What is the chairman of selectors talking about?

Ashantha de Mel, who is back as Sri Lanka’s chief selector, believes Upul Tharanga is "suspect" against the new ball and he plays "well away from his body". Tharanga, according to de Mel, belongs in the middle-order in ODIs because of this.

This is what de Mel told The Nation recently,

"Upul’s technique against the new ball is suspect. He is playing well away from his body and that is why we have decided to bring him down the order in the ODIs and play him in the middle where he has contributed."

It’s a ridiculous statement.

Tharanga has scored 4311 ODI runs while opening the batting. He is second only to Sanath Jayasuriya in the list of openers with most runs scored while opening the batting for Sri Lanka in ODIs.

Sri Lanka’s most successful openers in ODIs

Player Matches as opener Runs made as opener 100s when opening
ST Jayasuriya 384 12674 28
WU Tharanga 133 4311 12
TM Dilshan 87 3532 11
RS Mahanama 118 3283 4
MS Atapattu 93 3128 6

Since making his debut in 2005, Tharanga has made 12 ODI centuries and he is fifth on the list of highest century-makers in the 50-over format for Sri Lanka. In addition, Tharanga averaged 56.42 at last year’s World Cup and was the fifth-highest run-scorer in that tournament. And all this while opening the batting.

So, what is de Mel talking about? What does a fast bowler, who last played for Sri Lanka 26 years ago, know about batting technique? Perhaps de Mel should leave a batsman’s technique to be assessed by qualified coaches, or former batsmen even, and stick to the facts when picking a team.

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