UPUL THARANGA SHOULD REMAIN AS ODI AND T20 SKIPPER
Posted on April 6th, 2017
By M D P DISSANAYAKE
Both Rangana and Upul were victims of circumstances of Sri Lankan cricket. Rangana failed to secure a permanent place in the team as the selectors opted to play one spinner. Muralitharan dominated the spot for quite a long time whilst Rangana was rested on the bench. Suddenly the selectors have realised the importance of Rangana, not only as a regular bowler but even to lead the team as a stand-in skipper for test team. He has thus far delivered the goods, under extremely difficult cisumtances.
Upul Tharanga was also sidelined for several years and he was virtually buried during that period. No one would have expected Upul to command confidence of the selectors, let alone be placed as the Skipper for ODI and T20.
During this short period, both Rangana and Upul have managed to control further erosion of the rankings of Sri Lanka. Their ability to communicate effectively with the squad ought to be commended. Both of them are not big headed and they are not political stooges. If we did not give the reign to Rangana and Upul during past year or so, West Indies, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh would have probably overtaken us.
Hard work has been done by Rangana and Upul, both of them commanding respect from the young players in recognition of their Leadership and Accountability skills. They never played the game for personal glory. They never chased down record books. But they articulated their leadership by embracing the inputs from the team to achieve success.
However, there are quite a few opposing the continuation of Rangana and Upul, citing following reasons:
- age, b. leadership succession and c. English speaking skills
- AGE: Rangana is 39 years and Upul still 32 years of age. If Rangana is physically fit, he has opted to play regardless of his age. That is a decision of a wise man. No body should push him beyond that line. During the limelight of his career, he was confined to the bench. They were many matches during latter part of Murali’s career, where he did not get wickets, but the selectors were freighted to drop Murali because he was a Tamil. A Sinhalese player would have been dropped like a hot potato. for example: Upul Chandana, Thilan Samaraweera, Hashan Tilekeratne.
Upul Tharanga was disliked by many in the past for several reasons. The Chairman of Selectors have commended Upul for his ability to communicate with the team and command respect. Upul himself is gradually coming to grips with the game consolidating his position and displaying his leadership and cricketing skills.
WG Grace of England was 50 years whilst Gummby Allen (England), Wally Hammond (England), Bob Simpson (Australia) were over 40 years, when they became test skippers, compared with Rangana and Upul 39 and 32 respectively.
The critics may argue that the game has changed dramatically since, but we need to bearing in mind the techniques of training and development have also changed dramatically.
- LEADERSHIP SUCCESSION:
When Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene were at the helm, there was no discussion on leadership succession. There was no short list of potential candidates at that time as both Kumar and Mahela were on solid grounds. Angelow Mathews was groomed for about a year, not as part of planning process, but as a backup for a Crisis Situation.
It is imperative that the cricket management develop a team of potential leaders who are displaying skills of stamina, patience and aggresiveness.
- ENGLISH SPEAKING SKILLS:
This is more directed towards Upul Tharanga than Rangana. The criticism comes from the BLACK WHITES OR KALU SUDDA, who consider that the ability to speak English profusely at the Toss and at the Presentation as hallmark of success of a great leader. Going back to the days of Michael Holding, Curtley Ambrose, they used interpreters at the toss or presentations, but delivered the goods with their cricketing skills.
Some of our past skippers speak English in a colourful manners, in many instances I thought we were listening to Geoffrey Boycott or Ian Botham. Upul’s challenge is not to improve his English, but to improve the cricket rankings of Sri Lanka. Some of our young cricketers who were awarded Man of the Match recently, spoke in Sinhala. Upul Chandana said once : ” I don’t want to become the Man of the Match, because I don’t want to talk with Tony Greig”. We urge, all Sri Lankans not to demoralise our young and senior players, by downgrading our colourful Sinhala Language.
AFTER ALL, DO WE HAVE AN OXFORD EDUCATED ENGLISH SCHOLAR AS OUR EXECUTIVE PRESIDENT?