Posted by anccricket on October 26, 2008 at 6:15 AM
Full name Warushavithana Upul Tharanga
Born February 2, 1985, Balapitiya
Major teams Sri Lanka, Asia XI, Nondescripts Cricket Club, Ruhuna, Singha Sports Club, Sri Lanka Board President's XI, Sri Lanka Board XI
Playing role Batsman
Batting style Left-hand bat
Fielding position Occasional wicketkeeper
Upul Tharanga's call-up to the national one-day squad in July 2005 brightened a year marred by the Asian tsunami, which washed away his family home in Ambalangoda, a fishing town on the west coast. From an early age he was tipped for the big time, playing Premier League cricket for Singha CC at the age of 15 and passing seamlessly and successfully through the Sri Lanka under-15, under-17 and under-19 development squads. He first really caught the eye during the under-19 World Cup in 2004 when he cracked 117 against South Africa and then 61 in 42 balls against India in the next game. Then, after a successful tour with the under-19 team to Pakistan, during which he scored half-centuries in each of the two Tests and two one-day matches, the Sri Lankan board sent him to play league cricket in Essex, where he starred for Loughton Cricket Club. He soon graduated to the A team and after accomplished performances against West Indies A earlier he was selected for the national squad a week later. However, it was on the 2006 tour of England that he really began to develop, especially in the one-day game, with an outstanding century at Lord's in the first match of Sri Lanka's 5-0 whitewash. Back-to-back centuries followed in the Champions Trophy and he was formed a destructive partnership with Sanath Jayasuriya without having to compromise his natural flair. He is also a skillful wicketkeeper.