What is the chairman of selectors talking about?

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Ashantha de Mel, who is back as Sri Lanka's chief selector, believes Upul Tharanga is "suspect" against the new ball and he plays "well away from his body". Tharanga, according to de Mel, belongs in the middle-order in ODIs because of this.

This is what de Mel told The Nation recently,

"Upul’s technique against the new ball is suspect. He is playing well away from his body and that is why we have decided to bring him down the order in the ODIs and play him in the middle where he has contributed."

It's a ridiculous statement.

Tharanga has scored 4311 ODI runs while opening the batting. He is second only to Sanath Jayasuriya in the list of openers with most runs scored while opening the batting for Sri Lanka in ODIs.

Sri Lanka's most successful openers in ODIs

Player Matches as opener Runs made as opener 100s when opening
ST Jayasuriya 384 12674 28
WU Tharanga 133 4311 12
TM Dilshan 87 3532 11
RS Mahanama 118 3283 4
MS Atapattu 93 3128 6

Since making his debut in 2005, Tharanga has made 12 ODI centuries and he is fifth on the list of highest century-makers in the 50-over format for Sri Lanka. In addition, Tharanga averaged 56.42 at last year's World Cup and was the fifth-highest run-scorer in that tournament. And all this while opening the batting.

So, what is de Mel talking about? What does a fast bowler, who last played for Sri Lanka 26 years ago, know about batting technique? Perhaps de Mel should leave a batsman's technique to be assessed by qualified coaches, or former batsmen even, and stick to the facts when picking a team.

Comments

UppercuT's picture
Member since:
19 October 2011
Last activity:
2 hours 31 min

@hilal, ah ok then, but he said dat answering abt tharanga's test position-

"---------When questioned why former Test opener Upul Tharanga is not being considered for the position, De Mel said, "Upul's technique against the new ball is suspect. He is playing well away from his body and that is why we have decided to bring him down the order in the ODIs and play him in the middle where he has contributed.-----"
cricinfo;

http://www.espncricinfo.com/sri-lanka-v-...

again sorry for the misunderstanding

Hilal's picture
Member since:
20 November 2008
Last activity:
46 min 4 sec

This statement from the chairman of selectors is what I'm questioning,

"He is playing well away from his body and that is why we have decided to bring him down the order in the ODIs and play him in the middle where he has contributed."

No need to apologise, mate? :-)

UppercuT's picture
Member since:
19 October 2011
Last activity:
2 hours 31 min

well yeh in the case of ODI opening, the best combination is dilshan-tharanga. mahela or sanga shud really go down the order to strengthen the middle order. sad to see the seniors not taking dat responsibility, instead they want to "hog" the positions where they can maintain their "averages"

Anonymous's picture

I dont think the list of Sri Lanka's most successful openers in ODIs tells us anything. if you look at Dilshan and Marvan both those players would easily overtake Tharanga had they played the same amount of matches as operners. The problem I have with Tharanga is he is a slow scoring batsmen when compared to his early days where he was introduced as a possible repalcement to Jayasooriya. He is slower than Mahela and Sanga when it comes to scoring. Also he has definetly got a problem in his technique. Saying that I dont think there is anyone else (apart from Mahela) to replace him as a opener. I hate to see him bat at 6 or 7. I think someone like Jeevan Mendis should (in odis) bat at 6 or 7

The Miz's picture

@Hilal:Sorry bro..but that nutcase #2 does have a point.Do you have a crush on Tharanga?

Whenever someone says something bad about Tharanga ,you run to his defense brandishing some old stats. I mean ,how many times (lately) have we seen Tharanga getting out poking outside off and edging to keeper/slips,getting squared up,playing and missing??This is not just a flaw we've seen in Tharanga, but also in all the other openers we've tried out after Jayasuriya (i.e.Warnapura,Paranawithana,Thirimanne)May be this is because they are all lefties who can't cope with the angle of right arm opening pacies. May be it's time to give a right hand opener a chance and forget the right-left combination crap.

Marcian's picture
Member since:
8 December 2010
Last activity:
3 days 13 hours

How many times have we seen Mahela and Sanga poke outside the off and edging to the wicket-keeper or slips? Thats their most common mode of dismissal.

Both of them, world class batsmen at that, suffer from the same problem of fishing outside the off when the ball moves away from them, in the air and off the pitch. Its a common problem, nothing unique to Tharanga alone.

Why is de Mel singling out Upul Tharanga? Dilshan plays two feet away from his body and Chandimal still has major technical issues - some of his shots are rank pol adi - but they get away it with it because of their flamboyant stroke play.

I feel that he [Tharanga] doesn't get enough credit because of his style of batting. But, he's steady - we cant have both openers throwing the kitchen sink at every ball. We dont have the luxury of a solid middle-order for both openers to be ultra-aggressive like Sanath and Kalu.

Sure, he's predominantly a off-side player but so was Sourav Ganguly. True, he's slow and and has a bit of a problem away from the sub-continent against quality swing and seam but who doesn't? Most sub-continental batsmen are flat-track bullies except for two: Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.

Although statistics don't paint the overall picture it doesn't lie. Tharanga's record is impressive: His conversion rate from fifty to hundred is 50% - another factor most have missed here.

From an aesthetic point of view, when Tharanga is in form, his timing and placement is unmatched by anyone in the current SL side barring perhaps Mahela. His lazy elegance is a treat to watch for fans who understand and appreciate the finer nuances of the game. And, he does have the big shots when the mood suites him.

Upul Tharaga must return as opener and Mahela should bat again at number four. The tactic of opening with Mahela was successful in Australia but it must not be a long-term thing, especially in the sub-continent.

Marcian's picture
Member since:
8 December 2010
Last activity:
3 days 13 hours

The frequency of scoring a hundred as an opener in ODIs:

MS Atapattu - 100 every 15 innings.

ST Jayasuriya - 100 every 14 innings.

UW Tharanga - 100 every 11 innings.

TM Dilshan - 100 every 8 innings.

Ashnatha de Mel ought to do some research before shooting his mouth off. No wonder Marvan called him a "Muppet".

Marcian's picture
Member since:
8 December 2010
Last activity:
3 days 13 hours

Upul Tharanga is a consistent performer when you look at the frequency he scores a fifty or more including hundreds [as opener]:

TM Dilshan - 50 every 3.6 innings, strike rate 93

UW Tharanga - 50 every 3.7 innings, strike rate 74.

MS Atapattu - 50 every 3.7 innings, strike rate 67.

ST Jayasuriya - 50 every 4.0 innings, strike rate 92.

His role is to anchor the innings - similar to what Marvan did when he opened with Sanath - ideally to stick around until the 40th over especially when wickets fall around him.

If he takes 100 balls to score 70 runs then so be it - he has done his job. ODI batting is not only about hitting 4s and 6s.

The Miz's picture

Surprise..Surprise...Tharanga edges to the keeper again,after getting squared up numerous times.

Jagath Perera's picture
Member since:
7 April 2010
Last activity:
11 weeks 6 days

To The Miz,

What you say is what we call "Gon Katha"

Because Tharanga opened today we didnt lose any early wickets and didnt collapse! All batsmen get squared up and all batsmen edge to keeper. From now one Tharanga should open.

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