A lot has happened in Sri Lanka Cricket in the last month. Let’s have a look at them.
The "legend", Hon. C.B. Ratnayaka (Sports Minister), having possibly lived in a dream-world where justice is served to those who break it, declares Sri Lanka Cricket as the 3rd most corrupt institute, the first 2 being the education sector (Ordinary Level Exam papers have been printed with plenty of errors) and the police (I don’t think any explanation is required). He promises to clean up the board and appoint a new interim committee with non-corrupt people.
However, CB is forced to do a u-turn. He fires the 2 non-corrupt people in the committee, Pramodya Wickremesinghe (former Lankan fast bowler who played in the 1996 World Cup) and Ranil Abeynaike (former SSC curator and current commentator/journalist).
He re-appoints the 2 most corrupt people in the committee, DS de Silva (former Lankan leggie, married to a woman who’s family is in the gambling business. According to ICC laws, a director of the ICC cannot have any associations with any gambling/betting organisations. Since DS is the head of SL cricket, he automatically becomes a director. Of course, why he is still allowed to be an ICC director is beyond me) and Nishantha Ranatunga (ex-cricketer, brother of Arjuna, known to have taken 33 overseas tours on public expense since appointed last year).
CB also appoints some more corrupt people, details of whom I can’t be bothered to learn. Frankly, who cares? They’re corrupt, that’s all I need to know.
New selection panel appointed
However, one good thing CB has done is appoint a good selection committee.
It is headed by Aravinda "Mad Max" de Silva. I doubt he needs an introduction, but for the benefit of those who don’t know him, he, in his heyday, was the daredevil of Sri Lankan cricket. A flashy strokeplayer, he was the lynchpin of the Sri Lankan batting order in the 90’s along with Arjuna Ranatunga, Asanka Gurusinha and Roshan Mahanama. He was the man-of-the-final in the 1996 World Cup, having made a brilliant century after the openers (Sanath Jayasuriya & Romesh Kaluwitharana) were dismissed with just 23 on the board. Kent players were reportedly in tears when he had to leave after a stint with them!
Amal Silva, ex-keeper. Don’t really know much about him, except that he is one of a very few number of Lankans to have made a century on their Lord’s debut.
Shabir Asgerally. Have no idea about his credentials, except that he played just one domestic 50-overs match.
Ranjit Fernando. I don’t think he needs any introduction. For the uninitiated, pay a visit to this blog, Ranjit Fernando Sucks.
SL wins the tri-series in Zimbabwe
OK, let’s be honest. No-one was interested in this series. Even the Indians weren’t interested and sent a motley crew to the series. Sri Lanka sent a half-decent team headed by Dilshan.
As far as I was concerned, my only interest was seeing how Dinesh Chandimal, Jeevan Mendis and Lahiru Thirimanne played.
The interest in Chandimal is not new to Lankan fans, who have been speaking highly of him ever since his u-19 days. This dude can keep wickets and score big runs. Enough said about him.
Jeevan Mendis has been around for quite a long time, but has, sadly, never got the opportunities to showcase his potential. Though 42 runs in 2 innings and 4 wickets @ 29.75 aren’t exactly world-beating, it’s a good return for someone who’s waited for so long. Besides, he’s a LEGGIE. Currently, our top 3 spinners are all offies (Murali, Randiv and Mendis). Therefore, it’d be nice to have some variety with a leggie who can bat in the top-7.
However, poor Thirimanne didn’t get proper opportunities to display his potential. I really liked what I saw of him in his short maiden innings. However, it would’ve been better to just bench him rather than playing him at No. 7. I mean, what right thinking person would put an opener at No. 7?
Perhaps it would’ve been better to bench the perennially underachieving Chamara K’r’apugedara, who has a pathetic average of 22 after 73 games! I mean, even Rohit "Nohit" Sharma had an average of 25.something after 42 games (of course, he’s upped that significantly with some very good knocks). But, what to do? Politics, politics, politics…..
Chandimal not picked for the Asia Cup
There has been an uproar here in Sri Lanka over the dropping of Dinesh Chandimal, who scored an impressive century against India, for the Asia Cup.
Under normal circumstances, I would’ve joined the chorus. However, we all know that the Asia Cup is just like the Champions Trophy, an ugly sibling whose presence no-one wants to acknowledge but don’t want to insult.
Chandimal’s being sent to Australia with the Sri Lanka A side. Now, this will definitely help him with his development. It is common knowledge that Australia A is quite a strong team. That, coupled with the fast Australia pitches, will really contribute a lot to Chandimal’s learning curve.
The fundamental problem with most of our batsmen is an inability to play on fast pitches. Therefore, hopefully, Chandimal will learn a lot from this tour.
However, had he stayed, he would’ve played on the zombie-like pitches of Sri Lanka against India (OMG, I’m starting to see India-SL matches more frequently than porn), Pakistan (do I need to actually say anything?) and Bangladesh (hmm…). The learning from this tournament would’ve been next-to-nothing!
Ah, the main topic of this post.
Sri Lanka staggered and stumbled like a guy heavily on arrack and realized, "Hey, we are in the semi-finals? Now, how did that happen?". Of course, their poor performances were bound to catch up and so, the alcohol wore off and Sri Lanka finally realized that they were in the wrong place and got duly thrashed by England.
Discontent among the public on Sanath Jayasuriya’s place in the side continued to rise as he ended up with a miserable average of 3.75 in 6 matches, a sorry average for a player who was declared the man-of-the series in the 1996 World Cup for his amazing average of … and SR of ….
It was well known that, just before the T20WC, Sanga had sent in his resignation after Upul Tharanga’s name was scratched out and Sanath’s pencilled in. The president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, got his son, Namal, to cool down Sangakkara.
It also came to be known recently that it was Namal who called up Sanga during the World Cup and ordered him to send Sanath up the order.
All this resulted in a lot of discontent among the Lankan public. This anger started to go towards the Rajapaksa. Realizing that this could potentially backfire on him, he asked Sanath, after the T20WC, "Didn’t you have enough? Don’t you want to retire now?"
Nooooooooo…….said Sanath. He wanted to play till the 2011 WC. Realizing the futility of this situation, he had ordered the selection committee, headed by Aravinda, to drop Sanath for the Asia Cup and not pick him for any future tournaments. He also told his son not to interfere in any cricket matters anymore.
So, that ends the career of a legend of the game. I still have fond memories of him, of those flicks off his legs, of those amazingly fierce cut shots.
More importantly, he changed cricket for the better. He was the first opener to hit out in the first 15-overs, and changed the ways captains looked at the fielding restrictions. Rather than it being a time where the openers took singles, it is now looked upon as the time when batsmen go hell-for-leather!
It could be said that the dare-devilry of Sanath’s batting spawned the likes of Gilchrist, Gibbs, Hayden, Gayle and Sehwag.
However, all this scorn and shame heaped upon him was of his own doing. He could’ve retired after the 2007 World Cup on a high, when he scored 467 runs @ 46.7 with 2 centuries…..
Cross-posted on my personal blog, Off Cutter