ARNOLD – from batting stylist to top TV broadcaster | Daily News

ARNOLD – from batting stylist to top TV broadcaster

From a stylish batting all rounder for Sri Lanka to a very knowledgeable, competent and listenable Television commentator for TEN SPORTS is RUSSEL ARNOLD. He hails from the school by the canal at Bambalapitiya, St.Peter’s College where he performed with great loyalty, honesty and dedication. It was from St. Peter’s that came other shining stars who rewrote the record books before him CLIVE INMAN, Dr. HERBERT FERNANDO, ROY DIAS, DAVID HEYN, AMAL SILVA, RUMESH RATNAYAKE and VINOTHEN JOHN.

Eye catching batsman

Left-handed, stylish and eye catching batsman who walked to the crease with his top shirt button undone INMAN holds the record for being the only Peterite batsman to score a double hundred 204 not out in the ‘Battle of the Saints’ against St. Joseph’s College in 1954.

ARNOLD is another product to emerge from the stables of Dr. H.I.K.Fernando who imparted to him, not only the finer points of the game verbally, but also showed him the strokes of a left hand batsman, off spinner and safe fielder. ARNOLD had natural talent in him and Fernando had only to do a bit of polishing and ARNOLD shone in as if polished with Kiwi polish.

ARNOLD began to unwind and score bags full of runs, take vital catches, take wickets for SPC then join the club that has produced champion cricketers Nondescripts Cricket Club.

Tutelage of Fernando

Coming under the tutelage of former Sri Lanka opening batsman and wicket keeper RANJIT FERNANDO who showed him how to accustom to the man’s game, from schoolboy level and finally sport the country’s colours.

So it can be seen that it was the two FERNANDOS who paved the path for ARNOLD to hit the bright lights in a career that brightened with every outing until he quit the game, leaving many exciting moments to remember.

I was on a tour of Zimababwe with the Sri Lanka cricket team covering the tour for the ‘Daily News’ and the ‘SUNDAY OBSERVER,’ where I had the good fortune to watch ARNOLD chisel out one of his treasured and memorable centuries in Bulawayo.

Effortless stroke play

I was in the company of Dr. Kitta Rajaratnam and his wife Soma who also soaked in the beautiful and effortless stroke play of ARNOLD. In Bulawayo Dr. Rajaratnam acted as the physician for the Sri Lanka team.

ARNOLD who has no connection to that balladeer EDDIE debuted in Test cricket against Pakistan in 1997 and his international debut was against South Africa in the following year. He showed ideal technique and temperament for both versions of the game. He started off as a batsman at the top where he made a lasting impression against Australia at the AIWA Cup of 1999.

Like all great players ARNOLD suffered a slump but by sheer courage and determination made big scores in club cricket which forced the selectors to recall him.

Favourite stroke

ARNOLD’S favourite stroke was the cut shot which he played with aplomb and was a beauty when executing that stroke which brought him a lot of runs. He is best remembered when he partnered former ‘master blaster’ Sanath Jayasuriya in his devastating knock of 189 in Sharjah against India.

ARNOLD batted in the number one slot for SPC where he showed good temperament against the new ball. But with former Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu hugging that slot, he was forced to find solace in the middle order.

ARNOLD it is said was forced to take to cricket by his grandfather. He was afforded the chance of a Test debut when regular opener Roshan Mahanama went out with an injury. His first foray into opening batting saw him make only 24 and 15 in the Test.

Known as ‘finisher’

ARNOLD was known as the ‘finisher’ in the limited-over game, a role associated with Michael Bevan and James Faulkner of Australia. He performed magnificently in that role. His memorable knocks were 91 not out against New Zeland,76 not out and his three figure score and 51 not out against Zimbabwe, 57 against Pakistan,49 not out and 68 not out against India.

Arnold’s knocks in Tests to remember - 123 and unbeaten 56 against Pakistan, 62 and 109 against England. He retired from the game after the 2007 World up. He is now a top class TV cricket commentator and TEN sports are fortunate to have him in their panel.

He is not biased like some commentators are, but gives praise where praise is due and is not afraid to take to task any cricketer who is not performing as he should and even administrators. ARNOLD can hold his own against the best in the world and can be classed with India’s Sunil Gavaskar in commentating.

RUSSEL ARNOLD is a pride to the game and country.


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