Chamari Athapaththu’s stellar cricketing journey reached new heights in 2023. Chamari Athapaththu ‘s heroics were not only recognized by being named the captain of the ICC Women’s One-Day International (ODI) and Women’s Twenty20 International (T20I) teams for 2023 but Chamari Athapaththu also clinched the prestigious title of ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year for 2023, adding another feather to her cap.
In 2023, the 33-year-old Sri Lankan all-rounder, across 8 One-Day International (ODI) matches, amassed 415 runs, with the highest score being 140*, maintaining a solid average of 69.16 and a noteworthy strike rate of 125.37. Although her bowling in ODIs yielded just one wicket, her economy rate of 6.53 underscored her all-round impact on the game.
Sri Lanka played their first ODI series in 2023 in April-May against Bangladesh. The initial two matches were rain-affected, yielding no results. Nonetheless, in the limited-overs of play in the opening match, Chamari displayed her finesse with a brisk 37-ball 47. Stepping up in the series decider, the 3rd ODI, she not only top-scored with a composed 60-ball 64 but also claimed her sole ODI wicket of the year, dismissing the set Nigar Sultana at 37(51) in the same game.
Against New Zealand the following month in a home series, captain Chamari continued to spearhead her team’s efforts, notching an unbeaten 83-ball 103 in the series opener. Despite a golden duck in the subsequent game, she bounced back spectacularly in the decider with a majestic 80-ball 140*, guiding Sri Lanka to their historic first-ever ODI series win over New Zealand, concluding the series with a 2-1 triumph.
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Chamari Athapaththu faced a dip in form during the team’s tour of England last year, with a subdued performance in the ODIs reflecting the team’s overall struggle, ultimately resulting in a 0-2 series defeat.
Nevertheless, 2023 marked one of Chamari Athapaththu’s most memorable and triumphant years in international cricket, let alone a format. The global recognition she garnered brought forth opportunities to participate in various leagues, underscoring the fitting acknowledgment of her exceptional contributions. Recently, she has also been included in the UP Warrioz squad as a replacement for Lauren Bell in WPL 02.
Reacting to the honour, Chamari Athapaththu, stated, “I feel very happy and proud. I have finally achieved a big dream. Sometimes playing a level up is about improving, not impressing. So, I want to keep doing my best for my country all the time. Amelia, Nat and Ash are the world’s best all-rounders and it was an honour to be nominated along with them.
“I have had some good achievements in the last few years. I am the first (female) Sri Lanka cricketer to score centuries in ODIs and T20Is, I had also scored 178 against Australia in the World Cup (2017), but this one is an important achievement of my career. I have sacrificed a lot for this award, so I am very happy.”