Kapugedera has a lot to offer us - Sangakkara
By Hilal Suhaib
Chamara Kapugedera under pressure to deliver in Australia. AFP PHOTO / Desmond Kwande.
October 17, 2010 (Island Cricket): Kumar Sangakkara said that he has faith in Chamara Kapugedera to deliver for Sri Lanka despite criticism in the media over Kapugedera's performances as a middle order batsman.
The 23 year old Kapugedera, known as a brilliant fielder but selected in the side as a middle order batsman, has an ODI career batting average of just 22.95 from 82 matches. After 16 matches in the last 12 months, he averages 27.00 which has led to criticism from fans and the local media who feel that he has been given an extended run at the expense of other more deserving youngsters waiting in line to play for Sri Lanka.
"What Kapu [Kapugedera] brings to the side is his energy. His fielding performances, those half chances that he takes once in a while that changes games, Sehwag’s run out [in the 2010 Micromax final at Dambulla] was a game breaker in my view, and also his ability with the bat although sometimes we think that he hasn’t delivered. We still see in him not only in potential and talent but ability that can win us games," Sangakkara said in an interview with The Nation yesterday.
"We are looking for him to keep on stepping up his game and performing to the levels we know he can. Some players will get more opportunities than others. Unfortunately cricket is not always 100 percent fair because at the end of the day only a limited number can be selected. We got to try and pick a combination that offers us what we are looking for. Kapu has a lot to offer us. He has to keep performing and cement his place in the side. It’s a challenge he can achieve. It goes for all the other batsmen in the side as well for after a long time we are getting a good crop of able batsmen."
The Sri Lankan captain said that he trusted Kapugedera's ability with the bat to outshine even the best Sri Lankan batsmen, insisting that he be given more time.
"Kapu has the ability to go beyond all of us and to become a high impact player who can change games in any format of cricket. But for him to do that he has to also understand his own game which allows him to then improve himself to get better. But we trust him and we know that he will deliver when the occasion rises for us."
Sri Lanka departed for Australia yesterday where they will play a solitary Twenty20 match and three One Day Internationals.