In the latest scenario ahead of forthcoming series Vs PK, some names of constant failures at international level (proven as non-achievers), some aged (34+) players who never succeeded in grasping numerous consecutive opportunities given during the decade & domestic flat-track bloomers who thrive only on mediocre bowling attacks in homely conditions, but pathetic sinking-holes in internationals, are hyped around as potential replacements for big 3, based purely on recent domestic blooms.
Disgusting international track record sans any significant achievements (international level batting averages @ tail ender levels ranging from 15 to 22) is the unmistakable sign, common to all those players. These failures are rumored as ideal replacements to fill up the huge void created in experience, consistency & productivity, due to the exodus of big three (Sanga’s about to happen). We all know those three were the major force behind almost every success in Test/ODI, in the past decade.
The most recent SL success came in 2014 August, in the previous Test series against PAK. Opener Tharanga played a series winning role in the decider, being the highest contributor in batting, scoring sparkling 92 & 45 runs glazed with 17 boundaries. In the limited opportunity given after 7 year cold storage, UT displayed his potential in Test cricket, with a productive batting stint with two near-hundred top scores (against two formidable bowling attacks), seen from any SL Opener for 8 months since January 2014. Those 4 innings were the longest opportunity UT was given to play CONSECUTIVELY in any format for almost 2 years to date, since his ODI career was virtually STALLED by Sanath, since mid-2013 (allowing just randomly scattered 4 solitary ODIs, months apart during the past 2 years).
Despite UT’s overall batting contributions in previous 2-series Vs SA/Pak (3rd highest accumulator with 306 runs @ 38 Av) plus top form in Premier division & only Opener who had scored a Ton in any format in NZ up to then (without new field restriction rule benefit), he was axed from the Test squad to tour NZ. Instead, Dimuth was selected again as Opener, with no justification whatsoever, cruelly denying the definite place that he earned with his bat!
Upul in season 2014 – 4 Tests – 8 in – 306 r- 92 HS- 38.25 Av – 84 Vs SA / 92 Vs Pak and helped to win a series in the short stint given to him & deservedly EARNED a spot as an Opener in Tests to continue. Yet, he was shockingly eliminated from the Test squad selected to tour NZ in December (previous series winning highest contributor was overlooked for the first time in World Cricket history) by Sanath & Co.), which ended up in a humiliating 2-0 disaster!
Dimuth repeatedly failed to deal with the seam attack in both formats, ending up with a string of low scores, managing just 176 runs from 12 innings @ 14.6 Av in Test/ODI in NZ & WC series (except for that solitary Lottery inning of 152 (thanks to the midwicket sub-fielder who floored the straightforward sitter at 10). Apart from that fluky 2nd inning which served no purpose in an already given away Test, he never managed to contribute a single significant score, despite getting 12 continuous chances at a trot (2 Tests & 8 ODIS) in playing XI in NZ & WC series. He was absurdly selected to open in ODIs in NZ & most vital WC series purely on a solitary Test inning fluked on a stroke of luck, overlooking the disasters that he caused in the outcome of Test series (with the blessings of his college mate Mathews & Selector SJ, who persisted with him).
You need to look at any performance through match outcome perspective. What's the use of once in a blue-moon fluky 152 (granted by a sub-fielder), if the same batter had already paved the way to decide the outcome of the Test match, triggering a total collapse (128 all out) in the first inning with a 4 ball duck resulting in a heavy defeat by 8 wickets? In the 2nd Test Dimuth’s contributions were no better, having scored just 16 & 17 resulting in another heavy defeat by 193 runs & costing the entire Test series Vs NZ with a shameful 2-0 rout. As seen from his recent performances, Dimuth’s repeated failures as an opener in Tests, ODI series in NZ (7 in – 106 r @ 15.14 Av – 65 S/R) & World Cup (4 ODI- 37 r @ 18.5 Av- 69 S/R) contributed heavily in TOTAL DISASTERS experienced by SL in NZ & WC !
Should Dimuth be selected to open again in forthcoming series, despite his disgusting failures contributing to SL’s heavy losses in both formats? Can you justify a mediocre player, who totally failed as an Opener to grab the unjustified consecutive opportunities granted recently in both formats by former selectors? Especially, after contributing to inflict heavy losses?
It seems, now they are looking back again at another couple of players who brought total misery to SL in ODIs/Tests in numerous opportunities given to them in recent times & another guy tried & failed over a decade, registering repeated failures against formidable international bowlers (averaging low 20s or below). Musical-chairs seems to be going on forever among some "within territory" privileged bunch, who were highly glorified on a few purple patches in domestic scene but constantly failed against world-class bowlers, outside.
The biggest question is, why look at any repeatedly tried & failed Youth & Old, purely on domestic purple blooms, while the most experienced & Productive international career remaining in our resources was unjustly put on hold for more than 2 years at just 30 years?
If not for the territory based peculiar selection practices (well-known in SL), at 28 years Tharanga should have been leading the side after MJ/Dilly & Sanga, on seniority & credentials based merit. But, instead he was totally axed from the international scene just a month after registering SL’s 2nd quickest 5,000 runs in ODIs. Then he was repeatedly overlooked for 14 squads selected to play internationals during the past 2 years up to WC, denying him any reasonable opportunity to play at international level.
For the sake of SL cricket, New selectors should look at this discrepancy & unjustly treatment, before anything else & hopefully RECTIFY the mess caused in SL Opening spot due to wasteful mismanagement & personal agenda oriented power abuse, by previous selection regime.
None can deny or question UT's ability/technique to deal with the new ball seam in any condition as an Opener, on deliberate misconceptions germinated in SL (selectively criticizing him for occasional edges common to all openers), because he has one of the best productivity credentials for an opener achieved in the trade & among the BEST high-scoring frequency credentials recorded in the WORLD among openers..
Most of all, UT has Solid Track-record Credentials, sparkling with World’s HIGHEST number of FIFTY-plus scores (THIRTYSEVEN) registered by any opener during the 7-year period up to his unfortunate omission in 2013. He has the 3rd BEST high scoring frequency of a 50+ in every 3.8 inning, only behind Tendulkar 3.0 & GC Smith (SA) 3.2, among all Openers who had scored more than 30 such productive scores over 50, during those 7 years.
This proves Upul's productivity as an Opener & currently at just 30 years, he is the most experienced international opener in the whole World today, with 141 ODI innings as opener, scoring 4,615 runs @ 34.27 Av- 74.01 SR – 174* HS -12 x100- 25 x 50. He had faced the HIGHEST number of deliveries (6,623) among current openers in the World, dealing with new ball attack from best in the trade of seam bowling. These facts are more than enough to disprove baseless misconceptions! Most of all he is still young (in middle of his career), with at least 7 years of productive career remaining for the future.
It is interesting to note, that @ 30 years, Upul Tharanga had scored MORE RUNS (5,339 runs) & 50+ scores (41 x50+ including Tons) in his 168 ODI Innings than Champion SL Batters (@ the same stage of their careers) in the caliber of:
Sangakkara (5,274 runs / 40 x50+),
Mahela (4,666 runs/ 29 x50+),
Dilshan (4,915 runs / 28 x50+)
or any former stars such as
Aravinda (4,802 runs – 37 x50+),
Sanath (4,582 runs/ 37 x50+) @ the same stage of their careers (in their 168 th ODI inning).!
Any blind would see, Tharanga is the best assert SL Cricket currently have in their invested resources remaining from the past, for the future. Sanath’s regime already wiped valuable Two years of that career, destabilizing the opening spot, just for the sake of portraying his own image through a look-alike. That saga ultimately ended up in a hilarious clown show, flattening all SL hopes at WC Quarter Final (wasting the career best massive efforts seen from Sanga & Dilshan, who towed the entire team up to that stage).
New Selectors under “yaha paalanaya” have to clean up the mess first.
If they overlook Opener Tharanga again, preferring “Billboard” champs over him in ODIs & Tests…. that could be the crime of century & would certainly resulted in disaster to the side, missing the shoulders of of experienced big three (who pulled 90% of the load of producing long innings in both formats)!