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Mahela’s Epic Fail – Is the bell tolling for Mahela Jayawardena?

Is time running out for Sri Lanka’s enigmatic Skipper? Is the bell finally tolling for Mahela Jayawardene?

In general Sri Lanka has the tendency to either stick with a skipper through the ups and downs, or discard and move along as fast a Bajaj Trishaw picks up and drops off it’s patrons. Will SLC and Ashantha De Mel’s selection committee react to the monumental losses in ODI cricket and a lowly ranked 7th place in the ICC ODI rankings? Will changing the man at the helm, help the root causes to our failures as a team? Indeed, a captain takes credit for the team’s success and it is only just that he should be responsible for it’s failures. 

Sri Lanka’s loss to Pakistan in the first ODI has left the team with it’s back to the wall for today’s encounter. Failure in the upcoming 2nd ODI, and Sri Lanka will be faced with yet another ODI series loss. The total losses since Mahela took over the captaincy in England during the 2006 season will stand at Seven series losses. A key factor to note is that in the same period as captain he has also won Six series – the above stat includes ICC series such as Champions Trophy and the World Cup tournament.

Mahela’s record as Captain Series Wins Series Losses
2006 – 2009 6 7

As a batsman, the situation looks pretty bleak. Mahela’s last international century wasn’t even for Sri Lanka. He notched up 107 for an Asia XI playing against an African XI on the 10th of June 2007. His last century as skipper for Sri Lanka was back in the 2007 World Cup Semi Final at Sabina Park vs the Kiwis [Video]. Mahela’s highest ODI score in his last ten knocks is 28 runs, he made four ducks in the process.

Clearly something is not right. It’s like every time I tune into watch the cricket all I see is Mahela struggling..ball after ball he dodges and weaves..fiddles and leaves outside off. There is just no certainty in his batting.

During an alcohol induced conversation at the local drinking establishment, my mates and I came to a sound conclusion. We realised some of the most successful batsmen have a spot in the batting line up that best suits their individual game play. If you are a slow starter, a nudger not a dasher, then exposure to the moving new ball is not your thing. In other words Mahela should consider moving further down the order to stabilise our middle order. He should take on the responsibility of a finisher. He can rotate the ball around with his deft late cuts and fine leg glances and then launch an attack during the closing overs. Batting at both number 3 and 4 in his career, Mahela has been dismissed 34 times caught behind by the keeper, that is seemingly a high number of times to be out caught behind by the keeper, not taking the slips into the equation.

If Roshan Mahanama, an opening batsman all his life, could bat at number nine for the greater good of the team. I don’t see why Mahela can’t come lower down the order and work his way back in to form. Hey may in the process find a suitable position in the order that works well with his actual ability. Mahela should not feel that moving down the order is a negative move, it is not. It’s a smart move for a man whose days may be numbered.

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  1. Wow never thought of MJ,
    Wow never thought of MJ, moving down the order…it makes sense though, doing the job the lower order can’t, whereas having guys like Kapu, Dilly etc, with the ball a liltle harder, the field upm would likely to sustain the pace of the openers, rather than stagnate the run rate as it usually does.

  2. Nope.. Mahela will be captain till the next World Cup
    Its true what you say, Sri Lanka does have a tendency to stick with its captains through the bad times, and I don’t see that changes anytime soon. Why? Looking at Sri Lanka’s current condition and form of almost the entire team, there is no one fit enough to take the role of captaincy, and let alone run the team with Mahela Jayawardena still in it.

    Kumar Sangakara might seem like the obvious choice, but I still highly doubt he is the Captain Material the team seaks at this point of time. Yes he is a good cricketer, no doubt, and even is one of the best in the world, but for some reason I really don’t see Kumar becoming captain anytime soon. Also due to the fact that he and Mahela are around the same age, and in the same league, even when they do decide to remove Mahela, it wouldn’t be Kumar Sangakara. If they do choose him, for Sri Lanka, its a step back in the wrong direction, as they should look to the future and look to developing a Younger generation who would lead Sri Lanka after the time of Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakara.

    Mahela has been performing in tests. Yes he may have not done well in the ODI format, but his record in tests is impeccable. That record to alot in the Sri Lanka cricket Administration is better beyond any record you may hold in other formats, for that version atleast for the older generation running the Sri Lanka Cricket administration is to them, very important.

    As Sri Lankan cricket lovers and followers, we have to give this team time. They are in a very vital, fragile stage of their development, and as I have said many times before, its good now rather than 3-4 months before the 2011 World Cup. Yes maybe the choices made by the selection committee have not been good ones. There is better talent out there. But for now, its just a matter of time.

    Lets see what unfolds.

  3. i don think he shud step down
    i don think he shud step down as captain…in my opinion he is a gr8 captain…he took our team 2 wc final in west indies in 2007…under his captaincy we crushed england 5-0 in england…although we lost a few series also..but dis dosen mean dat he is a bad captain..he is also a damn gud batsmen…its just matter of time dat all wil b well n we wil b back 2 our normal winning ways…i m damn confident abt it..

  4. Mahela’s place
    maybe he’s been logging in because he batted below kandamby in the last match. i can’t understand how such a talented player can have a long run of poor form like this. he had that big test century against bangladesh, so hasn’t lost the ability all together. just got a mental block with ODI’s especially. i love mahela and i hope he can shake off this cloud

    is sangakkara the obvious replacement if mahela steps down? he’s not in a purple patch himself but still scoring often enough. he is one of the few respected, experienced players who is still an automatic selection

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