Poor Choice of Bowlers and Captaincy Costed the First Game
Posted on February 14th, 2015

Dilrook Kannangara

Team Sri Lanka played to lose. It was obvious from the very onset. Team selection was not appropriate for the match. It was not only the selectors that picked the team of the day; it was the captain in consultation with the coach and the selectors. The smart captain who thought it best to field first is so wrong. Given the likelihood of further showers, the right thing to do was to bat first.

Lousy captaincy was on display on many other fronts as well. Bowling changes were not made as appropriate. When the first two bowlers were expensive, they were continued giving away runs and allowing the opponent to build partnerships. Good bowlers were not used enough and expensive bowlers were used extensively. This is one deficiency the current captain has displayed in most of his games. If this continues, Team Sri Lanka has absolutely no chance of advancing to the semis. Bowlers were not encouraged or advised. They were left alone to keep doing the same mistakes.

Unfortunately a key characteristic that runs through Matthews, Murali and Arnold is they don’t perform at their best in crucial matches. Matthews and Arnold have been more worried about their bowling and batting averages and in the case of Matthews, captaincy success percentage than winning matches. Thirimanne must be appointed as the ODI captain. Change in captaincy in T20 format succeeded.

Mahela has reached his retirement. He must be relieved of playing for the country. He may score the occasional half century but that may come too infrequently. Malinga has lost his firepower and there is no use playing him either. However, these players are still lethal against minnows and Bangladesh and they should play against them. Three catches were dropped which highlight the need to improve fielding.

Unless these changes are made immediately, team fortunes will not change. It may only be the start but this bad start foretells what’s ahead.

9 Responses to “Poor Choice of Bowlers and Captaincy Costed the First Game”

  1. Independent Says:

    “Sensible bowling changes are not made by the captain in some matches. Expensive bowlers are overused at times while better bowlers end up with a few overs left”. – This is what you said in your last write up. And exactly that happened today too.

    Captain really played like a fool. Sri Lanka developed a method of starving batsmen in death overs by using a strong off side field and trying bowl wide Yorkers. Like fools without brains, they kept doing the same thing in New Zealand for 7 matches not and won only 2. They must get rid of this stupid tactics, because bowlers are instructed to follow this rule and they have become robots, ending up bowling full tosses to the bat.

    They never played to win. They played to try and avoid runs.

    If you look at all other countries, fast bowlers are young and they bowl fast. We have two selfish oldies over 32 year and our stupid selectors never learn , keeps using them without letting young players to develop.

    I find Nuwan Kulasekara is the worst culprit. He is a selfish man who probably uses political connections to keep his place.
    Problem is he takes some early wickets sometimes and that can be used to justify his presence.
    He destroyed our last world cup final and determined to destroy our chances this time too.

    His last world cup final figures were,

    8.2 Overs 64 runs O wickets

    His figures today were,

    8 Overs 78 runs 1 wicket

    His figures for the whole series of in South Africa Vs Sri Lanka last July were

    11 overs 65 runs O wickets

    He got hammered in India too he did not play for England series which we won.

    If we continue playing this oldish man who bowls sitters at 125 kPh , we will even loose to Scotland and will be out 1st round.

    Politics have ruined cricket.

  2. mario_perera Says:

    Independent is right

    The oldies are either useless (Kule and Malinga) or unpredictable (Mahela).

    As for batting, we can expect some consistency from Dilshan, Sanga, and Mathews. The ones on top are unreliable and after Mathews the rest can be written off.

    The bowlers are sheer punching bags.

    The team as a whole is a failure. In the warm up matches, they even lost to Zimbabwe.

    Now some commentators say we can reach the quarter finals by beating Afghanistan, Scotland and Bangladesh. This mere suggestion is a pathetic, dismal reflection on the team as a whole.

    This world cup can still serve some purpose if it is used to build a future team. That is, as Independent suggests, by putting the young players on show.

    Trying to win this world cup is like hoping for a miracle going by the pitiful display of this present team.

    Critical situation need critical decisions. Give the young ones their baptism of fire. We have nothing whatsoever to loose and all to gain by adopting this salutary measure.

    Mario Perera

  3. Independent Says:

    We still have a chance. In cricket, simply by removing 1-2 players and replacing with a dynamic duo can completely change the team. If three batsmen construct 2 partnerships of more than 125 match is over. If 3 bowlers build up pressure by treating the batsmen from both sides for 20 overs, taking 2 wickets each , match is over.

    But as usual our problem is outside cricket.

    1. Power and greed beyond love of country
    2. Unable to judge one’s own abilities and humbly accept weaknesses
    3. Laziness to do continual hard work without supervision ( Mahela is a good example and Sanga is a good example of the opposite )

    If it is possible to hand over the selection to Australian Selection panel we will be the world champions. What I mean is, just learn from them.

    1. Learn how they get rid of popular batsmen with excellent intonation reputation.
    2. Learn how they make them to get used to hard work by keeping threat of dropping them alive. ( No constant positions)
    3. Learn how they have selected the team. All specialist fast bowlers are capable of bowling at 145 kPh , still keeping line and length generally. ( We don’t have a single one in the team , except Chameera who is in and out of New Zealand and not giving enough practice , advice and support to him in order to keep Kulasekara under the higher orders. The other one is in Sri Lanka)

  4. Independent Says:

    Sorry typo . “treating the batsmen” should read “threatening the batsmen”. Very important term. Must beat the bat, hit on the pad, taking the edges etc.

  5. Independent Says:

    Jeevan Mendis 2overs 5 runs two wickets. Kula 8 Overs 78 runs 1 wicket. This prove what Dilrook says “Good bowlers were not used enough and expensive bowlers were used extensively. “. Ridiculous !

  6. Dilrook Says:

    Independent and Mario:

    Your reasons are valid. However, the biggest reason for failure is lousy captaincy of Matthews. Even if he had the best team, it would lose. His insane choice of bowlers is not limited to this game. That is seen right throughout his captaincy. At times I get the feeling he deliberately wants to see the team lose.

    If Team Sri Lanka is going to do well, Angelo Matthews must be removed from captaincy immediately. T20 success can be attributed to Lasith Malinga’s sensible captaincy. Otherwise we would not have won the 2014 T20 championship.

    Matthews is the worst ODI captain in recent times with a winning percentage of just 51%. He tactically withdrew from New Zealand series at some point. Otherwise his percentage would be 49%. Sanga’s winning percentage was 60%; Sanath Jayasuriya 56% and Mahela 55%. This is why we will perform worse than 2003 (Sanath), 2007 (Mahela) and 2011 (Sanga). Unless he changes totally or he is replaced, there is not much hope.

    Captaincy is all about achieving the extraordinary with available resources. Matthews is quite the opposite. Mahela, Nuwan and Malinga should not be played for crucial games. They can play the minnows and Bangladesh instead. The national team should not suffer due to grand retirement plans of its players.

  7. Independent Says:

    I agree (except below). Even in tests, we lost to Pakistan in one test in middle east because of him. But he won back one test for us by himself ( with Vitanage’s six as well).

    Another problem his he never learns from his mistakes.

    “At times I get the feeling he deliberately wants to see the team lose.”. – Don’t think so.

    I am watching Zim-SA match as I write. Look at Zim fast bowlers. All tall . All hitting 140 kph. They have upset SA right now. De Villiers is also out by a superb catch.

  8. Independent Says:

    Look at the way Dhoni retired. Our people need spoiling of the CWC chances to retire.

  9. douglas Says:

    It is easy to do a “postmortem’; yet it doesn’t mean we should overlook what went wrong. Mathew’s captaincy must not be looked at from one or two instances of failures; but his performance must be evaluated on an overall perspective. No doubt, he should not have continued with Kulasekera at the beginning when the batsmen started building partnerships. A change with a view to break that trend should have been viewed constructive for S/L. In my opinion, Mathew has done well and will do well in time to come. He should be relied upon and developed further.

    It is a FACT that we do not have an “Army” of bowlers who could come up with variations to put the batsmen into confusion . How many times the wicket keeper, Sanga had to tell the bowlers where to send the ball judging the batting capabilities of the batsmen. Such directions were more often forgotten or ignored and the results were very much damaging. Even we saw how Malinga failed in that sphere of variations and he himself saw how he got punished. Even the one wicket he smashed was of no use, because he did not take precaution to stop where he should put his foot. How many “No Balls” were sent. Such performance does not speak well of experienced men in the field. I do not know why Senanayake was not given an opportunity.

    Our fielding too did not measure up to the standards expected. We missed two critical catches; one by Sanga and the other by Mendis. If we were successful in those attempts, the game would have taken a different turn. Anyway, that is how game changes.

    Mahela should have been much more “judgmental” in facing Vitori. He has had enough of previous experience in facing him. Just to walk in and before any time taken to settle down, facing such a bowler in whose hands he has suffered many times, should have given him a “instantaneous” message.

    However, I still remember Sanga’s remarks: “you can have all the training and experience in your CV; but it is ultimately dependent upon how you adopt and judge each situation in the field”. How true was that statement in this game with NZ.

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