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.