The first Test brings a thoroughly deserving debut for at least one Silva! Sri Lankans are certain to hand at least one debut to a batsman during the first test against Australia. With those infatuated with Thirimanne at last running out of excuses for playing him, a promising young batsman finally gets a well-deserving opportunity.
Selectors have hinted at Chandimal continuing his keeping duties. Pallekelle is expected to be liveliest of the three Test venues and might be the most favorable to the Australian fast bowlers during this Test series. As such, Chandimal might be best used at number six where he looked most assured during the England series. Given his attacking instincts, Kusal Perera could continue to be used at number seven to provide the mid-inning acceleration and to possibly counter the second new ball. As such, the most likely vacancy for the debutant would be at number four.
Sri Lankans can consider themselves very lucky to have two equally promising, talented and well deserving batsman vying for this opportunity. Dhananjaya De Silva had an exceptionally good domestic first class tournament, scoring over 850 runs at 54 and capturing 30+ wickets with his part-time spin. Roshen Silva scored over 650 runs at 56. Dhananjaya has a first class average of 36 while Roshen averages 50.
After his stellar domestic performances, Dhananjaya got the nod over Roshen in making it to the Sri Lankan squad that toured England earlier this year. While he did not get a chance to take part in the Test series, he reminded the selectors of his abilities with a couple of good innings for Sri Lanka A who are currently touring England.
Roshen Silva has been a regular feature in the Sri Lanka A team for a while and scored first class centuries during the recent A tours to New Zealand and England. At 27, Roshen has had to work very hard for a long time, during which time he has scored heavily and consistently. His hard work, perseverance and commitment to maintaining a high standard of performance should hold him in good stead, if the opportunity came. Roshen has batted in the upper middle order right through his career and should be mentally prepared to serve Sri Lanka at number four.
Whether it is Roshen or Dhananjaya who debuts, it will be a significant step forward for Sri Lanka cricket who are in a period of transition. One can only encourage, promote and foster qualities such as hard work, perseverance, and commitment to excellence, if such effort is recognized and rewarded at the right time. Sadly, some of the selections made by Sanath Jayasuriya during the recent past did not suggest that his committee was necessarily looking at, recognizing and rewarding current form or performances. With the squad picked for the upcoming Test, finally there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, for at least one Silva! They are both not only ‘very talented’, but have ‘earned’ their right to get to this point by performing consistently at the highest level. Whoever debuts, it will be a wonderful occasion for the player and an exciting time for Sri Lanka cricket and the fans! All the best and good luck Silva! Go out there and shine brightly son!