The real issue that should have been addressed during the media briefing is how the likes of Jeevan Mendis and Milinda Siriwardene made returns to the World Cup squad having done nothing internationally or domestically. Both players were burden on the team. Mendis scored 19 runs and picked up no wickets while Siriwardenen didn’t pick up a wicket and finished with three runs. They are Sri Lanka’s ‘bits and pieces cricketers’. They can neither bat nor ball. Least said about their fielding the better it is.
De Mel should have been held responsible for his wrong selections. He should have been grilled on these odd selections. Did he succumb to political pressure? The answers will never come out, of course. But at least, by asking we make sure that the excesses of selectors do not harm the sport in future.
Spare a thought for players like Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal and Dasun Shanaka, who have been wronged by this selection panel. It’s a dream for a player to feature in a World Cup. All three mentioned above have had their moments in international cricket unlike the likes of Jeevan Mendis and Milinda Siriwardene. Dickwella has been the brightest young talent to come through Sri Lankan ranks in the last three years. Chandimal had broken Arjuna Ranatunga’s long standing record for the fastest half-century in World Cups in the last edition of the tournament while Dasun Shanka would have given much needed impetus to the innings during the death overs.
We Sri Lankans seem to be making fun of England’s composition calling them a Commonwealth XI. They are a diverse side true comprising players born in South Africa, Barbados, New Zealand and of course players of Pakistan origin. But let’s appreciate England’s willingness to accommodate players of different ethnicities and regions and then put up a vibrant team. Talent wins players spots in England while politics wins players spots in Sri Lanka.