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Thilanga is on right track to salvage SL Cricket – SLC to restructure selection process.!

According to recent news, Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala had mentioned "We have initiated five Provincial Selection Committees which will be announced soon. And the head of those five committees who will be called as the Provincial Selectors and their President will be one of the National Selection Committee Members".

This is one of the most despicable issues SL underwent during past 30 months (two and a half years) due to bias selections, mainly confined to capital district guys. That is one of the main causes of the pathetic state, SL cricket in today. SL's opening spot in odis was a constant problem faced since a well-established opener like Upul Tharanga  (outstation lad with a world-class productivity record as No1 opener) was astonishingly axed at 28 years without giving any window (just 6 random odis ) over 3 years & just given a single chance to open since he was axed in 2013 July. But, repeated failures like Kusal, Thirimanne & even Dimuth (in odis) were given numerous chances despite losing many matches including 2011 WC.

Clean sweep handed over by NZ  for the second time within 12 months in their own conditions, revealed the stark nakedness in temperament of front-order batters, who repeatedly failed to build substantial partnerships or play long innings. That was the main cause of batting collapses & overall downfall.

Tharanga has 10+ years experience in International (6,500+ runs) & 15 years in First class (7,700+ runs). It is worthwhile looking at Upul Tharanga's  NEVER RECOGNIZED  track record.  His long partnerships in TESTS & ODIs are as follows :

– His 38 Test innings produced 15 stands worth 50-124 runs for 1st to 6th wicket.

– His 172 odi innings produced 76 stands worth 50-286 runs for 1st to 7th wicket.

1) 200-286* runs – 7** x  partnerships (World Record)

2) 100-199 runs  – 16 x partnerships

3) 50- 99 runs – 53 x partnerships

He holds 2 ODI World Records for partnerships : 1) WORLD's HIGHEST (286) 1st wicket stand – 2) ** World's highest number of 7x 200+ stands. Only a very few players worldwide hold this kind of consistency record for TEMPERAMENT in building long innings.

But, incompetent SL selectors did their selections according to their personal preferences & mindset on individuals. Obviously, Selectors had no value or recognition for any of these credentials, experience or productivity. The decisions were purely made on proof-less eternal speculations in potential of privileged failures & baseless criticism on technicality of unwanted nobodies like Tharanga, despite proven productivity in performance. The only explanation is, this guy is not from their privileged circle (who were fortunate enough to secure constant spots in the side, irrespective of failures).

Tharanga is  World's 2nd best consistent # 1 opener in putting up big TONS & Fifty plus scores (please see the stats given in foot notes 1 & 2). His 38 x 50+ yielded 3,166 runs for SL @ 102 Av – 84 SR.!  But SL's Colombo biased selectors ruined a young player's career since 28 years, wasting a resourceful assert remaining for the future.

Why did they eliminate Worlds 2nd best consistent No1 opener capable of making big Tons & 50+ and world's best in the business of making long partnerships ? For more than 2 years without any opportunities ?? To put runs on the board, first a batsmen should get a window of opportunity. Did he get any opportunity at all to open in Odis since mid 2013? Can you consider the solitary Odi given in Indian tour during the past 30 months as a chance?

Remember, he was axed just 3 weeks after recording SL's 2nd FASTEST 5,000 runs with his career best unbeaten 174* in Kingston Vs Ind, winning his Eleventh MOM award in July 2013! Wasn't he a good opener when axed 30 months ago? He didn't make those 5k+ runs & all those records in a SINGLE DAY or "10 years ago".

The most recent 2 years of Tharanga's career as an Opener, up to his unjustified axing: 2011-2013 Aug** : 58 in – 1,865 – 174* HS – 35.18 Av – 75.59 SR- 5 x 100 -10 x 50 (pl check the footnote stats link). Forget about all other achievements, is this record can justify his 30 months axing, to slot in an persist with such an inconsistent failure like Kusal Perera in his place? Almost  50% of Kusal's innings ended under 10 runs & 10 balls including 8 Ducks: (KJP – 19 innings yielded just 69 runs @ 3 Av -55 SR).

We all know how he was treated in Tests, despite putting up 400 runs at 40 Av from 5 tests & winning a Test series for SL with his batting contributions in a decider Vs Pk . He produced this just in 4th test played since recalled after 7 years, but axed for another year blocking the opportunity he earned to play in NZ at the beginning of 2015. He scored 84, 36,  92, 45, 46, 48 against the likes of Morkel, Steyn, Philander, Junaid, Riaz, Imran & had progressively productive batting averages of 35, 42 & 47  in 3 series Vs SA & Pk, before axing for the 3rd time within a brief stint of 6 tests, spread over 12 months. No need to say what will happen to the confidence of even any world's best batter, if subjected to such awful handling.

Failure Kithuruwan (2014 SA series 10 Av, Pk series 16 Av & 2015 Pk series 14 Av), then sent to NZ with SL-A, while repeatedly blocking the progress of UT (his performance in same series: 2014 SA series 35 Av, Pk series 42 Av & 2015 Pk series 47 Av).

Just comparing this treatment with the recent track records of guys like Thirimanne, Kithruwan etc. will tell the long story in short. Numerous excuses can be fabricated, but none can deny or change the absolute reality of these appalling discrepancies collectively show up in ultimate results (losing 10 series within 12 months in all formats). 

Nothing counts for Tharanga..! No recognition for his impressive productivity records, career stats, wide experience or not even match winning performances. That is how he became World's first ever batsmen to be dropped from a Test squad (NZ tour Dec 2014) after being the highest batting contributor (67 Av) in previous series decider Test (v Pk in Sept 2014). So no point talking about the 3 axing episodes followed despite regular progress shown with 40 Av from 5 tests & recording 47 Av @ No3. The treatment is same in Odis. This Opener was axed for 30 months immediately after recording a match winning, career best unbeaten 174* runs & topping 5k runs as 2nd fastest in SL.

As mentioned above, no matter how much runs he consistently put up for SL, ONLY Upul's frequent mode of dismissal (being a left-hander) is NOTICEABLE to biased Partial Visionaries in SL cricket rely on non performing single-digit-masters like Kusal Perera, Thrimanne, Kithuruwan etc. Last year, Sanga had mentioned in a speech that Brian Lara had defined the way left-handers are getting out, when asked why he was mostly got out in his career, edging to slips. So obviously, it can't be any different to left-handed Opener Tharanga, but not in the eyes of destructively biased SL Selectors & humbug Criticizers.

Opener UT – OUTSIDE subcontinent faced 2,245 balls : 51 ODIs – 1,631 runs @ 35.5 Av. 4 x 100 – 10 x 50 (pl check the footnote stats link). Can this record achieved by an Opener with any major batting flaw, in those seam friendly conditions?  No explanation from any of those humbug critics..!

Outstation lad, Rumesh Buddika is another example among youngsters, who was victimized due to his origin.

Proven track records cannot be compromise for speculated abilities, technical perfections or potentials never proved with substantial performances, despite ample opportunities in International Stage. What really matters for the side is proven ability to put up big scores consistently in every corner of the world. That is a skill, so called technical perfectionists riding on gratis tickets could not even dream of.

Broadminded, Credible Selection Panel, wise enough to consider the whole island as a nation (with substantial experience in international cricket, to recognize the importance of experience, productivity & proven records of players) is a must to do well in future. A Foreign Coach is the only gateway to stop Nepotism.

It is heartening to note the new move in right direction.

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Note:

1) World's MOST Productive No1 ODI openers with Highest Number of 100+ scores, <4000 balls:

Rank # 1) HM Amla (SA)

Rank # 2) U. Tharanga. (SL)

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?batting_positionmax1=1;batting_positionval1=batting_position;class=2;filter=advanced;orderby=hundreds;qualmax1=4000;qualmin1=1;qualval1=balls_faced;runsmin1=50;runsval1=runs;template=results;type=batting

2) World's MOST Productive No1 ODI openers with Highest Number of 50+ scores, under 4000 balls:

Rank # 1) GC Smith (SA)

Rank # 2 ) U. Tharanga (SL) – 38 x 50 plus scores (13 x 100 -25 x 50) -3166 r -102.12 Av -3815 b – 82.98 SR

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?batting_positionmax1=1;batting_positionval1=batting_position;class=2;filter=advanced;orderby=innings;qualmax1=4000;qualmin1=1;qualval1=balls_faced;runsmin1=50;runsval1=runs;template=results;type=batting

Batting record Between Jan 2011 and Aug 2013:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/50747.html?class=2;spanmax2=30+Aug+2013;spanmin2=01+Jan+2011;spanval2=span;template=results;type=batting;view=innings

 Batting record Outside Subcontinent:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/50747.html?class=2;filter=advanced;host=1;host=2;host=3;host=4;host=5;opposition=1;opposition=2;opposition=3;opposition=4;opposition=5;opposition=6;opposition=7;orderby=start;spanmax1=31+Dec+2014;spanval1=span;template=results;type=batting;view=innings

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