Picking a bowler of the month is never an easy task. However, there are certain things that just make some players stand out head and shoulders above their compatriots. Rangana Herath is that man this month.
In August, he snapped up 27 wickets across all five international matches he played (all formats included). It was almost double that of the second-placed wicket takers of the month.
|Highest wicket-takers in all international cricket, August 2014|
|HMRKB Herath (SL)||5||27||441||27||14/184||16.33||3.04||32.1||3||1|
|J Nyumbu (Zim)||7||10||446||14||5/181||31.85||4.25||44.9||1||0|
|Wahab Riaz (Pak)||4||7||321||14||6/164||22.92||4.58||30||0||0|
|DW Steyn (SA)||3||22||174||12||8/84||14.5||2.78||31.2||1||0|
|Al-Amin Hossain (Ban)||4||2||170||10||4/51||17||5.93||17.2||0||0|
Three five-fors and a ten-for in the month takes a really special kind of player. We had already analysed one individual performance in context of it being one of the best of the 21st Century, but there were other achievements Herath notched up, too.
He made a case for southpaws by becoming the first left-arm bowler in history to grab nine wickets.
In another and somewhat more obscure stat, he is only the seventh bowler who has 200 maidens against Pakistan in international matches. However, it can be argued that this is simply because of the amount of cricket that is played rather than an interesting tidbit.
It’s great to see players like Herath thrive. He is a simple and orthodox bowler who keeps things simple to bamboozle his opponents.
As the debate about “chucking” continues to rage on and the ICC continues to clamp down on players’ actions, player like Herath are a breath of fresh air. He has proven that with a little bit of patience, there is still room for traditional spin bowlers. Orthodox bowlers can be successful, if not more successful than their so-called innovative counterparts.
Herath’s achievements in August should, hopefully, go on to inspire a few other bowlers to take up the wonderful art of orthodox spin.
From here, Herath looks set for a well-earned break. He has no team involvement at the Champions League Twenty20 tournament in September, while Sri Lanka are not called into action again until November.
England are the next visitors to the country for a series of ODIs, with preparations stepping up a gear for the World Cup in early 2015.