Roshan Mahanama: 10 facts about the Sri Lankan cricketer who donned many hats

Born May 31, 1966 in Colombo, Roshan Mahanama is a former Sri Lankan cricketer, a right-handed batsman and a live-wire fielder on the field. Mahanama was a part of Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning side in 1996 and played a key role in the campaign. He has donned many hats in his career from being a cricketer to officiating matches and running a business.  On his 50th birthday, Suraj Choudhari jots down 10 interesting facts about the intelligent yet elegant Sri Lankan cricketer.

1.  Highest Test score: Mahanama featured in 51 Tests for Sri Lanka and his finest performance in Tests came against India at Colombo in 1997. He stuck to his guns and smashed a tenacious 225 as his side posted a colossal 952 only to conclude a draw. This was also the highest team total by any team in an innings in the history of Test cricket.

2.  Record partnership: Mahanama along with Sanath Jayasuriya stitched the then highest second wicket partnership in Test cricket of 576 runs in the same Test. The record was later overhauled by his compatriots Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene in 2006.

3.  Axed after 1999 WC: Sri Lanka were the defending champions going into the 1999 World Cup and a lot was expected from the side. But an awful outing by the team saw some players being axed and one of them was Mahanama. He had an ordinary outing in the whole tournament as the five games which he played saw him scoring just 136 runs at an average of 27.20. He was dropped from the side after this, a move which was meant to be given budding talents an opportunity.

4.  Called it a day: Mahanama decided to call it a day from international cricket when he figured out that players older than him were given an opportunity in the side.

5.  ICC referee: Like many other cricketers, Mahanama managed to be associated with the game even after his retirement. Mahanama debuted as ICC match referee in an ODI between West Indies and Bangladesh in Kingstown in 2004. He officiated in 318 international matches across formats – the fourth highest only behind Ranjan Madugalle, Chris Broad and Jeff Crowe. He hung his boots from the panel in December 2015.

6.  Retired hurt: Mahanama expressed his views and disappointment in his biography ‘Retired Hurt’ which was written by Australian sports chronicler Ken Piesse. The book highlights the ups and downs of his career.

7.  First to officiate: Mahanama was also the first to officiate the historical Australia-New Zealand day-night Test in Adelaide.

8.  Magnificent catches: Mahanama was inarguably one of the finest fielders ever produced by Sri Lanka and throughout his career he cupped some mind-blowing catches. Here are few videos of his brilliance on the field.

9.  Quality time with family: The reason Mahanama cited behind his stepping down from the elite panel of the ICC match referee panel was that he wanted to spend time with his family and take a break from cricket.

10.  Business: Mahanama also runs a pharmaceutical distribution business back in Sri Lanka. Apart from this, he has number of startups to his name namely Zamon, an app which enables consumers order coffee and food from connected cafés on the go. He also created Live Connected.

(Suraj Choudharian avid cricket follower who plays the sport at club level, is a staffer with CricLife)