A provisional 20 men Test squad has been announced, for the upcoming task in England.
As guessed, the unfortunate fall guy Upul Tharanga (31 yrs) had missed the bus yet again – he had scored two near hundreds and almost three 50s (just missed within 5 runs) with contributions that won a decider, sealing a Test series. This consistency was achieved from 6 intermittently given Tests spread over 12 months… he got starts in Every test, since comeback after 7 yrs and failed to enter double figures only in one test.
It is worthwhile comparing his consistency in most recent Tests / Domestic-super-8 FC, with the selected bunch, to see what else he could have done to get selected.
On top of his wide international experience & impressive overall performance record Vs England (58 Av – 3 x 100 – 2 x 50) & dealing with conditions in Eng. (5 Odis – 347 runs @ 70 Av) in shorter version), the following are his recent Tests / Domestic FC performances.. 😉
83 v South Africa Galle 16 Jul 2014 Test # 2129
14 v South Africa Galle 16 Jul 2014 Test # 2129
11 v South Africa Colombo (SSC) 24 Jul 2014 Test # 2131
30 v South Africa Colombo (SSC) 24 Jul 2014 Test # 2131
19 v Pakistan Galle 6 Aug 2014 Test # 213
12 v Pakistan Galle 6 Aug 2014 Test # 213
92 v Pakistan Colombo (SSC) 14 Aug 2014 Test # 2136
45 v Pakistan Colombo (SSC) 14 Aug 2014 Test # 2136
46 v Pakistan Pallekele 3 Jul 2015 Test # 2169
48 v Pakistan Pallekele 3 Jul 2015 Test # 2169
4 v India Colombo (SSC) 28 Aug 2015 Test # 2179
0 v India Colombo (SSC) 28 Aug 2015 Test # 2179
His most recent Super-8 FC matches are as follows:
172, Nondescripts v Col CC Colombo (Moors) 3 Mar 2016 FC
51 Nondescripts v Col CC Colombo (Moors) 3 Mar 2016 FC
60, Nondescripts v Ragama Colombo (PSS) 25 Feb 2016 FC
139 Nondescripts v Ragama Colombo (PSS) 25 Feb 2016 FC
111, Nondescripts v Tamil Union Colombo (RPS) 18 Feb 2016 FC
29 Nondescripts v Tamil Union Colombo (RPS) 18 Feb 2016 FC
15, Nondescripts v Moors Colombo (Colts) 11 Feb 2016 FC
84 Nondescripts v Moors Colombo (Colts) 11 Feb 2016 FC
Completely forgetting his wide experience & performances, even age wise he seems to be stranded in no man's land, compared to others of his age (newcomer Milinda Siriwardane 31 yrs) or much older guys like Mubarak (34 yrs), Tharanga Paranavithana (34 yrs). They all were lucky enough to get consistent chances, unlike Upul. Last June 34 year old Mubarak was preferred over him for 1st 2 Tests Vs India. despite Upul averaging 47 in the solitary Test given to him in Pk series, just before that series (despite achieving overall 40 Av, since comeback).
Milinda proved his worth and got his reward, Upul proved his worth amid many disruptions within a brief window (without consecutive matches as seen in the dated list)… but dumped with no recognition for his overall productivity or progress shown since comeback. Mubarak wasted his consecutive chances yet again with failures. Recalled Tharanga Paranavithana's performances… yet to see. We have already wasted too many chances, continuously gambling with failures such as, Kithuruwan, Thirimanne etc, who were readily preferred over Upul during the past 18 months.
SL is desperately looking for Experienced hands. Yet, most experienced player among current SL players, with 6,5k+ international runs is invisible to open up a little window in the gambling Vegas, full of rookies & some oldies.
Hope our guys will do well in England. So we all can be happy after a long time with no regrets to carry forward…. yet again to the next series.
But certainly there are some spooky stars in Upul's horoscope :))