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A New Beginning towards 2011 By Hatem Rajabdeen

There is always a thought among us all that justice should prevail. It has finally after the legend himself Master Blaster Aravinda De Silva taking over as the head of the Selection committee of Sri Lankan Cricket.

The biggest news of the day was the dropping of Sanath Jayasuriya from the Sri Lankan squad to play the Asia Cup. The correct decision has been made.

With the current form of Upul Taranga and the new kid on the block Dinesh Chandimal (who incidently didnt make it to the Asia Cup Squad) in top form, it was evident that Sanath Jayasuriya would not make the team.

However, Chandimal’s omission is on a positive note as he is due to travel with the Lanka A Team to Australia which would give him an opportunity to play on different tracks and would give him the experience required specially with our senior side due to travel to Australia end of the year.

Few days back I had the honour of listening to Aravinda De Silva at the IIFA Business Forum in Colombo. He was quick to mention that as a result of the IPL most of the Sri Lankan players are carrying injuries and it was hard to pick the side which was his first assignment.

The team chosen reads: Kumar Sangakkara (capt & wk), Muttiah Muralitharan (vc), Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Farveez Maharoof, Chamara Kapugedara, Nuwan Kulasekara, Chanaka Welegedara, Lasith Malinga, Suraj Randiv, Rangana Herath, Thilina Kandamby.

Its nice to see the return of Upul Tharanga which will leave Sangakkara in an even bigger dillemma of having to decide if he is to break the Jayawardena-Dilshan opening combination or not.

Suraj Randiv has been a great addition to this side with or without Muralitharan and its great to see him persisted with.

Ajantha Mendis doesnt make the side which might give him an opportunity to honour his county stint with Hampshire which would help him get out of the slump he is in.

Rangana Herath has been called up from England where his is playing county cricket and i dont think this was the best thing to do. The English experience will do Herath a great deal with our test series against New Zealand coming up instead they could have persisted with Jeevan Mendis who had a good tournament in Zimbabwe. Herath is clearly the 3rd spinner in line and is unlikely to play any of the games therefore his call up from England doesnt serve any good to the player except for the excitement of having come into the one day squad.

We need to ask ourselves another question. Does Samaraweera hold a place in our 2011 World Cup plans?

The idea of picking teams over the next 6-8 months is looking forward to the 2011 World Cup. Of my opinion, Samaraweera and Kandamby can both not figure in a one day squad and with Kandmby’s decent one day run since debut makes him a firm favourite.

On the other hand Samaraweera did make use of two opportunities when Lanka were reeling in the recent past to notch up two centuries but we need to still ask ourselves the same question in 2011.

Its refreshing to see Farvez Maharoof back in the reckoning. Another exceptionally talented all rounder comes into the team in place of Thissara Perera who has been getting a decent run lately. Maharoof will be a great asset with his variations on Lankan wickets next year and it would be great to see him back. He has been unlucky with injuries and we hope he has left that all behind.

The team only has places for 15 so Dilhara Fernando rated by Allan Donald as the best bowler of the slower ball in one day cricket at the moment gets in .Dilhara had a good series in Zimbabwe and a good IPL 2010 and i am sure he is close to getting back to being a first team regular. It would be great to see him spearhead Sri Lankan Seam attack alongside Malinga.

There is one more thing i would like to touch upon. Dilshan was good with his captaincy in Zimbabwe and i doubt Muralitharan would have handled the team as good as Dilshan did. The position of Vice Captain in my opinion should be given to Angelo Mathews. He has excellent cricketing brain and has got abundance of talent and is a player who delivers when we require him to. I see him as the future captain of Sri Lanka. Its crucial to identify talent such as Mathews and nurture them to become better leaders. If the selectors dont see it this way then the other option should be Dilshan.

We hope Sri Lanka can win the Asia Cup and get into winning gear ahead of the World Cup next year. Also like to wish our batting legend Aravinda De Silva on all the very best in a job i presume he would do great in which is identifying talent and putting them where they should be not at home watching TV and see older players struggle way past there prime.

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