Dropping Chandimal for South Africa a poor decision on many levels

Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal

After the disastrous tour of Australia changes were expected. But to drop the most experienced batsman available for an even more challenging tour of South Africa defies all logic! It is true that Chandimal failed in Australia and has had mixed results over the last 14 months. However, the circumstances under which he failed should be taken into consideration.

Batting at #3 has not worked for him or the team 

As the captain of a Test team with an unstable batting line up, Chandimal was forced to take the responsibility of batting at the crucial #3 position starting with the tour of West Indies. Sri Lanka had previously tried several players at #3 with little success and Chandimal did not want to burden a younger player like Mendis or Dhananjaya with that responsibility anymore. Chandimal batted #3 in four Tests, once in the West Indies and New Zealand and twice in Australia and averaged 19. His overall average during this 14 month period, 31 from 9 Tests, is more a reflection of his game not being suited for #3, than his current form or quality as a middle order batsman. During this same period, in the five Tests where he batted in the middle order, he averaged 45.

Second best batsman at #5 and #6

Chandimal has been Sri Lanka’s second best middle order batsman, after Mathews, over the past 4 years. As his overall statistics point out, his game is best suited for batting in the middle order.

Position – Matches – Average

2 – 1 – 36

3 – 4 – 19

4 – 14 – 38

5 – 15 – 59

6 – 20 – 42

7 – 10 – 39

In-form batsman

Chandimal did not need to go back to domestic cricket to regain his form. In fact, he has been one of the most prolific middle order Test batsman for Sri Lanka in the past 26 months. Even while he averaged just 31 in the last 9 Tests, Chandimal averaged 45 in the five Tests where he batted in the middle order. In 12 Tests in 2017 Chandimal averaged 45 with three hundreds and 5 fifties.

Needed his experience in the middle and dressing room in South Africa

The decision to replace Chandimal as captain is justified. He never had looked a strong captain on or off the field and being freed of the burn will help him contribute more to the team as a batsman. But to drop him at a time when the team needed an experienced and in-form middle order batsman, defies all logic. In addition to missing his batting in the middle, the new and inexperienced batsman selected for this tour will miss the guidance and mentoring of a seasoned batsman of Chandimal’s caliber. As such, the decision to drop Chandimal could have dire consequences on not just his, but the careers of younger players thrown into the deep end without an experienced mentor to guide them.


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  1. Sorry do not agree with you.Please dont forget Graham Labrooy did take worst decesion’s. Chandimal always was looked like a pet always unable stand on his own time and time again depending too much on Coach.Also unable to keep the players together it’s certainly lack of leadership. owen it matters most he is unable to deliver now no pointspeaking about the past. Simple .Example in 2014 (not sure about the Year) during T20 World cup he was the tour Captain but due to certain crucial leadership lapses Captaincy was given to Lasith Malinga who did admirably well to win the World Cup SL scored 130 odd runs defended it magnificently with all players giving 100%.So it’s time since Angelo is out needed a change as unity of the team was in dissaray having 3 groups is too much to swallow. His form has left him. His on field leadership presntly much to be desired.So risk’s must be taken at certain times but yeah wen it fails all will jump but if it works there will be so many to pick the praises so let’s see and hope for the best at a time SL Cricket needs every ones backing.

  2. In 2016, the last time SL visited to SA, Angie was the captain. Then Dhananjaya Silva was the most promising batsman of Sl, with the record of highest aggregated runs within the first 5 test matches in SL history and well placed at number 7. Avery strange move was taken by SL team management (This was pre-hathurusinghe era when the captains had supreme power over team decisions). In pace and bouncy tracks, Dhananjaya Silva was promoted to higher up in the batting order and the senior fellows like of angie and chandi moved back to the middle…The poor dhananjaya did not survive against fearsome pacers in SA and in the worst case, he lost his confidence in big time. Then there was a string of poor performances in ODIs and T20. Our brainy selectors decided to axe him in the next test assignment against BA and his career was seemed dusted by the selfish and irrational decision made by the captain and co, in SA. However, he recovered his form in IND. In 2018/19, SL has three tough tours. We all know we will lose these series in big time. However, Chandimal could have been in the middle order happily, exposing Dhanajaya, Roshen in the up. But he took the responsibility and decided to go high in the order. He failed and lost his place. A good lesson to him. Do not be a team man. Play for your place as most do in these days. Now a bunch of newbies has sent to SA, where SA is looking forward to an act of revenge for what we did them in 2018. There is noone in the middle order to guide them. Once they fail (the most possible thing to happen), our freaky selectors will cut their throat as well.

  3. Yes the move to drop Chandi makes no sense at all. Sure he has failed in the last 5 tests but who succeeded? Dropping him as captain is not an issue, after all its one of our selection policies – just change the captain ever so often. But Chandi’s international record is second to none in the last few years and his experience is invaluable for a team who cannot buy a run it seems.

    I am all for bringing in new and young players but not throwing everyone out at the first sign of failure. I am also not sure why Kaushal Silva is being recalled. He was just recalled for the English series and dropped and now recalled again!

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