One of the finest batsmen of his era, Sri Lanka’s Aravinda de Silva celebrates his 51st birthday today.
Considered his country’s first cricket superstar, De Silva inspired a generation in the island to take up the sport. In the early part of his career, he was inconsistent and often erratic, which earned him the nickname “Mad Max”, which stuck with him even when he blossomed into one of the most elegant batsmen in the 1990s.
The pocketsized De Silva had virtually every shot in the book. He peaked in the mid-90s, helping Sri Lanka win the 1996 World Cup, and to date, he’s the only player to make a hundred and take three or more wickets in a World Cup final. In 1997 he hit six centuries in consecutive innings in Tests in Colombo.
He retired after the 2003 World Cup and was appointed a member of Sri Lanka’s selection committee.
More sport star birthdays on this day:
1969: Ernie Els, South African former world No1 golfer, who has won four majors (47).
1970: Anil Kumble, Indian former cricketer, who is the current head coach of the India cricket team (46).
1977: Andre Villas-Boas, Portuguese football manager, who coached Chelsea and Tottenham (39).
1979: Kimi Raikkonen, Finnish Formula One driver, who drives for Ferrari. Won the championship in 2007 (37).
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