple, workmanlike approach that has only reluctantly brought in the plaudits for the short, stocky spinner. He continues to breeze through match after match, bowling more than 40 overs in an innings and despite his portly frame, remains as fit as anyone around.

Being only the fourth left-arm spinner to reach the 250 mark, one of cricket’s finest late bloomers in the 21st century is well on his way to the summit of that list. Now 36, Herath, at this rate can very well touch 40 without a dip in his consistency. His exemplary work over the last five years stands testament and the cricketing world continues in its mad quest for the flashy and the spectacular. Herath, meanwhile trundles on , setting up batsmen and outfoxing them using the basics with immaculate precision.

Complete coverage of Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka 2014

(R Vishal is a journalist and alumnus of Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Mohali

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 22, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014  at Raipur

NK won by 33 runs (D/L method)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 18, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 5 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 17, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Northern Knights won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 16, 2014  at Raipur

Lahore Lions won by 55 runs

Photos

CSK vs KKR, Match 1 CLT20 2014

Videos

Anderson plays golf with Jaguar competition winners

Live Cricket Score Cape Cobras vs Northern Knights, CLT20 2014: Northern Knights win by 33 runs via D/L method

Furious MS Dhoni and CSK check out of Hyderabad hotel following Biryani episode

Chris Cairns cleaning bus shelters? Why?

Herbert Chang: The Jamaican of Chinese origin who wasted his life in South Africa

Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014: Kings XI Punjab’s batting gets the extra punch with Thisara Perera’s inclusion

Cape Cobras Champions League T20 Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 CSK vs KKR Hobart Hurricanes Hobart Hurricanes vs Kings XI Punjab Kings XI Punjab Kings XI Punjab vs Hobart Hurricanes KKR vs CSK Kolkata Knight Riders Northern Knights Pakistan

Kane Williamson: Always trying to work on my shots

Northern Knights win by 33 runs through D/L method against Cape Cobras in CLT20 2014, 3rd match

Cape Cobras consolidate after early breakthrough against Northern Knights in CLT20 2014, 3rd match

Hashim Amla dismissed for Cape Cobras against Northern Nights in CLT20 2014, 3rd match

Trent Boult dismisses Stiaan van Zyl for Northern Knights against Cape Cobras in CLT20 2014, 3rd match

Northern Knights vs Cape Cobras in CLT20 2014, 3rd match: 5 talking points

Ramesh Saxena: The Bihar mainstay with a restricted Test career

Pananmal Punjabi: A nonagenarian Test opener

Don Bradman’s 99.94 — the hand of Neil Harvey in the average

Chris Cairns cleaning bus shelters? Why?

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

669 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Hobart Hurricanes (HH) CLT20 2014

iPhone 6 launch: Tim Cook kicks off sale at Palo Alto Retail Store, obliges fans with selfies

Alibaba shares debut at $92.70 on New York Stock Exchange

Deepika Padukone Speaks Against the ‘Times of India’ Decision to Post the ‘Cleavage Show’

खाना को चबाने के पाँच फ़ायदें

Qubool Hai: Will Aahil make Sanam cry?

5 things that make Sonam Kapoor’s Khoobsurat different from Rekha’s original

Parineeti Chopra and Aditya Roy Kapoor’s ‘Daawat-e-Ishq’ Leaves Audience Hungry For More

सेक्स टिप #2: केला खाकर अपने सेक्स लाइफ को बनाए बेहतर

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here