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With mystery spinners in hot water, Dilruwan Perera’s conventional off-spin deserves an extended run

With Tharindu Kaushal’s immediate future in doubt, Dilruwan Perera deserves another opportunity to make his case for a permanent place in the test side. 

Dilruwan played 8 test matches for Sri Lanka between January 2014 and June 2015. A comparison of Dilruwan’s statistics to the best off-spinners in world cricket in the recent past suggest that he had done more than a credible job for Sri Lanka. Dilruwan’s statistics compared to the other off-spinners Sri Lanka tried in the recent past clearly suggests that he has had more success than his peers.

Bowler                  Mat        Wicks       Ave         Econ        SR
Ashwin                 28            145         28           3               57
Swann                  60            255         30           2.98          60
Perera                  8              40           31           3.11          60
Kaushal                6              24           42           4              63
Ajmal                   35            178          28           2.6           65
Lyon                    46            162          34           3.16          65
Mendis                19             70           35           3.1            67
Randiv                 12            43            37           3.07         73
 
If success is measured by strike rate and economy, then Dilruwan clearly has been the most successful Sri Lankan off-spinner since Muralitharan. Even when compared to off-spinners around the world, Dilruwan’s statistics rank in the top 3. This is by no means to suggest that he is a better bowler than someone like Ajmal or even Lyon. Dilruwan has only played 8 matches and most of them in the subcontinent. The likes of Ajmal and Lyon have been challenged over a longer period of time, in different conditions and against all opposition. What is clear however, is the fact that Dilruwan certainly had enough success during his first year in test cricket to have warranted an extended opportunity.

Crickets’ fascination with mystery spinners who are renowned for bringing instant success has sent fans and administrators on a frenetic search for the next Murali. However, with cricket’s governing body having adopted a yahapalana approach to bowling, it is soon becoming obvious that long term success is most likely with a conventional hard-working off-spinner like Dilruwan, than an exciting mystery spinner who is likely to spend more time answering to yahapalana crickets’ CID and less time on winning matches for his country.

While Tharindu might still develop into a more effective wicket taker than Dilruwan in years to come, his recent performances suggest that he has a lot more work to do with accuracy and control, if he is to succeed at the highest level.  Dilruwan Perera’s record alone suggests that he deserves a test recall ahead of Tharindu Kaushal, irrespective of the outcome of the latter’s impending visit with yahapalana cricket’s CID.  

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