Is Sri Lanka Cricket heading in the right direction?

Sri Lanka's Nuwan Pradeep celebrates as Pakistan's Imad Wasim is caught by Niroshan Dickwella

Me in the shoes of a selector

‘Started as underdogs and into the 2019 World cup finals’, this could be the headline of the newspapers on the 10th or the 12th of July. Yes, folks this is possible because we are Lions, 11 wounded lions waiting to roar, waiting to hunt down and kill them all. The other possibility is me wiping the water that is dripping from my face after my mother flashing water.

In the year 2018 Sri Lanka played 17 ODI’s but no batsmen were able to score a century. The year 2019 saw Sri Lanka playing 3 ODI’s, that too in New Zealand, and in two matches batsmen were able to score two fighting centuries. It was Kusal Perera who scored 102 off 86 balls in the 1st ODI, then it was the bat of the other Perera that did the talking, in the 2nd ODI Thisara Perera registered a magnificent 140 off 74 balls. However, both these innings were in a losing cause and there were questions about the rest of the players not contributing when one or two players clicked. Yes, individual brilliance and performance is fine but Cricket is a team game where all the 11 should click together and perform as a team, where they should play as one not against each other, to achieve a final set objective.

With just a few months left for the World Cup we can’t be experimenting with players, we can’t simply have bits and pieces of players in our team. We need to find out the perfect 11 or the squad of 15 players and go the distance with them. Simple example of how Sri Lanka messed things in the NZ tour was dropping two inform players; Dasun and Dananjaya and bringing in Seekuge after a long break and Asela after he sitting out due to an injury. Did they prove their worth, well, neither with the ball nor with the bat right?

The top four looks fixed and stable for me and that should not change. Nah broh, you never know because when our bold coach goes in the sun he tends to make crazy decisions and is someone who loves moving players here and there in the order and get pissed when inquired about this as if we asks for a share of his salary. And when the plans are made injures ruin everything, like Danushka getting injured yesterday. The top four should be Dickwella, Danushka and the two Kusal’s

Then comes the Chandimal factor. How feasible is it playing Chandimal at number 5 or is it worth to include the Test captain who doesn’t suit the modern day competitive ODI’s? No bro no, does Chetashwara Pujara play ODI’s for India even though he is one of the best Test batsmen out there? Does he, no he doesn’t because he is a born Test player and is made to play Tests; the technique, the temperament, the patience suits the longer format. It’s sad to see the country’s best Test batsmen after playing International Cricket for 10 years still failing to pick up a googly and walking back to the pavilion with a surprised look at the pitch as if there are demons in it. Someone should send this bloke a compass and a protractor. His strike rate of 72.00 is the 3rd worst in ODI’s; there you go, buddy, that’s the real problem here, you need to rotate the strike in ODI’s, it happens very rarely with Chandi.

Next comes the hamstring and the calf muscles; Mr. Consistent with runs and injuries none other than Mathews. Davis is indeed the best middle order player we have and he is one dude who can hold the innings together and accelerate when needed. Do we need him? The answer is pretty simple; we need a fully recovered Mathews for the World Cup. Get medicine, channel Doctors, take rest, miss the next few tours but bloody be ready by the World cup. Where should ‘Manika’ bat, I give him the number 5 spot. 5 positions confirmed so far, yeah big win man;

1. Niroshan Dickwella, 2. Danushka Gunathilaka, 3.Kusal Perera, 4. Kusal Mendis, 5. Anjelo Mathews

Ohh the top 5 is exactly the same that won the champions trophy match against India chasing 322. Did I do it on purpose? No, not at all, it’s just that my memory power is so good.

Now comes the most difficult task, number 6 baby, you know what? Number 7 is booked, locked and sealed for the big black panda, but who knows he thrashed the Kiwis so hard they might end up offering him a place in their national team and citizenship like they tried to do with him a few years back. Are you freaking kidding me, man? Nah I am not, if they could get this Hong Kong cutie Mark Chapman then Thisara is a possibility.

Ok back to number 6. Dasun Shanaka, Dananjaya De Silva, Asela Gunarathne, Kamindu Mendis, Sadeera samarawickrama. ohh ohh wait wait I am like a CTB bus going on and on without stopping. Number 6 doesn’t mean I have to include 6 players, the spot is for 1, I know, I bloody know it, but the competition is so much for that precious spot.

Here we go with the elimination game. If Sadeera plays he shouldn’t bat at 6, he should play in the top 4, so he stays at home. Kamindu is in the form of his life but is overlooked by the selectors, would have been picked for the NZ tour so can we expect the selectors to bring him as a surprise package and include him the World Cup squad. I doubt so. So ‘Malli’ you will have to stay back. The rest 3 musketeers is giving me headaches. I don’t know I am clueless. Let’s leave it to the selectors to decide. So it looks like this now;

1.Niroshan Dickwella, 2.Danushka Gunathilaka, 3.Kusal Perera, 4.Kusal Mendis, 5.Anjelo Mathews, 6.Dasun Shanaka / Dananjaya De Silva / Asela Gunaratne, 7. Thisara Perera

Ladies and gentlemen, the batsmen and the all-rounders are done. Now the bowlers.

2 fast bowlers and 2 spinners or 3 pacers or 1 spinner? , this indeed depends on the pitch. The difficult task here is Thisara can bowl, all three of the number 6 can roll their arm and opener Danushka can bowl some tidy overs just like Tuwan did it for Sri Lanka a few years back. More headaches men, this is worst and difficult than deciding what colour shirt to buy.

‘Machan’ Akila go meet the ‘Panadure Weda Mahattaya’ and do some Jilmart to that bowling arm of yours and come back soon. Akila with a remodeled bowling action should be the number 8, this guy can also hit a long ball too so definitely will come in handy.

Next comes the commitments and responsibilities, ‘Mali Ayya’ you need to decide what you rate higher. Country or city. Now you will be wondering what I am talking about. IPL mate IPL, Malinga is expected to play in the IPL which is supposed to end few days prior to the World Cup. You know what, BCCI has requested Mumbai Indians to play Bumrah only in 4, 5 important matches because they know how important he is in the World Cup and they can’t risk him. Is Malinga important to us? Of course, so should he not play in the IPL? Now, that’s up to him to decide and as Sangakkara said he needs to decide what he prioritizes. ‘Malinga out of World Cup after getting injured in the IPL finals’ Kaboom, Dayasiri wakes up. Drama Machan Drama

Let’s see how this looks now;

1. Niroshan Dickwella, 2. Danushka Gunathilaka,3. Kusal Perera, 4. Kusal Mendis, 5. Anjelo Mathews, 6. Dasun Shanaka / Dananjaya De Silva / Asela Gunaratne, 7. Thisara Perera, 8. Akila Dhanajaya, 9. Lasith Malinga

Now, then do we need two pacers or a spinner and a pacer. Let see the pitch and decide it or let de Mel and Hathu decide it.

If we go with a spinner, we definitely need a leg spinner. We are in an era where leggies rule the cricketing world. Who do we have for the World Cup? Option time again men, goah this is irritating.

‘Onna ape leg spinners’; Jeffery the naughty Vandersay, Wanindu the immature Hasaranga, Jeewan the Oldie Goldie Mendis , Lakshan the chanceman Sandakan, Seekuge the headless Prasanna.

Elimination game time babe. Seeku my man you are in the team! Ohhow ohhow fasten your seatbelts belts, yes, my mother is doing good thanks for reminding people. what I was trying to say was that Seeku is in this NZ tour because he has experience playing county Cricket in NZ, oops wait, he has England county experience too, hope the actual selectors will not do a blunder once again. Stay home ‘kolla’ army needs you.

Wani Malli is not matured enough and lacks the experience to play the big game, ‘Mona UK da bro’, stay back and babysit your brother’s kids. 2 down and 2 to go. Vanda’s past behavior and performance might keep him locked in the island. Left with 2, Tadaaa!!!. Sadaa da Jeewaa da, Jeewaaa da Sadaaa da?, did I sound like Kamal Addaraaracchi from Sirasa superstar shouting Surendraaaa da, Pradeeeep daaaaa? Ado, sleepy bn this shit is longer and you are worse than Kamal. Just put the bloody 11 men. ‘Iwasapan, thawa idapan, thawa ekai’

Jeewan has county experience in England and Hathurusinghe has a liking towards him and I want to see him play, and if he plays he can bat at number 8. Sandakan is currently in the team and gets chance after chance even though he doesn’t have any telling performance, don’t be surprised if this bloke get picked

1. Niroshan Dickwella 2. Danushka Gunathilaka3. Kusal Perera4. Kusal Mendis5. Anjelo Mathews6. Dasun Shanaka / Dananjaya De Silva / Asela Gunaratne7. Thisara Perera8. Akila Dhanajaya 9. Lasith Malinga 10. Sandakan / Jeewan (if Jeewan then goes to number er 8 position)

Hari, yakooo one more. Chameera, no no unluckymal, nah Pradeep.

Pradeep is in the current team, the question is whether he should travel to UK, I don’t know but I want ‘kettu kolla’, chamera to go and bowl in the UK. His height and bounce will come in handy.

Amoo, finally done man. Number 6 and leg spinner is the main concern, but no matter who get picked for the final 11 from the 3 shortlisted players at number 6 the rest two should stay in the 15 men squad.

Now that’s 13 there, next we need an extra top order batsman. Chandimal or Sadeera and a bowler. So that should be Pradeep or Lakmal.

Ko, ko the 15 man World Cup squad. Here it is bois. The 15 man squad of chief selector Vimukthi the Mutti Adithya

1. Niroshan Dickwella 2. Danushka Gunathilaka 3. Kusal Perera 4. Kusal Mendis 5. Anjelo Mathews 6. Dinesh Chandimal / Sadeera samarawickrama 7. Dasun Shanaka 8. Asela Gunarathna 9. Dananjaya De Silva 10. Thisara Perera 11. Lasith Malinga 12. Akila Dhananjaya 13. Lakshan Sandakan / Jeewan Mendis / Nuwan Pradeep 14. Dushmantha chameera 15. Suranga Lakmal

‘Hari Hari bn’, there is 18 I freaking know it, I am not the actual selector ne, so let the selectors after examining the future series and the English wickets and conditions and decide on the perfect 15.

Looking at the New Zealand tour what I felt was that it was more like the players trying to prove a point to all their critics out there. Danushka at the top wanted to make a statement for his disciplinary issues and injuries by scoring, Thisara wanted to show Tanya Perera that he doesn’t have to beg any minister to stay in the team.

As ‘Gappiya’ said ‘‘positives, fightbacks I am bored of all that, play together not against each other and the joy will be back for all of us’ he further went on to say that it’s time to remind everyone of team values ethics and goals and that everyone should come together for a common cause to make the little gap disappear.

Is sports in this Island nation stable? You tell me, man? In the past year, we have seen 3 sports ministers assuming duties, the selection committee changed, the President of the Cricket board resigned, the captains of the national team changed, ohh and almost the prime minister changed. So in a country where nothing is fixed and stable can we expect the Cricket to be booming?

Time to rethink and revisit our strategies and it’s about time to make Sri Lanka Cricket proud again.

5 Comments

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  1. I think Upul should get a call up to SA ODI series instead of Chandimal! By no means this is curtains for chandi! He’s badly out of form! (No I’m not a southerner! :D) upul just had a bad year. He had a splendid 2017! Too good player to be left out

  2. I agree with top 5, keeping sadheera for the man to man replacement for Dhanushka and chandimal for mendis in case he would not find form even after a few games in WC. I go Dhananjaya or kamidu for number six. Both are useful slow bowlers. Thisara at seven with dasun being the likely replacement in case of an injury. even though akila remodels his action, it is doubtful whether he will be as good as he were. No one has remodeled his action and delivered as he did earlier. so akila’s selection is a question mark..A big loss..so in last 7 spots, we only have malinga hoping he will remain fit after playing IPL. if dhanushka, dhananjaya/kamidu along with thisara can complete 20 overs, I think we can go with dasun at 8. he can send 5-6 overs economically. then another two with mali to send 25 overs. need a spinner ( cannot see a proper candidate.. the gut feeling is we will go with sandakan) and a fast bowler. I love to see isuru udana at there..he will bring variability to the attack, good experience and depth to the batting..unfortunate, he has been ignored. so it will be chammera, sura or pradeep.

  3. Enjoyed this read with some nice nuggets. Top 5 is a go as is Panda at 7. Dasun at #6 for me as an aggressive stroke maker who may be handy with the ball in Eng. Don’t get why we keep playing Chandi in limited over cricket and now at #5. Surely if he plays the lowest he can bat is #3 but lets forget him as a solution for limited overs cricket as he is a hindrance in a high scoring chase and we will be chasing lots’ thanks to a toothless attack.

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