After a hurricane like start, Ajantha Mendis is struggling due to lack of confidence rather than the ineffective bowling.
How many bowlers Sri Lanka has produced over the years, whom you can consider as the possible replacements of great Muttiah Murlidharan? Answer will be- not a single bowler, after all murli is the greatest bowler in world cricket, with mind blowing 13, 00 wickets in international cricket.
But, when a 23 year old rookie, named ajantha mendis, came in to the Sri Lanka side for the first time in 2008 against West Indies, he, truly, mesmerized world cricket. Supporters were amazed, critics were confused and batsmen were clueless, that what kind of bowler mendis is. He was looking like an alien at that time. And batsmen, coaches all over the world were searching on the internet. Actually, they had wanted to know everything about mendis. At that time, he was regarded as an ideal replacement of murli and, remember, the great man, actually, played a test series against India, as a shadow of mendis.
Sri Lankan’s were dreaming that as for as the spin attack of the team is concerned, it’s safe in mendis magical fingers. They had the presumption that, by next two or three years, mendis will be the best spinner of the island. But it was just a presumption after all. Now, after three years of international cricket, mendis is struggling and struggling badly. Murldharan era has gone, World cup has gone and Sri Lankan’s are preparing for a home series again mighty Australian’s. Selectors included six spinners against aussies, and though, mendis is one of them, there is not a single percent guarantee that he will be able to play a single match. In short, just after three years, he himself is looking clueless.
So, what’s the actual problem? Well, critics say that, as he was a mystery bowler, his decline was predictable. They used to say, that he was a bowler with Unpredictability, killer efficiency and numbing accuracy. So, when batsman started to cope with his numbing accuracy, his misfortune was inevitable. It means, critics has a clear verdict- after loosing his mystery, mendis has been faded for ever.
But, really, the problem lies in his mystery? Or, are critics are giving their verdict without a proper analysis? Actually, currently mendis is facing more of a mental problem. And his problem lies in his confidence. It’s a normal trend in sports that after some time, every player suffers with a lesser success ratio. Murli was not a mystery in last four or five years, but he was most successful in those years. Anil kumble had lost his googlis years before his retirement, but he still managed to retire as the greatest bowler for his country.
Even, you can take an example of denial vettori. He is not a big spinner of the bowl, but he is one of the modern greats.
So, there should be no panic situation in mendis case. No harm if he has lost his mystery, if he does basic right. With accurate line and length, vettori and shahid afridi has taken more than 700 wickets in one day cricket. So, there is no reason, that mendis can’t do same. He just needs confidence within himself. It’s as simple as that, actually.