Gunathilaka quits Tests to concentrate on white-ball cricket

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The 30-year-old batter hasn’t been a regular in the longest format, having played the last of his eight Tests in December 2018

Gunathilaka’s call to quit the longest format is unsurprising. He hasn’t played a Test since 2018, with his eight appearances bringing him 299 runs. He hit two half-centuries, with a best of 61. His limited-overs career, however, has been more fruitful. In 44 ODIs, he has scored 1520 runs at an average of 36.19, while in T20Is, he has 568 runs in 30 matches at a strike rate of 121.62.

Those numbers might have been a bit higher had it not been for Gunathilaka’s frequent run-ins with the SLC over disciplinary issues. Since his international debut towards the end of 2015, Gunathilaka has served three separate suspensions, the latest of which came last year for breaching biobubble protocols – along with Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella – while on tour in England. That earned the three of them one-year bans, which, though, were lifted yesterday, six months early. He had previously been suspended for breaking a team curfew and showing an indifferent attitude to training.

The fact that he remained in the national frame despite these infractions speaks of the left-hander’s potential. He most recently scored a blistering half-century in the Lanka Premier League final, and he had top-scored in the tournament’s inaugural edition in 2020 too.

As for Rajapaksa, he had cited “familial obligations” for his decision to end his career after just a bit over two years at the international level, in which he played five ODIs and 18 T20Is.

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