Angi I've never been a huge fan of you. More specifically I've never been a fan of your captaincy. I can see you're improving and I'll give you credit for striving to improve that aspect of your game.
What I have been a fan of is your batting (your bowling to an extent too I guess). Your evolution in cricket illustrates what we hope, what we ask for from every talent that graces our team, whether it be thirimanne, chandimal or whoever else. You went from this immense talent that just wasn't consistent to being the rock of our batting, the one that can't be budged by opposing teams , alternatively the one that can be hurled at the opposition knocking them out cold. Responsibility was thrust upon you, and you took it with respect and shouldered it, justifying the privilege of representing the nation.
That knock was one of the greatest of the format. Unfortunately you were just on the wrong side of the line. It epitomized the sri lankan people and cricket, the hope, the talent, the competitiveness. We could see your desperation to win, we felt that desperation too. The frustration you felt for being in that situation, we felt it. The smidgen of hope at turning things around. The sense of hopelessness in those final few balls.
Thank you for fighting through the pain, for batting on to give even the chance of an unlikely victory, thank you for trying for you, for the fans, for the nation. Thank you for giving us this bitter-sweet memory, of one of the greatest knocks at one of our most hopeless moments in modern cricket.
At the same time, sorry that you… that we were on the wrong side of the line for this one. Sorry, but even though you deserved a win our team did not, and thus you did not.
Hardly anyone shouldered any responsibility and it was never as collective, as it should be. The lack of self belief in our team was evident every time they took to the field. The slumped shoulders, downcast eyes, reluctance to go after the ball, it was as though they would much rather be anywhere but there. This team wasn't a team, it was mish-mash of individuals who just didn't click together as far as ability goes.
Despite the urge during this, and several previous, campaigns to switch off the tv, chuck the remote out the window and go to sleep there have been glimmers of hope for the future. Jeffrey Vandersay, treated so unfairly by the selection committee, showed them why he was thought to be deserved of a place in the squad. Dushmantha Chameera's gradual improvement over the last several months has been heartening, his improvement in a few months has been far greater than the improvement, or lack of it, of some of our national cricketers over several years.
So hold your head up Angi, if we have learned anything from these mistakes, there'll be changes for the future. Maybe one day down the line an innings like that will bring victory, perhaps from your blade, perhaps from the blade of a new face. It could be 6 months down the line or 3 year but regardless of which we've got the teams back. Through frustration, annoyance, gritted teeth or cheers and delirium 21 million people will always have your back.