To: Sanga Bashers and Sanath Haters

Sanga Bashers Country Club,
Colombo Branch

Sanath Haters Union,
Colombo Branch

Stop the unconstructive hate speeches

Dear Sir/Madam,

It is has been with great disappointment that I close the browser window after reading through some of the articles and comments on recently. Having said that; it is also refreshing to see so many views and people of many walks of life voicing their opinion in a public arena. At least for now the web it seems is a true reflection of the people’s opinion in contrast to the media channels run in Sri Lanka. Cough Cough.

First let’s take a look at the curious case of Sanga.

Perhaps the most verbally gifted captain Sri Lanka has produced is never short of a word whether it is on the or off the field. His captaincy was the anticipated long before it was to become reality. Along with Mahela, the man who he succeeded as captain they form the nucleolus of the current setup. He was the most obvious and ONLY realistic choice for captaincy after Mahela’s unexpected resignation. The rest as they say is history. Sanga had a good start to his captaincy duties when he guided Sri Lanka to brink of World T20 success but has lost his luck afterwards.

Sri Lanka have always been hot and cold since 1996 world cup and have never been as consistent as their talent dictates. It has always been the captain who was to take most of the flack for it. When we think about the past captains and their legacy there is one thing we associate with each. Arjuna showed us how to stand up on our feet; Marven and Mahela understood that there is no point fighting with one arm tied behind your back and revived Sri Lankan fast bowling to a point where we can win matches with our bowling. Sanga in his short stint has shown that he treats players on their performance and not on hype or past records. He is as clear as anyone needs to be about team selection and is bold enough not to sugar coat it. I think most people hate him now because he left out one of their favourite players but fail to realize that goodbyes are never sweet and it benefits Sri Lankan cricket to have some youngsters with talent exposed to international cricket. Best example would be the case of Chaminda Vaas, It is without a doubt I say he is the best fast bowler produced by Sri Lanka period. But we should not be emotional when we drop him because it benefits Sri Lanka on the LONG run. On the short run we will definitely lose some matches and Sanga will wish he had a Vaasy to give the ball to. Not all decisions are black and white but we should not blame Sanga for taking some really bold and far sighted decisions that none of the selectors would have had the balls to do. Only time will tell how this new policy benefits Sri Lankan cricket.

The area Sanga deserves the flack he gets (maybe) is in his field placing and the lack of intent to attack. He hates to see a drop catch, a misfield or a missed opportunity get away and expects everyone in the team to give it their best; he does not tolerate slackers and gets VERY emotional on the field. Mahela in contrast was a very cool customer under pressure and this is an area Sanga could learn a thing or two from his best mate. Even though this is true some of the statements from certain people here lack depth and logic when they criticise his tactics. True he needs to better communicate with Lasith Malinga on how they go about attacking and still keeping the runs tight. Both of them are professional enough to communicate with each other and come up with a plan that works and STICK to it. Everyone seems to forget that Execution is an important part too. Having said that; Malinga has two lengths and expecting a Dale Steyn out of him would be a mistake on Sanga’s part. Remember that famous saying “Sometimes a deep midwicket is the most attacking fielder for a spinner.” (Was it warne who said that?)
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again and it is up to both Malinga and Mendis to show us that they have the mental strength and more than one dimension. No captain is good enough if you don’t have self belief and guts. IMHO we need to win test matches before even thinking about T20s. Wheels will fall into place once we have a good test side not the other way around.

Murali is right in saying If not Sanga who else is left?

Sanga is nowhere near what we need from him as far as tactics and intent goes but he is an intelligent individual and will learn from his mistakes. Being articulate is not a fault but an asset for a captain (duh) as all good companies have a PR officer and for Sri Lankan cricket he is it. He is charismatic and will no doubt take the brand of Sri Lankan cricket to the world. Please give him a fair go.

Almost forgot about Sana boy. (Boy?)

The evergreen Matara district MP has shed the skin of the Matara Mauler of late and is been discussed in the forums for the reasons other than cricket. When was the last time he won a game for Sri Lanka or Mumbai Indians? It is a sad dose of reality for any fan including me.

Sanath will have better hand-eye coordination and power than most cricketers but is a shadow of himself. He fails in ways that the old out of form Sanath did not, further fuelling a case for his retirement.

To leave out the most attacking batsman produced by Sri Lanka for a T20 world cup would be unheard of but was Jeewantha Kulatunga omitted from the world T20 squad because of Sanath? On current form there is no point denying the fact that Jeewantha would be a better asset than Sanath. One could argue that this discussion is pointless because the selectors over the past five years have been allergic to Kulatunga.

Sanath needs to decide for the sake of Sri Lankan cricket and take ONE bold decision whether to stay on and play or to retire. If he stays on then this MP business is bull shit. But if he works hard and shows us that he has regained that old mojo I have no problem in him playing in the T20 team as he is the most successful and attacking opener we have had. That is an exception I’m sure Sanga would make to his Age policy as hypocrite as it may sound.

I am writing this with sincere hope that both Sanga and Sanath do well in the remainder of the IPL. There are people who wish that Sanga and Sanath fail and sadly some of them are Sri Lankan. Please don’t bring politics into the pure joy sports brings and lets us all push our heroes to do their best. Criticise where necessary but make sure it leads to something constructive and positive.

Yours truly,

Dasith Wijesiriwardena.
Sri Lankan Cricket Fan and Blogger

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