|Bhanuka Rajapaksa Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 9 in|
|Date of Birth||October 24, 1991|
Bhanuka Rajapaksa is a Sri Lankan professional cricketer who has represented his country primarily in the shorter formats (ODIs and T20Is) of the sport, as a middle-order batter. In the Sri Lankan domestic circuit, he has played for Sinhalese Sports Club and Nondescripts Cricket Club across all 3 formats. In franchise-based T20 leagues around the world, he has turned out for Cumilla Warriors (2019-20) and Khulna Tigers (2020) in the BPL (Bangladesh Premier League); Galle Gladiators (2020-2021), and Dambulla Giants (2022) in the LPL (Lankan Premier League); and Punjab Kings (2022-Present) in the IPL (Indian Premier League). Bhanuka has also played domestic cricket outside of his home country representing Barisal Division (2009-10) in Bangladesh.
Pramod Bhanuka Bandara Rajapaksa
Colombo, Western Province, Sri Lanka
Colombo, Western Province, Sri Lanka
Bhanuka had attended the Royal College, a selective entry boys’ school located in Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo.
- Siblings – Senuka Rajapaksa (Younger Brother) (Cricketer), Yenuka Bandularatna (Sister)
- 54 – One Day International (ODI), Punjab Kings (IPL)
- 54, 24 – T20 International (T20I)
5 ft 9 in or 175 cm
76 kg or 167.5 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Bhanuka has dated –
- Sandrine Pereira (2019-Present) – Bhanuka started dating Sandrine Pereira in 2019 and the couple got married in April 2021.
Race / Ethnicity
He is of Sri Lankan descent.
- Toned physique
- Short-cropped, side-parted hair
- Sports a trimmed beard
- Affable smile
Bhanuka Rajapaksa Facts
- A teenage prodigy, Bhanuka excelled at cricket during his time at the Royal College in Colombo. He was also quite good at squash and swimming.
- He first came into the spotlight at the 2010 ICC (International Cricket Council) Under-19 Cricket World Cup held in New Zealand. He finished as the leading run-scorer for Sri Lanka with 253 runs, as the team ended up 4th in the 16-team competition.
- A year earlier, in 2009, on a tour of Australia, representing Sri Lanka Under-19 against Australia Under-19, he smashed 154 runs not out off just 111 balls in a Youth ODI match and finished the series as the leading run-scorer. As of September 2022, this remains the 2nd-highest individual score for Sri Lanka in Youth ODIs. He eventually became the first Sri Lankan player to amass 1,000 runs in Youth ODI matches.
- In 2011, Bhanuka became just the 4th player to have won the ‘Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year’ award twice for his performance in the country’s premier schools league. He was also named the ‘Young Emerging Player’ at the CEAT Sri Lanka Cricket Awards in 2011.
- His T20I (and international) debut came in a 3-match bilateral away series against Pakistan in October 2019. Despite a fairly decent record in domestic cricket, he had to wait for about 10 years, since making his domestic cricket debut, to play his first senior-level international match for Sri Lanka.
- This selection too was fortuitous as several senior players were hesitant to make the trip to Pakistan because international cricket was only returning there at a snail’s pace after the March 2009 terrorist attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan senior national team near the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab.
- Some other players were injured as well which meant that Sri Lanka had to send a third-string team to Pakistan for that series of matches. Bhanuka, in the first match of that series, his international debut, scored 32 runs off 22 balls in a 64-run victory. It was Sri Lanka’s first win against Pakistan (in this format) since December 2013.
- In the second match of the series, he smashed 77 runs off just 48 balls as Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 35 runs. He was named the ‘Player of the Match’ for his stellar performance. This gave Sri Lanka an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series, their first series win ever against Pakistan in a T20I bilateral series.
- Sri Lanka won the last match of the series by 13 runs. This was the first time that Sri Lanka had won a three-match T20I series by a 3–0 margin, and the first time that Pakistan had been whitewashed in a bilateral T20I series. Bhanuka finished the series with 112 runs, the most by any player on either side.
- In July 2021, he was suspended for a year from all forms of cricket by Sri Lanka Cricket (the governing body for the sport in Sri Lanka) for not gaining the required permission from the board to give media interviews.
- In the early days of January 2022, Bhanuka announced his international retirement at the age of just 30, citing familial obligations. Most cricket fans and journalists, however, knew that the sudden and shocking decision had more to do with the Sri Lankan coaching staff often criticizing him publicly for his fitness and dropping him from the national team quite often on that ground. About a week after the announcement, he withdrew his retirement upon a request from the Sri Lankan sports minister.
- He would go on to redeem himself at the 2022 edition of the Asia Cup, a men’s continental cricket tournament founded to promote goodwill between Asian countries. It was the 15th edition of the tournament overall and the 2nd to be held in the T20I format. In Sri Lanka’s opening match of the tournament, he top-scored for the team with 38 runs off 29 balls but Afghanistan embarrassed Sri Lanka by bowling them out for just 105 runs and then running down the target in a mere 10.1 overs to win by 8 wickets.
- Sri Lanka then chased down a steep target of 184 runs in a tension-filled match against Bangladesh to scrape through to the 2nd round of the tournament. In the opening match of that round, again against Afghanistan, he smoked 31 runs off just 14 balls to steer his team to a 4-wicket win in a chase of 176 runs, the most number of runs successfully hunted down by any team in a T20I match at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
- In the next game, against India, he scored 25 runs not out off 17 balls to steer Sri Lanka to a 6-wicket win off the penultimate ball of the match. The win virtually sealed a place in the final of the tournament for Sri Lanka, where, against Pakistan, they were tottering at 58/5 in 8.5 overs. From this hopeless situation, Bhanuka then played a knock for the ages, ratcheting up 71 runs not out in just 45 balls with the help of 6 fours and 3 sixes. His batting heroics helped Sri Lanka post a rather challenging target of 171 runs.
- Sri Lanka eventually defeated Pakistan by 23 runs to win their 6th Asia Cup title, their first in the T20I format. Bhanuka was named the ‘Player of the Match’ for his outstanding performance. His unbeaten knock of 71 runs also became the then-highest individual score while batting at number 5 or lower in a men’s T20I knockout match.
- He finished the tournament as the 4th highest run-scorer with 191 runs at a superb average of 47.75 runs per inning and an excellent strike rate of 149.21 runs per 100 balls faced. This fairytale triumph at an event where they were rank outsiders was not just what the doctor ordered for Sri Lankan cricket (which has struggled with inconsistent performances on the international stage in recent years), it was also a much-needed moment of cheer for the cricket-crazy Sri Lankan people who were facing their worst economic crisis since independence which had resulted in the country declaring bankruptcy, prices of fuel and daily necessities shooting through the roof, and a severe shortage of medicines and other essentials.
Featured Image by Bhanuka Rajapaksa / Instagram