Dilhara Fernando made a comeback into the international scene this week, as I was going in the bus what the person behind me shouted was "Why do we have Dilhara?". Then someone else suggested that he was there to give Pakistan Batsman free hits,inoring these I browsed the facebook page, and saw a post about the team for the match, and almost all the comments also had "Oh nooo Dilhara" type feeling. This made me think of Dilhara Fernando the cricketer, who the average cricket fan thinks of a villian who can’t even bowl a legal delivery in a tv advertiesment, and has no right to be a part of the future of Sri Lankan cricket in anyway. Is this actually fair? No.
Dilhara Fernando has no way acheived the heights he was destined for when he took 5 wickets against South Africa, and bowled 148 kmph which many belived he can only imporve upon by getting fit and stronger. He has had is well documented issues in no balls and injuries and had a stop start career. In early 2000’s before and after the 2003 world cup he was showing glimpses of settling in.But bar a few more little bits of brilliance he hasn’t been anyway near the bowler he could have been,So where will he go now?
Forget the past and look at his attributes for a while, at this momnet of time Dilhara is easily the quickest of Sri Lankan bowlers, even when out of rythm he can easily touch 146-147 which he did even against Pakistan in the 1st ODI. He has the height and can obtain seam movement from the falttest of tracks as Sachin Tendulkar will know every well. He is erractic nature and no ball problems have diminished with time.. So in theory he still has the ingerdiants to be the fast bowler he badly need in tests at least ,at 32 for a good 3-4 years depending on fitness.
The obvious question would be can he be a thinking bowler, people will say he struggles under pressure, and in gerneral some just tend to think he has no brains. Sure about that? Remenber the video of Dilhara bowling the last over in the world cup match and winning it?. Remember the times of batsman he foxed with his change of pace split finger slower ball? What Dilhara Fernando doens’t have is confidence and the so called cricket fans calling him a no balling machine won’t help.Number of times one no ball or one misfield even has messed up Dilhara’s whole spells.
Now I am not trying to make Dilhara the answer of all problems we face.not at all. There are many drawbaks his injury record for one, the last England tour was a classic example of after being out of the firsttest, coming back bowling at 92 miles per hour,troubling Ian Bell with short balls he broke down, which is the last thing you need at a time stability is of utmost importance.Then as I mentioned before his well documented problem with confidence and no balls etc.
In conlusion my aim was to look at Dilhara Fernando in the context of where we stand at this moment of time, at a time speed and wicket taking ability seems to be comepletley lost in our test team, Why can’t Dilhara Fernando be the answer? Do we really have better fast bowlers who can take wickets in South Africa? What ever the answers may be it is definitely unfair on Dilhara to be considered ‘ a waste of space’ as many unfortunately beleive, and now that he is in the team a little bit of faith in him won’t do too bad does it?