The Asia Cup has been a happy hunting ground for Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya, one of the most explosive batsmen ever in ODI cricket.
The former all-rounder, who amassed over 13,000 runs in the 50-over format, also holds the record for the most runs in an Asia Cup tournament. Jayasuriya accumulated 378 runs in the 2008 edition, which was held in Pakistan, to help the islanders lift the trophy.
This was the first Asia Cup hosted by Pakistan and, like in the previous edition in 2004, featured six teams, the others being Bangladesh, Hong Kong and UAE.
Jayasuriya smashed a pair of centuries, the first an 88-ball 130 to help his team thrash Bangladesh by 156 runs in a Super Fours match and then repeated the feat in the final against India where he scored 125 off 114 balls. His innings was punctuated with five big sixes and nine smashing boundaries.
This despite the fact that Jayasuriya played the first half-decade of his career essentially as a left-arm bowler.
It’s hard to imagine that for the first half-decade of his career, Sanath Jayasuriya was primarily a left-arm spin bowler, who could bat a bit.
But blessed with an exceptional hand-eye coordination, he soon began carving a niche for himself as an attacking batsman, who could destroy any bowling attack, and in every form of the game.
Upon his retirement in 2011 Jayasuriya would take up the post as Chairman of Selectors in the Sri Lankan Cricket Board, a position that he held with a great deal of passion, until he quit his post in 2017, as a result of the poor form of the national cricket team.
However, the legacy that he left behind during an 18-year career between 1989-2011, will live long.
He has also held the world record for most ODI sixes (270 in 441 ODIs), which was surpassed by Shahid Afridi during the 2010 Asia Cup match against Bangladesh.
He also became the fourth batsman to score more than 10,000 runs and the second batsman to score more than 12,000, and 13,000 runs in the history of ODIs.