Ajantha Mendis, Sri Lanka's Mystery Spinner, Retires From Intl Cricket

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Sri Lanka's ‘mystery’ spinner Ajantha Mendis has announced his retirement from International Cricket. He took 288 wickets across the three formats of the game

Written By Jay Pandya | Mumbai | Updated On:
Ajantha Mendis

Sri Lankan ‘mystery’ spinner, Ajantha Mendis has announced his retirement from all forms of the game. He deceived many batsmen with his ‘carrom ball’, and other variations over the course of his international career which spanned for seven and a half years. He took 288 wickets across the three formats of the game. Mendis, who is 34, made his last appearance for Sri Lanka in 2015.

A short but impactful career

Mendis made his debut against West Indies in an ODI in April 2008 but he made his presence felt on the world stage with his exceptional bowling performance against India with figures of 6-13 in the Asia Cup final three months later. He took 70 wickets in 19 Tests, 152 in 87 ODIs and 66 in 39 T20Is. Mendis grabbed 26 wickets in his maiden Test series against India, a record for a maiden three-match campaign. He also went on to become the fastest player to take 50 ODI wickets in just 19 games, a record he still holds.

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Holder of records yet to be broken

Mendis holds the record for the best figures in T20 international cricket for his haul of 6-8 against Zimbabwe in 2012. He also took 6-16 in a T20 match against Australia in 2011, becoming the only man to take two six-wicket hauls in T20 internationals. He is the only cricketer to have a six-wicket haul in all three forms of cricket at the international level. Mendis was wicketless and gave away 49 runs in 5 overs when he last played for Sri Lanka against New Zealand in an ODI match in Christchurch.

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Frequent injuries restrained his career

Mendis is famously known for his ‘carrom ball’ - leg breaks produced by flicking the ball like a striker on a carrom board. After a while, his performances started to sink as batsmen found a way to play him. Frequent injuries played a part in hindering his career and soon he found himself out of the Sri Lankan team. He also featured in the 2011 edition of the World Cup in 2011 where he picked 7 wickets in 5 matches. He was also Sri Lanka’s leading spinner in the 2009 and 2012 editions of the T20 World Cup.

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In the past few years, Mendis has been captaining Police Sports Club in Sri Lanka's domestic Tier B tournament. He has been playing primarily as a batsman and bowling fewer overs. He has four half-centuries in his last eight innings. Former Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews congratulated him for his international career on Twitter. 

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