Ajantha Mendis Retires from all forms of cricket
Sri Lankan off-spinner Ajantha Mendis has retired from all forms of cricket. A pioneer of the type of spin-bowling which has become so prominent in the shortest form of the game, Mendis boasted an array of different delivery types and was one of the first to include the carrom ball in his weaponry.
Much of his career success came relatively early, with injuries and perhaps the loss of the element of surprise contributing to a drop in his performance in the latter stages of his cricketing life. He burst onto the ODI scene with 3/39 against the West Indies in his debut, before playing a huge role in his team's Asia Cup victory just a couple of games later. After 11 wickets in the first four games, he snared 6/13 in the final against India to lead Sri Lanka to a famous win.
Later that year, with his talent becoming recognised the world over, he made his T20I debut, and unsurprisingly his unique bowling style had an immediate impact. In his first five games, he picked up 4/15, 4/17, 3/23, 3/20 and 2/25, demonstrating an incredible ability to pick up wickets and restrict runs in a form of the game which demanded both.
Though, as mentioned, the latter half of his career was less impressive, he still leaves the international circuit with some excellent numbers. He managed just 19 Tests for 70 wickets at 34.77, but in ODI's and T20's his numbers show just how dangerous he was. He represented Sri Lanka 87 times in the 50-over format, picking up 152 wickets at an average of just 21.86 and conceding just 4.8 runs per over. His 39 T20I's could have easily been more - as could his 87 ODI's - if it weren't for injuries, but he still made a major impact in that time, collecting 66 wickets for his country at an average of just 14.42 and a strike rate of just 6.45. Also worth noting are his best figures in the shortest format of the game - his 6/8 against Zimbabwe in the 2012 T20 World Cup remain the best in T20I history.
At 34 years of age and having not played international cricket since 2015, the announcement isn't exactly a major surprise. But while he may not have gone out at the peak of his powers, Mendis will long be remembered in Sri Lankan cricket as one of the most talented spinners in the modern era.