From the King of Zeroes to the King of the Lankan Heroes
From the King of Zeros to the King of the Lankan Heroes,Marvan Atapattu has seen all these transformations in his International Career, which began as early as 1990/91.
Marvan Atapattu’s one-day career took off in the Singer Cup at Sharjah, 1996/97; he scored three consecutive half centuries against Pakistan and Zimbabwe in the tournament. That was the turning point of his International Career. He shut off all the memories of his first 9 ODI innings where in he got only 69 runs. With his consistent show in the One Dayers, Atapattu was recalled to the Lankan Test Side to play against Pakistan and then the two Test series – one at home and other in India against India. Atapattu got back to the place where all his woes began – Chandigarh and Marvan quickly changed his fortunes in the same city with a classic 108 and this innings got his place cemented in the Sri Lankan line up for years to follow. Believe it or not, prior to this 108, Marvan Atapattu’s first 18 Test innings yielded only 183 runs with a dismal average of 10.1! Definitely an average, which would have made a B.S.Chandrashekar or a Bishen Singh Bedi or a Courtney Walsh proud, but not top order batsmen like Atapattu. That hundred against India was just the right fillip for a prolific career to take off; Atapattu not only started to score centuries but also scored them real big. He’s now known for his uncanny ability to score double centuries than his zeros. Only the great Don Bradman (12), Wally Hammond and Brian Lara (7) have been better than Marvan Atapattu in scoring doublecenturies, and who knows Marvan could still beat the Don’s record of 12 double tons, if he keeps fit for another 5-6 years atleast.
Marvan Atapattu is a shaky starter, but once he gets a feel of the things in the middle, then he’s one of the most elegant players to watch and also one of the most difficult batsmen to dismiss. Marvan Atapattu’s best shots are the square cuts and the classical cover drives and on drives. He has been the ideal opening partner for the dangerous Sanath Jayasuriya and these two have formed a formidable pair at the Test Level. Atapattu has now scored almost 7,000 runs in 215 ODIs (time of writing this article) with a healthy average of above 36 with 10 hundreds and 47 fifties. One minus point in his One-day batting is his inability to hit the big sixes. In 75 Test matches (time of writing this article), Marvan has scored almost 5,000 runs at an average of more than 40 with 15 hundreds and 12 fifties, great conversion from 50 to 100 indeed! With such a career record, Marvan Atapattu would definitely be rated among the Good Players if not the Great Players.
Captaincy came to Marvan Atapattu in 2003 and so far he has been as good as possible with his job. Marvan Atapattu is a smart captain, who uses his resources with utmost shrewdness and this has been shown to the fullest in the recent Asia Cup. Sri Lanka looks promising under Marvan’s captaincy and much more is going to come out of this King of the Lankan Heroes. Marvan Atapattu’s career is nothing but an illustration of the old proverb:
Failure is a stepping-stone to success”.