Russel Arnoldindia Updated: May 10, 2003 13:46 IST
Russel Arnold, the talented 26-year-old batsman who caught the imagination of the British Press when he scored a double century against Somerset, has emerged as a stable and dependable batsman for Sri Lanka.
The perpetually underweight and famished looking batsman has however also shown a great hunger for runs since his debut.
In the series against Zimbabwe in 1999, Arnold averaged 58.33 in the Tests and 69.25 in the one-days and secured a permanent place in the Sri Lankan batting line-up. Arnold scored his maiden Test century in the Asian Test Championship against Pakistan.
Now a permanent member of the one-day side, he is a bright prospect for Sri Lanka. The left-hander, who also bowls off-spin, has rescued his team several times and coach Dave Whatmore knows it and appreciates his worth.
In the Zimbabwe series, he scored runs on pitches ill suited for batting. Two of his best knocks were 104 in the third Test at Harare and his maiden one-day century (103) in the second one-day match at Bulawayo.
The strong point of Russel is his calmness at the crease with immense concentration, which differentiates him from other batsmen.
He has a good understanding of the game and is able to read situations well. Arnold's struck gold in 1995-96 when he scored 1,475 runs at an average of 70.23 to break Aravinda's record for a domestic season.
He was rewarded with a place in the Test side against Pakistan in 1996-97. Arnold made an impressive start sharing partnerships of 61, 95 and 157 (only two short of Sri Lanka's first wicket record) with Sanath Jayasuriya. Since then, he has virtually been on every Sri Lankan tour.
Arnold is flexible and can bat at any position. Apart from his batting ability, Arnold is also a useful off-break bowler and a fine fielder at any position.