Don’t ever expect Kusal Mendis and Chandimal to meet ODI batting demands

Kusal Mendis may be still young, but that doesn’t mean he will soon or ever be able to transformed to a limited over fast format player. The best living example for this fact is Dinesh Chandimal, who had his debut at very young age @ 20 years as an ODI player in 2010, but nearly a decade after he is still a shaking duck in the middle in limited over arena…

Precisely After Nine Years of regular chances to play nearly 150 ODIs…  where is he to day…??? Still struggling in the middle, just to keep his wicket intact by swallowing a huge number of dot balls to keep his wicket as seen from his Strike Rates still in 60s & 70s in most matches, coming to bat in the top order…..

The bare naked truth is, he is a huge bottle neck for the entire ODI batting unit, negating whatever momentum gathered by openers upfront to doom every single match as seen from his recent overall record, with no improvement at all.  Kusal Mendis is no different, except that he gets out quickly after trying to keep his strike rate up to the required mark, unlike selfish Chandimal.

Without a doubt Mendis & Chandimal are solid & skilled Test players cutout to play long Tests innings. The selectors & coach should be smart enough to understand this FACT proved repeatedly with their performance records go well beyond 50 encounters.

Expecting Kusal Mendis or Chandimal to play limited over cricket is like… Asking a patient skilled artist talented in molding or carving beautiful sculptures… to take over the job of quick Hopper Making to cater a large number of customers in a busy night stall… 🙂

Please Read my previous blog post:      Attn. Chief Selector De Mel – How SL Axed the BEST in ODIs to rely on WORST


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  1. Fair comment this and it baffles me why these two struggle in limited over cricket. Both are/were dashes and one would imagine tailor made for limited overs cricket. When Chandi came out, he was stroke maker of sorts and I cannot work out why he has such a huge struggle in limited over cricket. Mendis is another stroke maker and would expect him to be a natural limited overs players but is having a huge struggle. Given the total lack of options, I mean we are playing Chandi for crying out aloud, I still think Mendis should be pursued with. He is only very young and worth the investment.

  2. The answer is very clear, why these two are not cutout for fast paced shorter formats.

    There is a HUGE difference between Stroke making on prevailing opportunities (exploiting loose balls, flat decks, weak opponents/ bowlers, in no pressure cake walks etc) & Consistent Stoke making on any DEMANDING tough situation, under any condition, facing even top opponents in the trade are quite DIFFERENT. That is why shorter formats, especially ODIs, required a special talent & a set of skills to switch tempo at will to accelerate SR.

    Obviously the guys like Chandimal , Thirimanne , Kusal Mendis are not competent or born to do that.
    When the situation demands, guys like Chandimal & Thirimanne cannot cope up with it & simply tend to stagnate for own survival, putting the rest of the team in trouble. On the other hand, guys like Mendis would loose their wicket quickly, trying to match the demanding strike at the point becoming a walking wicket (just see the recently doomed Eng series for example, having criminally replaced the SL’s top ODI run-scorer of past 18 months -Tharanga- , Mendis continued his terminal contributions of 0 & 0 in Asia cup to score his hat-trick 0 & 5 in the two vital matches facing the full strength Eng side on relatively tough situations..! After massively contributing to loose the series…. he thrived to make a 50 after 23 innings of failures, fully exploiting the super-flat deck, facing the fully depleted 2nd string put by Eng in the dead-rubber final match.. then see what happened in NZ conditions… dumped all 3 odis to collect 38 runs @ 12 Av.

    AS already proved by Chandimal, young age doesn’t mean that he would be transformed sooner or in 10 years to acquire a set of skills that is not in his born genome. It is really foolish, futile thinking, to waste more ODIs on him. He was already given the highest number of ODIs (50+) played by any in SL in past 3 yrs at the cost of loosing numerous series & that investment is a a clear waste. WC is around the corner & SL certainly don’t need any more craftsmen to make expensive sculptures in ODI arena.

  3. Agreed to your comments on the form of Chandimal & Mendis.
    However, the stats you’ve presented would have been much more independent (in intention) if you didn’t purposefully filter the matches on/before 17th-Oct-18 – which doesn’t capture the 56(33b) by Mendis on 23 Oct 2018 vs Eng.
    [having said that, that single fifty alone cannot bring a light to his score log in recent past].

  4. In 2003 WC, there was a young SL batsman. highly rated, promising and gifted batsman. Despite all these factors, he was able to score 21 runs in nine matches in that WC. People in SL went crazy. he was heavily criticized by the public and media. just after the WC he lost his place in the squad traveled to Sharjah..however, he found his way to the national team, as selectors and administrators had faith and patient on him. in 2007 WC, it was his century took SL to the final. 2011 he hit a more than run a ball century in the final. along that he is believed to be the greatest tactician in the game his era. Mahala Jayawardene….

    there was another guy..A guy from SL U-19 team who was the runners-up in 2000 under 19 WC. he was promising and gifted. But whenever he got opportunities, he did not grab them as one likes. There was a joke at that time..wherever he was, If SL travels to a major tournament, he found his way to the team. there were stories on his father’s connections..there were stories on his ethnicity. the public and media again destroyed him through the SLC showed a lot of patience on him simply because of his capacity as a player and a captain. If he was here, he might be the man who leads SL team to the upcoming WC with more than 10,000 runs under his belt. Jehan Mubarak….

    Kusal mendis can be a mahela or depends on the extent we have faith and patience on the young man. 2019 WC is already gone fro us. Letting him have a go there will give him good exposure. We all know he has done more than MJ and sanga at his age. is in test cricket. But he is definitely not a pujara, thilan like player.He is a naturally aggressive one. So let him go.

    I agree with your concern on Upul Tharanga. The margin of error is so thin for him, giving that he has spent enough time in the international arena to improve his game, which he is not done as one likes and the opening slot where he used to bat is more competitive due to the presence of dikka, dhana and sadheera (dikka and dhana have done well too). I personally think he can be used at 5.

  5. BK – You have missed the point. The stats specifically produced here is an example to show the long stints he repeatedly failed. This failing stretch lasted 22 ODI innings between the two 50s he managed over 16 months & the overall destruction he caused to the team SL during such long lapse was enormous.

    Can any international team afford to tolerate… RUINING 22 ODI ings to scratch sorrily
    267 runs @ 12 Average ? as a specialist batter occupying the top order… can any ODI team afford to allow him any longer a gratis spot to doom series after series.. just because he is young ?? If someone has the the true potential & talent to meet the demands appropriate to the format, he doesn’t need 50 consistent chances to prove it…. but remember, within past 3 yrs Mendis had already wasted 50 odis, showing no any progress at all (nearly 1/4 of senior pro Tharanga’s innings played over a decade).

  6. Kanishka –

    Well over a decade… SL’s highest “gratis” opportunities earned… yet repeatedly failed Jehan Mubarak (Test 23 ings – 17 Av & 40 ODIs – 23 Av) to score 10,000 runs …???? Are you joking or what ? 🙂 Otherwise, this is the strangest day dream I have ever-heard of .

    What are you talking about? Didn’t you now Upul Tharanga had achieved the highest progress in batting, shown by any batter in SL ODIs during the past 2.5 years (starting with the stable consistent position in the team given to him for the first time in his long career as the skipper, removing the eternal sword always hanged over his head in the past … axing even just after making his career best unbeaten 174* & becoming the 2nd quickest in SL to top 5k runs axing for 3+ years @ 28 yrs).

    Some of Upul’s progressive achievements in past 3 yrs:

    – Upul became World’s 3rd best ODI batter in 2017 – Scoring over 1k (1,011) odi runs @ 48 av-
    92 SR in 2017 – 2×100+ & 6 x50+ .He was only behind Virat & Rohit . With the assurance of a stable team place, removing the cruel act of continuous unsettling intermittent axing faced by as no other senior player faced in history,… As seen from the record, He instantly lifted his standard to world’s top class batting and produced his career best batting year, until Hathurusinghe became a stumbling block & started to unsettle him again by undercutting.

    – In Away ODI Series played since Jun 2016, Opener Tharanga had gathered 876 runs @ 44 AV from 23 ODIs. He was the top run-scorer for SL & had scored TWO CENTURIES against formidable SA & PAK & a 95 in India in his 5 x 50+, while most other batters repeatedly failed. Upul had scored the highest number of big scores in away series during the period (2 Hundreds & 5 x50+ scores) as seen in this batting rankings.

    – As Opener Upul had proved his mettle by scoring tons in every test playing nation in the world, except in Australia (where he narrowly missed it due to a win & had the MoM award for his series winning unbeaten 86* ). All new Openers are still nowhere near him FYI.

    Here is the record of SL Openers during past 2.5 yrs:;batting_positionval2=batting_position;class=2;filter=advanced;orderby=batting_average;qualmin1=2;qualval1=innings;spanmin1=09+Aug+2016;spanval1=span;team=8;template=results;type=batting

  7. Pivithuru,
    don’t you think mahela jayawardena is a far better cricketer than his average of 32 suggested in ODIs..didn’t he one of most influential players in SL in last two decades despite his lean years of batting performances..I see you are a stat man..but once selectors take decisions on certain players, they simply do not limit to stats. they see the overall picture. (Mubarak’s capacity as a player and a captain cannot be measured by his stats..May be you have not seen him batting if you are too young.I was no fan of him. but today I miss him..I miss Mubarak the Captain) According to your stats, UT has an average of 22 in the year 2018. As a senior guy in the set-up, Do you think he can warrant a place in the team with his performances in 2018? You are talking of 2017. Then one can say in 2015/2016 Chandimal was in a good form, so he should have a go too. And I personally think it is not hathurusinghe who neglect him. It is angelo mathews..UT had to face similar scenario a few years back once angie was the captain then. I personally like tharanga..If he comes strong, it will be a blessing to us. (He has scored a 100 today)..So we will wait..I need to see tharanga in WC 19 as a senior guy who carries the team and kusal mendis as a youngster who plays some good innings and get experience which will carry to the next global event..

  8. Kanishka –

    Pl remember, UT was only allowed to play just 13 odis in 2018 before cutting his throat by Hathurusinghe,… without allowing him to regain his touch with the soon pended century or a big fifty-plus in the series Vs Eng (UT also holds the SL ever-best batting record Vs Eng 16 Odis – 674 –
    48.14 Av – 81 SR – 3 x100 – 3 x 50). Yes he Averaged 25 in that brief lean spell (but remember he won us the ONLY ODI series success recorded in 2018, with a crucial half century in the final decider of the triangular series in BD, winning the MoM award as well.

    Since 2017 January, over 38 innings, the maximum gap between Upul’s 50+ scores ranged from
    0 – 8 ODIs . But in 2018, Just 7 innings allowed for UT, between his man of the match winning 50+ (series winning decider in BD) to that rare duck, before dropping the unsettling cruel AXE continuously held over him. Those in-between 7 innings included 2 x 36 scores as well and just one single digit score of 9.

    In the SOLITARY previous occasion he had a GAP of MORE than > 4 innings (7 innings) between his 50+ scores, Upul Tharanga PRODUCED AN UNBEATEN 112* in the 8th inning followed up with another 61 in 9th inning Vs Pakistan in a tough series where entire team crumbled except for him . This is the consistency he had in his 38 innings played during past 30 months).!!!

    Treating him drastically differently to any other senior pro virtually with zero tolerance to brief error cannot be justified by any means, just because he has loads of experience (such brief lean patches are common to everyone including the ever best pros) . Look at our best legend Sanga’s career, filled with so many such lean patches – two example given below :
    10 ing – 178 runs @ 17 Av – 16 Apr 2007 – 7 Oct
    11 ing – 318 runs @ 28 Av – 11 Jan 2012 – Feb 24

    The biggest joke is chopping the best, fittest & most consistent solitary performer despite facing a severe dearth in run-makers to keep the SL scoreboard clicking, over 3 years now… Finding such lame excuses to justify the crime is futile.

  9. Note: That solo effort of unbeaten 112* as Opener in late 2017, carrying the bat throughout the entire 50 overs of an ODI inning (SL all-out 187) was also a SL all-time Record & only 10 more players had achieved that in entire world ODI history (UT ran out of partners in short of just a few runs to make the win to avoid that whit-wash was & his diehard lone-ranger battle was a first of that nature in SL cricket history).

  10. machan,
    There is no doubt about UT’s talent and his capability. And he has delivered outstanding performances over the last 10-15 years. I agree with you he has been mistreated in some ways. Especially even after great sanga-mahela’s retirement, He was not allowed to play consistently and even when he played he was severely under-used. I personally believe, angie had a role in there as it was evident that angie was scared of potential captains and blooming allrounders while he led the side..On the other hand, I see there are areas that should be improved by UT, which sometimes led axing him. One was his weakness or liability out-swinging deliveries. It took nearly a decade him to correct his error. During this period, his axing mostly occurred due to this weakness and the saddest part was he seemed not trying to correct it..Only now he solved that problem..but now he is liable for in-swingers which come towards the stumps..If you see, in recent past he used to get out with clean bowling, LBW or dragging the ball to the stumps..I don’t think hathurusinghe has a role in axing him, because it happened even before hathuru’s appearance. but I do accept that hathurusinghe does not try to protect him as he does for mendis. I stand with his support towards mendis, as if mandis gets into the right track, he is the biggest match winner we have. his problem is more mental..over the years UT’s margin of error is so thin and I think it is now thinner as he is a senior guy who is expected to deliver more consistent manner, especially when there is a competition for opening slots in the team..I believe he will be a part of our WC squad and depending on the situ he can be an opener or a solution for ur fragile meddle order..

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