Poor Selection Policies will spoil Sri Lanka’s chance of winning the T20 World Cup 2024 (Part 3) (supported with proven results)

Poor Selection Policies will Spoil Sri Lanka’s Chance of Winning the T20 World Cup 2024

 Part 3 – Inadequacy in Power Hitting Strength with Answers to Chairman of Selector’s Explanations

(Ref Media Conference held on 13th May 2024)


Explanations given by the Chairman of Selectors during the recent media conference on some still unresolved issues on the WC Squad were somewhat surprising.  Major concerns of the media personal present were, (1) omitting more deserved in form power hitting batters Bhanuka Rajapaksa & Kusal Perera and (2) including non-aggressive, slow scoring batters Dhananjaya DS  & Sadeera S in the squd.  Another concern was that Lahiru Kumara has a great potential  as a fast bowler as proven with more past performances should have been picked in place of Asitha Fernando, 

 As convincing answers were not provided by the Chairman for those grey areas in the selected squad, a more detailed report with the latest, supportive, & proven records, all taken from the ICC approved Cricinfo web page are provided herewith. 

As all these issues (except KJP’s inclusion) can be sorted out easily by swapping players within the 19-member group that already left the country.  IT IS THEREFORE EXPECTED THAT THE CHAIRMAN AND THE TEAM OF SLC PERSONAL WILL MAKE THE NECESSARY CHANGES BEFORE 25TH OF THIS MONTH, which is set as the deadline to make any changes to the already proposed squad. 

 Kusal Perera’s inclusion in the squad also need to be sorted out by the Chairman of Selectors at the earliest possible time. Mahela Jayawardena has already expressed his dissatisfaction through social media on the non-inclusion of Kusal P in the Squad.

 (3.1) Chairman of  Selector’s statement that there are plenty of Power Hitters in the Squad to achieve the required target total scores is suspected to be incorrect! 

It is a very essential requirement in modern T20 game that all eight (08) specialized batters in a squad MUST BE aggressive and fast scoring players. They must achieve the demanding high batting Strike Rates these days of minimum 150% in scoring majority of the runs in boundaries and sixes and playing the minimum number of dot balls. 

Nowadays all major top-ranking countries use 35% and 70% as the minimum percentages where sixes and combined sixes & fours respectively are required to be scored by every specializes aggressive batter in the T20 format.   

All the required Power Hitting Parameters are shown in Table 1, 2 and 3 given below. The following definitions will be useful when the parameters achieved  are analyzed with the established or required levels for the modern T 20 format.

The main parameters that measure the aggressiveness or the power hitting ability of a batter in a T 20 game is not only the Strike Rate (SR), but the rate of scoring a boundary (R4) or a six (R6) as expressed in balls required to hit a boundary or a six and the percentage of runs scored in boundaries (P4) and sixes (P6) in an inning.  

These new parameters are very useful for a T20 batter. By reducing R4 and/or R6, or facing lesser number of balls in hitting a boundary or a six will help him to improve his aggressiveness. At the same time a higher P4 and/or P6 will increase the SR as well in improving the AGGRESSIVENESS or POWER HITTING STRENGTH  of a batter in the match.

These five parameters can be determined from a XL Spread Sheet as the corresponding values of parameters will be calculated automatically when the Cricinfo Data is fed.

R4 – Rate of scoring boundaries, expressed in balls per a boundary.

R6 – Rate of scoring sixes, expressed in balls per a six. 

P4 – Percentage of runs scored in boundaries in an inning.

P6 – Percentage of runs scored in sixes in an inning.

P4,6 – Percentage of runs scored in fours and sixes in an inning.  

                 Analysis on Power Hitting Strength of SL Batters

R4 and R6 which are the average rates or frequencies of scoring a boundary or a six, can be used as a guidance for a Power Hitter in achieving the required sixes and boundary percentages (P4 &P6) as well as the Strike Rates (SR).

P4 and P6 as well as SR therefore will be used as a measure of the success in Aggressiveness or the Power Hitting Strength of a batter.

(3.2)  Past Performances of SL Batters  (ref Table 1,2, 3)

Since 2019, as there has been a marked improvement in T20 performances with regard to player’s Strike Rates (SR) & Power Hitting Strengths (P4 & P6), three different periods are considered for comparing the results, which are presented in the following three (3) tables.

Table 1 – The most recent WC Preparation Practice matches (in April 2024)

Table 2 – T20I matches during the last 12 month period (May 2023 – May 2024)

Table 3 – T20I matches during the past 4 year period (May 2019 – May 2023)  

 Results in Table 3 are not considered for comparison purpose with the results in Table 1 & 2  as the pitches in SL were spinner friendly, slow wickets which didn’t give much success to the T20 batters in achieving higher SRs as well as P4 & P6 results as shown in Table 3. It  is a proven fact to be noted by the Chairman of Selectors that during this 4 year period Bhanuka Rajapaksa was performing as SL’s leading power hitter in achieving the highest overall average SR of 134%, while playing in 37 T20I matches

During the last 12 month period, players were playing with more innovative aggressive shots and performing on better batting friendly, fast wickets hence were showing much improved strike rates. Ref to Table 1 & 2 results.

Table 4 & 5 clearly prove that two out of the eight batters (as highlighted in red) selected in the squad do not have adequate power hitting strength to meet the current power hitting demands and help the team in achieving a minimum innings total of 200 runs.  This factor is further proved as explained in the following sections. 

(This report will be continued later in the day)

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  1. I would have loved for KJP and Bhanuka to be included but neither of them have made a very solid case to be picked. It is what it is now, I don’t see Sadheera playing in the 11 anyway if Shanka and Mathews play. There is no place for another batsman if we play 3 seamers or the extra spinning allrounder. Best thing to do is send Mathews at 5, so he can get settle in to play finisher. I would even push Shanka ahead of Charith, to get some singles. Charith can mange if we loose wickets too quickly. Bowling options are pretty good,

    • I would have picked Lahiru Kumara instead of Asitha. Former has more experience in T20I matches and has an excellent avg SR of 15,1. Only Hasaranga, Pathirana and Thushara have better SRs than Lahiru. If he can maintain a good, yoker length, with his 145 kph deliveries he will be a threat to any batter, Asitha on the other hand has played in only 3 T20I matches and that too with worse reslts on Ave, Econ & SR. He is basically a test cricketer. If Lahiru was in the squad we would have had much variety in bowling speeds as well, Pathirana 150 kph, Lahiru 145 kph, Chameera 142 kph, Madhushanka 138 kph and Thushara 135 kph. Only problem with Lahiru is sometimes he is not able to control his length and bowling short which definitely goes for a six. But with the coaching/guidance of Aqib Javad, Lahiru’s that problem would have been sorted out for sure.