At a time, when Sri Lanka is dearly struggling to find game changing ‘impact’ players, they seriously need to groom Thisara Perera properly as one of the key all rounder in the side, instead of playing ‘in and out’ game with him.
In modern era of world cricket, almost every team’s have some ‘impact’ players in their playing XI, who could win the match for them, when they fires. Pakistan has Shahid Afridi, West Indies have Chris Gayle and Kieren Pollard, New Zealand has Brandan Mccullum and India has MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli.
Without a doubt, Sri Lanka’s all rounder Thisara perera belongs to the same category, with both bat and ball. Just as, Shahid Afridi reminds of his big hitting capabilities during the 1st ODI in just concluded bilateral series against West Indies, with a sparkling inning of 77 runs in just 55 balls, including 5 huge sixes and 6 fours, Perera also showed once again, during the 3rd ODI against South Africa, that on his day, he could be ‘deadly dangerous’. During his thunderous innings of 65 in just 49 balls, perera smashed 5 mammoth sixes and one four in 33rd over of Robin Peterson. It was the second most expensive over in ODI history, after Herschelle Gibs ‘six sixes’ heroics against Netherlands , during the 2007 world cup. Even though, Sri Lanka lost the match, Perera won the hearts of many fans around the world, especially those, who likes this kind of madness stuff!
And, it’s not the first time that Perera delivered that kind of innings. Having made his ODI debut in 2009 against India, Perera gradually earned the tag of a ‘destructive lower order batsman’ in his career so far. A strike rate of more than 109 in ODIs suggests that he loves to hit the ball as harder as he can. With these kind of firing cameos, and don’t forget his canny, tidy bowling, he has established himself as a hard-hitting all rounder. he has the amazing physical strength, and In big hitting criteria, he belongs to the category of Kieren Pollard, Chris Gayle, as even his one handed miss hits often lands at the roof of the stadiums! On a bowling note, he has the tendency to break well set partnerships and take wickets at crucial times, as he has quickly been gaining the reputation of a bowler with ‘golden arm’.
Though, his game is not without flaws as well. Most times his critic’s describes his batting as ‘just slogging’. Also, they find his batting one dimensional, as he always tries to hit the ball towards midwicket, his favorite area of smashing sixes. He has limited shots in his armory and doesn’t show the same effectiveness with his off side strokes. Also, when his team needs him to stay at the crease, more often than not he throws away his wicket, trying to hit those big sixes, regardless of the situation. While as a bowler, he seems less effective, whenever pitch doesn’t offer too much assistance to him.
That’s why; recently, selectors had opted to drop him for the Triangular Series in West Indies, as he couldn’t take a wicket or contributed with the bat in two matches against India and New Zealand during the champion’s trophy. during the champions trophy, and earlier in ipl as well, bowlers tried to bowl him way outside off stumps too often. as a result, during the last leg of ipl and in champions trophy, he was not able to hit those huge sixes consistently. it was the main reason, why he had been dropped from the West Indies series.
Though, after just one series, they realized that, even with some limitations in his game, Perera is still one of the most important players in the side, as they recalled him for the ongoing home series against South Africa. And, it was a wisely decision, indeed, because with his all rounder abilities, Perera not only brings the balance in the team, but he also presents much needed ‘fear factor’ for the opposite teams.
Actually, its not the way to handle the Perera. Yes, he needs to bring maturity, especially in batting, but for that to be happen, he need the support from the selectors, as well as from the captains. In his career so far, it seems that most Sri Lankan captains has not been able to use him properly, especially as a batsman. Most times, he comes to the crease in death over’s, when he needs to slog from the beginning. Idealy, he should always be promoted during batting powerplays in ODIs and after 10-12 overs in T20 cricket. Then, he will have the ample time to analyze the situations, and play the game according to the demands.
And if it happens, it will do wonders to Sri Lanka cricket. Especially, at a time, when team has been struglling to find dependable finishers, Perera could become the ever dependable crisis men for Sri Lanka. But for that to be happen, he need to learn the art of – survive first, thrive later.