With Sri Lanka’s vice captain, Muttiah Muralitharan, retiring from Test cricket after the end of the first Test against India on Thursday, Sri Lanka had the opportunity to appoint a player who is either a future hopeful for the position of captain, or another senior worthy of the position based on seniority. Instead, the new selection panel headed by Aravinda de Silva went with Mahela Jayawardene the former captain who stepped down from his position.
As the saying goes, "Only in Sri Lanka!!"
Who in the right mind would give the position of vice captain to the bloke who stepped down and handed the burden of captaincy over to another?
One would think that after Thilan Samaraweera led the Sri Lanka Board President’s Eleven admirably that he would have been given the chance. Sri Lanka’s first Test win against India came a lot easier after the tourist were softened up in their warm up match which Samaraweera captained. And under Samaraweera even Mendis looked threatening, and the spinner was instrumental in taking many of the Indian wickets.
If you followed India’s practise game closely, you would have very little doubt over Samaraweera’s ability to captain a side; he used Mendis brilliantly in attacking spells, and his field placings and positive thinking will likely outdo Sangakkara on the field on any day. If one also recalls the comments by the television commentary team during the first Test in Galle, Sangakkara was criticised heavily for his negative field placings which leaked runs and delayed the fall of wickets. But since Sri Lanka won, all is forgotten.
Listen to what Mahela told the Calcutta Telegraph,
“Perhaps, Kumar asked the selectors that I be named his deputy. I’ll have to speak to Aravinda (de Silva, the chief selector) and find out,” Mahela added, as he prepared to leave for a training session.
The selectors’ move could upset Tillekaratne Dilshan, who’d captained Sri Lanka in the recent tri-series in Zimbabwe, when most of the seniors were rested.
Clearly, it’s a show of no-confidence.
Surely, if not for Samaraweera, why not Dilshan? How about Mathews?
It’s pretty obvious that the new selection panel is still very raw and they may dance to Sangakkara’s tune till they get accustomed to their new roles, but leave it to Sangakkara to help them make some ridiculous decisions.