The Most Famous

CRICKETERS from Sri Lanka

Icon of occuation in country

This page contains a list of the greatest Sri Lankan Cricketers. The pantheon dataset contains 67 Cricketers, 5 of which were born in Sri Lanka. This makes Sri Lanka the birth place of the 4th most number of Cricketers behind Australia and Pakistan.

Top 5

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the most legendary Sri Lankan Cricketers of all time. This list of famous Sri Lankan Cricketers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity.

Photo of Muttiah Muralitharan

1. Muttiah Muralitharan (1972 - )

With an HPI of 45.05, Muttiah Muralitharan is the most famous Sri Lankan Cricketer.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages on wikipedia.

Deshabandu Muttiah Muralitharan (Tamil: முத்தையா முரளிதரன், Sinhala: මුත්තයියා මුරලිදරන් also spelt Muralidaran; born 17 April 1972) is a Sri Lankan cricket coach, former professional cricketer, businessman and a member of the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. Averaging over 6 wickets per test match, Murali is regarded as one of the greatest and most successful bowler ever to play international cricket. He is the only bowler to take 800 test wickets and 530+ ODI wickets. As of October 2021, he has taken more wickets in international cricket than any other bowler.Muralitharan's international career was beset by controversy over his bowling action. Due to an unusual hyperextension of his congenitally bent arm during delivery, his bowling action was called into question on a number of occasions by umpires and sections of the cricket community. After biomechanical analysis under simulated playing conditions, Muralitharan's action was cleared by the International Cricket Council, first in 1996 and again in 1999.Muralitharan held the number one spot in the International Cricket Council's player rankings for Test bowlers for a record period of 1,711 days spanning 214 Test matches. He became the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket when he overtook the previous record-holder Shane Warne on 3 December 2007. Muralitharan had previously held the record when he surpassed Courtney Walsh's 519 wickets in 2004, but he suffered a shoulder injury later that year and was overtaken by Warne. Muralitharan took the wicket of Gautam Gambhir on 5 February 2009 in Colombo to surpass Wasim Akram's ODI record of 502 wickets. He retired from Test cricket in 2010, registering his 800th and final wicket on 22 July 2010 from his final ball in his last Test match.Muralitharan was rated the greatest Test match bowler by Wisden's Cricketers' Almanack in 2002, and in 2017 was the first Sri Lankan cricketer to be inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. He won the Ada Derana Sri Lankan of the Year award in 2017.

Photo of Sanath Jayasuriya

2. Sanath Jayasuriya (1969 - )

With an HPI of 43.57, Sanath Jayasuriya is the 2nd most famous Sri Lankan Cricketer.  Her biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Deshabandu Sanath Teran Jayasuriya (Tamil: சனத் ஜெயசூர்யா; born 30 June 1969), popularly known as Master Blaster is a former Sri Lankan cricketer and a captain. Jayasuriya is credited for having revolutionized one-day international cricket with his explosive batting with Romesh Kaluwitharana in the mid 1990s, which initiated the hard-hitting modern-day batting strategy of all nations. Considered one of the greatest attacking batsmen of all time, Jayasuriya is well known for his powerful striking and match-winning all-round performances in all formats of the game. Jayasuriya was an all-rounder, who had an international cricket career that spread over two decades. He is the only player to score over 10,000 runs and capture more than 300 wickets in One Day International cricket. Regarded as one of the best all-rounders in the history of limited-overs cricket, Jayasuriya created many records during his career.He was named the Most Valuable Player of 1996 Cricket World Cup and Wisden Cricketers' Almanack broke an age-old tradition by naming him one of Five Cricketers' of the Year 1997 despite not playing the previous season in England. Jayasuriya was also the captain of the Sri Lankan cricket team from 1999 to 2003. He was also a key member of the team that won the 1996 Cricket World Cup and was part of the team that made the finals of 2007 Cricket World Cup and 2009 ICC World Twenty20. He retired from Test cricket in December 2007 and from limited-overs cricket in June 2011. On 28 January 2013, Sri Lanka Cricket appointed him as the chairman of the cricket selection committee. Sri Lanka won the ICC World Twenty20 for the first time in 2014, during his tenure as the chief selector. Jayasuriya ran for public office at the 2010 Sri Lankan general elections and was elected to the parliament from his native Matara District. He topped the UPFA parliamentary election list for Matara district by obtaining 74,352 preferential votes. He served as the deputy minister of Postal services in the former UPFA government led by Mahinda Rajapaksa, and later as the Deputy Minister of Local Government & Rural Development under president Maithripala Sirisena. Jayasuriya did not contest for the 2015 Sri Lankan general election, though he won most votes from Matara district under UPFA in the 2010 Sri Lankan general election. He is currently not active in politics.

Photo of Kumar Sangakkara

3. Kumar Sangakkara (1977 - )

With an HPI of 42.08, Kumar Sangakkara is the 3rd most famous Sri Lankan Cricketer.  His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.

Kumar Chokshanada Sangakkara (Sinhala: කුමාර් චොක්ශනාද සංගක්කාර; born 27 October 1977) is a Sri Lankan cricket commentator, former professional cricketer, businessman, ICC Hall of Fame inductee, and the former president of Marylebone Cricket Club. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wicket-keeper-batters in the history of the sport. He was officially rated in the top three current batsmen in the world in all three formats of the game at various stages of his international career. Sangakkara scored 28,016 runs in international cricket across all formats in a career that spanned 15 years. At retirement, he was the second-highest run-scorer in ODI cricket, next only to Sachin Tendulkar, and the sixth-highest run scorer in Test cricket.As a player, Sangakkara was a left-handed top-order batsman and was also a wicket-keeper for a large proportion of his career. Sangakkara holds many Test records, having been the fastest, or joint-fastest (in terms of innings) to various run milestones in Test cricket. Sangakkara's partnership with Mahela Jayawardene was the second most prolific in the history of Test cricket. Additionally, he holds the record for the most wicket keeping dismissals in ODI cricket.Sangakkara won the ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2012 and won many other awards for both Test and ODI cricket. He was selected as Leading Cricketer in the World in the 2012 and 2015 editions of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, becoming the second player to have won this award twice. Sangakkara was rated as the Greatest ODI player of all time in a public poll conducted by Cricket Australia in 2016. He won the Man of the Match in the finals of the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 tournament and was part of the team that made the final of the 2007 Cricket World Cup, 2011 Cricket World Cup, 2009 ICC World Twenty20 and 2012 ICC World Twenty20. He won the Man of the Match award in the final of the 2014 ICC World Twenty20, where he helped Sri Lanka win their first title. In 2019, he was appointed President of the MCC, the first non-British person to be appointed to the position since the club was founded in 1787. He was the youngest person and the first active international player to deliver the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture, which was widely praised by the cricketing community for its outspoken nature. In June 2021, he was inducted to the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame and became the second Sri Lankan to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame after Muttiah Muralitharan.

Photo of Mahela Jayawardene

4. Mahela Jayawardene (1977 - )

With an HPI of 39.02, Mahela Jayawardene is the 4th most famous Sri Lankan Cricketer.  His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.

Denagamage Praboth Mahela de Silva Jayawardene (Sinhala: දෙනගමගේ ප්‍රබෝත් මහේල ද සිල්වා ජයවර්ධන; born 27 May 1977) is a former Sri Lankan cricketer who is also the current consultant coach of Sri Lanka national cricket team. Mahela is the most successful captain for Sri Lanka along with Sanath Jayasuriya. During the time of his captaincy, he was known mainly for his tactical acumen for decades and was rewarded for his captaincy instincts. He made his Test cricket debut in August 1997 and his One Day International (ODI) debut the following season in January 1998. In 2006 along with his team mate Kumar Sangakkara, Jayawardene made the highest ever partnership in first Class cricket, scoring 624 runs for the third wicket in the first test match of Sri Lanka's home series against South Africa. He appeared in 652 international matches representing Sri Lanka in a career spanning for about 18 years. During his international career, he also formed a healthy relationship and friendship with fellow veteran player Kumar Sangakkara.Mahela is the first player in the history of Sri Lankan cricket to score over 10,000 Test runs and is also the second Sri Lankan player to score more than 10,000 runs in ODIs after Sanath Jayasuriya. Mahela Jayawardene currently serves as the Chairman of Sri Lanka National Sports Council.Jayawardene's highest test score, 374 against South Africa, is the highest score by a right-handed batsman in the history of Test cricket. Along with teammate Sangakkara, he has the most career partnership runs for the 3rd wicket in Tests, scoring 5890 runs surpassing the 5826 run record of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar. Jayawardene was a key member of the team that won the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 and was part of the team that made to the final of 2007 Cricket World Cup, 2011 Cricket World Cup, 2009 ICC World Twenty20 and 2012 ICC World Twenty20. In 2006, Jayawardene was named by the International Cricket Council as the best International captain of the year and was nominated in 2007 as the best Test cricket player of the year. He is also known for his fielding skills in the inner ring, with a report prepared by Cricinfo in late 2005 showing that since the 1999 Cricket World Cup, he had effected the most run-outs in ODI cricket of any fieldsman, with the fifth highest run-out/match ratio in ODI's. Statistics also reveal that c Jayawardene b Muralitharan is the most common bowler-fielder combination in the history of Test cricket.Jayawardene also worked as an international TV commentator in the first test at Headingley on 19 May 2016 between England and Sri Lanka. Mahela Jayawardene holds the unique record of being the only player as of now to have scored a hundred in both a World Cup final and a World Cup semi-final. He is also the only player to have scored a century in a World Cup final in a losing cause.He also serves as a board member in several unlisted public limited companies in Sri Lanka. He has been a vocal critic of Sri Lanka Cricket over the years especially after 2015 where Sri Lanka national cricket has suffered the worst decline at international cricket.In November 2021, he was inducted to the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. He became only the third Sri Lankan to be inducted to the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame after Muttiah Muralitharan and Kumar Sangakkara.

Photo of Lasith Malinga

5. Lasith Malinga (1983 - )

With an HPI of 38.20, Lasith Malinga is the 5th most famous Sri Lankan Cricketer.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Separamadu Lasith Malinga (Sinhala: සෙපරමාදු ලසිත් මාලිංග; born 28 August 1983) also known as "Slinga Malinga", is a former Sri Lankan cricketer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest limited overs bowlers of all time. Malinga captained the Sri Lankan 2014 T20 World Cup winning side and he is the highest wicket taker in IPL and is the only bowler to take 4 wickets in 4 balls twice in international cricket .Malinga is a right-arm fast bowler that is commonly used as a specialist death bowler, and is well known for his distinctive round-arm action, sometimes referred to as a sling action, which leads to his nickname "Slinga Malinga". Malinga announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on 14 September 2021. Malinga's unorthodox action and dipping slower ball yorkers are credited with much of his success. He changed the dynamics and landscape of death bowling in limited overs cricket by bowling his toe crushing yorkers. He is best known for his ability to take consecutive wickets, with in-swinging yorkers: he is the only bowler in the world to have two World Cup hat-tricks, first bowler to take a double hatrick, the only bowler to have taken three hat-tricks in ODIs and only bowler to have two double hatricks. He is also the first bowler to take five hat-tricks across all formats of international cricket, and holds the record for most hat-tricks in international cricket.On 22 April 2011, he announced his retirement from Test cricket. He has been named as the official event ambassador for the World Twenty20 Championships by ICC. On 26 July 2019, he retired from One Day International cricket after the first ODI against Bangladesh.In September 2019, during the series against New Zealand, Malinga became the first bowler to take 100 wickets in Twenty20 International cricket. Malinga took a hat-trick to become the first bowler to claim two T20I hat-tricks, and four wickets in four balls, in the third over of his spell, while becoming the second bowler in the world to take four wickets in four consecutive balls in T20I history after Rashid Khan during the process.In January 2021, he retired from T20 franchise cricket. In September 2021, Malinga announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. He is also currently the highest wicket taker in IPL with 170 wickets in 122 matches.

Pantheon has 5 people classified as cricketers born between 1969 and 1983. Of these 5, 5 (100.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living cricketers include Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya, and Kumar Sangakkara. As of October 2020, 2 new cricketers have been added to Pantheon including Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene.

Living Cricketers

Go to all Rankings

Newly Added Cricketers (2020)

Go to all Rankings