Upul Tharanga last played a Test in August 2014 © AFP
Upul Tharanga not only deserves, he shouldn't have been dropped from any of the squads (15 consecutive squads). In ODIs, just after his match winning unbeaten 174* in WI & topping 5k runs as 2nd quickest in SL in 2013…. in Tests since his series winning contributions in the decider Vs PK last August.! If not for the despicable isolation, SL would have avoided the humiliating debacles saw in India, NZ & WC.
In his comeback after 7 year isolation, he won a series for SL, by putting up highest contribution of the side with 92 & 45 in the decider Vs Pk last August…. to be dropped again for another One year, obstructing his fine form …. then reappeared in the recent solitary Test Chance given, to face the razor sharp challenge to prove his worth yet again in an One-Off Test….. He was put under immense pressure (psychologically & due to match situation in both innings, having to stem the rot started from top) …. but scored another 2 consecutive near FIFTIES just missed by a fraction, apart from the unbeaten 50* put up in the 3-day practice match. This is not an easy cakewalk, that everyone can do.!
Upul had scored 400 Test runs at 40.00 average from just 5 Tests with 83, 35 Vs SA, 92, 45, 46, 48 Vs PK & (facing another year long break imposed on his batting form, having overlooked for 6 consecutive squads since August 2014).
What a contrast compared to the constantly AILING PASSENGERS… who got CONSECUTIVE CHANCES with REGULAR spots in the side, that we saw during the past couple of years ..???
Luckily, we had Sanga, Dilly & Mahela to pull the burden of those dead-weights… BUT NOT ANY MORE!
At 30 years, he is the most experienced senior player, remaining for the future. Upul has a solid track record in international & FC Cricket, maintained over at least twice the innings, compared to the rest of the bunch. Yet, he & his records were considered as nonexistent & put him in a sealed dark den at 28 yrs, neither belongs to any junior or senior Cricketer! It already wiped-off 2 years of his productive career, thanks to the former selectors.
I firmly believe, we should have won the recent 1st Test in Galle (SL's winning heaven) & the series……… if Upul Tharanga had been included in the initial squad selected for recently concluded PK Test Series.
We saw how Tharanga scored a Sparkling 83 runs with 14 x 4s & a towering Six facing 155 deliveries from FURIOUS Steyn, Philander, Morkel combo at Galle, last year, in his 1st Test inning after 7 years.
Imagine, if someone else (among favorite glamour boys) had this knock… IT would have been a talking point even today in local media & mono-focal fans of SL… straining their vocal cords :D))))
I wonder how long he would be allowed to play consecutive matches without any more obstructions, to keep up his fine form & regain his full potential ?
Hope the New Selectors would do everything possible to have a match-winning XI in the middle, for each series hereafter, for the sake of SL Cricket's Future!