With just the T20 WC looming, Sri Lanka are yet to finalize their combinations and as a result the team is finding hard to get over that line. And mostly ending on the wrong side. It’s fair to say with recent reports of Malinga, there is no reason to panic, in Mathews we have more than a capable leader who reads the game well, although there is some criticism when it comes to his captaincy. Well yes, there is a big void in the current set up, but it also gives opportunity’s for other youngsters to step in. As far as the selectors are concerned they haven’t got the right combinations sorted, for instance when “May be the pressure from the media and others resulted in dropping a player like Lahiru Thirimanne. But what we should be looking at is the combination of the team when selecting. It’s not about 11 players who can hit hard when it comes to T20. The team should be balanced. There should be consolidation in the batting order and there should be someone who could adjust to conditions when they get into situations like this. I think from the players I saw (during the past), Thirimanne had the potential for that role after Sanga (Kumar Sangakkara). If we are looking at the future, we should keep players like him in the team giving them confidence. May be media will criticize when cricketers are failing, and if we are afraid of that and base our selections on that doing many changes that would be a problem”. This is what Aravinda had to say in a recent interview. Which makes perfect sense given the recent results.
The team heading into the world cup have a settled opening combination top of the order with some runs on their back and form to go with it. It’s after that where we haven’t capitalized, sometimes depending on the match situation this could change also, but then again this format is unpredictable, this is where some one in the likes of Thirimanne is suited to do a job Sangakkara used to do. If early wickets go he could consolidate or though he’s been seen as a defensive player he has the capability to maneuver the strike and keep that board ticking as it has been evident when in the past when playing against top oppositions evident by the way how he played running up to the 2014 T20WC final, where Sri Lanka’s maiden T20 triumph happened and finally got it’s hands on that silverware, and while much hype was surrounded around Mahela and Sanga’s retirements and other players claiming they single handedly played a role in wining the WC final and midway with captaincy changes, Thirimanne’s contributions went unnoticed. In the past in the limited overs format when up against quality oppositions like Australia specially in that 2012 limited overs triangular which featured India also and last time around during the ASIA cup where he scored two centuries against Pakistan when the team needed it on both the occasions and specially when in that pressure final it was Thirimanne who held it together and did the job for us to get over that line. It’s just a matter of him finding that confidence and transforming it into T20. When it comes to Thirimanne, this is not on blowing his own trumpet but it was even widely regarded by Sangakkara also that he has a good cricketing brain and a certain calmness which this current team badly needs rather than throwing their wickets away when the situation demands to score at a consistent pace. Moving on Mathews badly needs some runs under his belt, Kapugedera needs to connect more shots consistently and clear the ropes in whatever the way either by jumping out of the crease rather than wielding a sword like a warrior going to war. The middle order with the likes of Milinda Siriwardena haven’t been consistent but he has the inate ability to excute the ball over the ropes. Shehan Jayasuriya although has been given the chance and shown promise is yet to justify his inclusion with some consistent performances with both bat and ball and is the case with Thisara Perera our big “Panda” fondly known by Mahela. We are yet to see Dasun Shanaka live up to his reputation or whether he will he be another case study that shows the big gap between Sri Lanka’s domestic structure and International Cricket is yet to be seen. When it comes to the bowling department Dushmantha Chameera is a sensation and should be managed properly and used wisely. It is questionable in the recently concluded asia cup why Mathews didn’t use him to upset the Bangaldeshi’s when they were three wickets down, in Mathews defense since Malinga wasn’t playing Chameera was to be kept to ball the death overs, which once again falls into Mathews defensive tactics. The experienced Rangana Herath could well be playing his final T20 WC and would want to go out with a bang.
“I believe with all my heart that being a fan is all about being there for a team when it wins and loses,
Anyone who thinks otherwise hasn’t played a sport or simply doesn’t understand all that it takes;
For every team brings the possibility of a loss to the table when it settles down to win,
Never a fan of victory – Always a fan of Sri Lanka Cricket.. “- C.J.
Lalindra De Silva is an occasional contributor on various topics from sport to stock markets, who has played the sport and toured India representing club’s. And is a full time retail investor with the CSE.