Get the team right to avoid early exit
Posted on February 24th, 2015


Behaviour of the captain and the selectors in choosing the appropriate players which suit the conditions  is alarming. We have been in New Zealand for a long time now and still could not get the team straightened up after many matches with ample opportunity to learn and adjust. This is the time to accept the fact that that the selectors, which includes (the preference of ) the captain,  have been dead wrong and stubborn.

Taking just one match, for example, the practice match against Zimbabwe  will be sufficient. Whilst Zimbabwe managed to get 7 Sri Lankan wickets, we managed only 3 wickets. This proves all the bowlers used in that match, including Malinga, Kulasekara, Mendis, Herath, Perera, Lakmal , Mathews and Dilshan were simply ineffective. This means we must have introduced at least ONE more penetrative bowler. But the selectors were so stubborn to accept this and used bowlers from the same lot for the next two matches. Results were embarrassing, if not disgusting. Bowlers including Malinga  were hammered by New Zealand and we almost lost to Afghanistan, even though poor batting played good part of it. We could have got Afghans out below 150 ( Bangladesh got them out for 162) if we used the correct bowling unit. Our bowlers (with the exception of Lakmal) were simply not a threat at all to Afghan batsmen. Therefore this match results should not be taken as a weakness of the batting unit alone.

Next match, with Bangladesh ( who have already earned a point against Australia)  will be crucial. It will be played in Melbourne and we should make corrections to our fast  bowling unit. We have a bowling unit much weaker than Bangladesh who the three good fast bowlers who can bowl around 140 kPh and those who can bowl good bouncers. Malinga’s yokers have disappeared, his speed has dropped a good 10 km/h and his bouncer is too short and too slow. Kulasekara is completely useless and shall be sent home. Perera  and Mathews should not  be depended upon as frontline fast bowlers and this leaves us with young Dushmantha Chameera, who played well against strong New Zealand team (in the  last match of the NZ-Lanka series), threatening all batsmen and getting Tailor out by beating him. Dushmatha together with Lakmal , who bowled satisfactorily in the last two matches will certainly make the bowling unit stronger under Melbourne pitch conditions.

Another weakness is the captaincy, which instructs fast bowlers to bowl yorkers at far outside off stump but ending up bowling easy  full tosses to the bat. This tactic worked in the last T20 world cup but should not be attempted again. Instead, the bowlers shall be given more freedom guidance and support. Once the effective bowlers have been identified while using them, they should be given more overs than those who are more experienced but getting hammered.

Mendis is injured and Upul Tharanga is on the way to Melbourne. This is somewhat a blessing in disguise. Australian pitches need good three frontline fast bowlers and it justifies playing Dushmantha. However, it brings some weakness to batting department as Upul Tharanga may not play in this match. Nevertheless, with most experienced batting line up among all teams, we should manage to register a win.


8 Responses to “Get the team right to avoid early exit”

  1. mario_perera Says:

    I quite agree with Ananda’s analysis of our team’s prowess in both batting and bowling.

    As regards the match against Afghanistan, we would definitely have lost if the opposing team was able to register the very easy run outs of our leading batsmen. One such run out (against Mathew) was missed at point blank range! This means that in addition to the batting and bowling fiascoes our running between wickets is also catastrophic.

    There were two things I predicted in a commentary to an article by Dilrook:

    1. That the score of 300 would no more be the upper limit for complacency as in previous series, but the BOTTOM LINE of a match winning score.
    Our team has been no where near that target.

    2. That this world cup would register the most number of SIXES ever.
    We have no “sixer pullers” of worth. In his unbeaten innings our most hard hitting batsmen, Thissara, was able to clear the rope ONLY ONCE.

    I too think as Ananda does, that we have to act outside conventional lines at this juncture with failure staring at us. We have to be daring and innovative because to all appearances we have nothing to lose.

    Thissara is NOT an asset as a bowler.. He has given the most amount of runs in the bowling statistics. His pace, his predictable delivery angle and his length makes him very much ‘hittable’. He will retain his place as the only hard hitting batsman of the side. Relying on him to perform bowling feats, especially in the final overs, is self destructive.

    Our only dependable fast bowler is Lakmal. Malinga has become a lost case. He has totally lost his clout and must be left out. Chameera MUST definitely take his place.

    Another pathetic feature is that the lower middle order and lower order of batsmen simply cannot bat to save their souls !!

    We have top front line batsmen who are unpredictable and consequently not dependable, and new inputs such as Dimuth Karunaratne who are dead weight.

    Now it is DO or DIE time for the Sri Lanka team.

    Change the team and give ourselves some hope. Maintain the same old names and take the flight back with heads down.

    Mario Perera

  2. Jayantha Says:

    Sri Lanka’s Cricket and its plight. Putting idiots like Mahindananda, a has been like Sanath Jayasuriya and a corrupt dictator like Nishantha has brought Sri Lanka’s cricket to the low it is today.

    The previous regime and their cronies were hell bent on making money. Imagine the sports minister a bankrupt insurance salesman who did not have a bicycle, wearing a 250,000 rupee pair of shoes and travelling with his kith and kin on first class air travel and staying in five star hotels being overall in charge..

    Mahinda Rajapaksa may have been a simple man, but he lost his head after heeding to bad advise by those around him.

    Sri Lanka Cricket needs long term planning. Keep politics and politicians out of it. Bring in a reputed English coach and a coaching team. Let the coach be responsible for having “head hunters” going around the country searching for young and new talent. And more than anything else do not insult the man once he is hired about how much he is paid and such petty mentality.

    Retire the so called Sri Lankan coaches and look for a foreigner – preferably a proven New Zealander. Sri Lankans when they are in foreign countries shine because they get their asses to the wall. Unless a Sri Lankan – especially a Sinhalese – is under pressure he is a lazy man and gets used to looking after himself and after his own future, not that of cricket.. My 47 years over seas (in Europe, Middle East, Asia, Africa and in America) has made me come to that conclusion. Bur Sri Lankans when they own and run their own businesses whether in Sri Lanka or overseas they do extremely well. In Sri Lanka they become lethargic, fat and slow, especially if someone else is paying the bill.

    Sri Lanka has more than enough talent when it comes to any type of sports, especially cricket. To have the right attitude to search for them, to train them and to play competitive cricket keeping politicians out is the tough one. Many will disagree with me but almost losing to the Afganistan team is an eye opener.


  3. Independent Says:

    I believe this new bowler Chameera was kept out of Afghanistan match purposely to try and keep the same team. Had he taken a lot of wickets they had to keep on using him.
    I agree with Jayantha, Sanath the big pandama who is a MP is only suitable for the parliament where selfish fools reign. Atapattu is ruining our batting department.
    I also heard saw in a news paper 3 -4 month ago when Kulasekara was kicked out of the team , that he had arranged to buy a petrol station franchise in USA (may be in a name of his relative or friend ) on behalf of a powerful politician and he is expected to come back as a result. To prove this news right, he came back.

  4. Independent Says:

    Perera has started his PR campaign to destroy Sri Lanka’s chances to go ingot the 2nd round. He is advertising to be considered as a fast bowler that suits Australian conditions. It is strange that coaches could not correct his horrible bowling action which makes his run up useless. He is not a bowler , even though sometimes he gets wickets, same a Kulasekara.
    All these tricks are to keep Chameera given a chance.

    Sanath the big selfish thief who waited until his average dropped to 4 , must be sent home first.

  5. Dilrook Says:

    The problem is not so much with the former minister or the selectors. Their replacement with the available cannot do any better. It is the players not performing as their resume says. We have the most experienced batting department but no runs. Some top bowlers with more wickets than most bowlers, but no wickets. The number of catches current Sri Lankan players has taken in their career far surpasses other teams but they drop catches. A foreign coach works best for the team though.

    Going by winning percentage, Angelo Matthews is the worst ODI captain Sri Lanka had for the past 15 years (at least 20 matches to consider). Had he not pulled out of some matches to avoid bad statistics, it would be far worse.

    The biggest problem is lousy captaincy.

    Very poor choice of bowlers, combination of bowlers, bowling changes and use of bowlers of their allocated 10 overs costed us most games. Angelo doesn’t meaningfully encourage bowlers and seems to have no bowling plan for each ball. Sanga seems to either override Angelo in instructions to bowlers or steps into the void created by the lousy captain. Now that Angelo has won a million dollar IPL contract, expect poor performance (or no performance) against India. As a batsman (particularly as a very valuable under pressure batsman), bowler and fielder, he is excellent but as a captain, a harbinger of defeat. Lahiru must be made the captain immediately.

    Whenever the toss is won, batting first is the right thing to do scoring 300 runs. Most teams won batting first and will win batting first. It is outrageous that Angelo many times opted to field first. Another lousy decision; further justifies his seemingly deliberate underperformance as captain.

    Fully agree with Mario. If all his recommendations are taken on board, team performance will improve. Dimuth is useless to put it straight. Malinga and Thisara as bowlers are useless against good teams. They must play against minnows. Our weak-bodied batsmen are incapable of sixes (and they all compete against each other to avoid playing under pressure in last overs which requires sixes) compared to most other teams. It is essential that bowlers restrict the opponents.
    Agree with Ananda we need to think outside the box to go further.

    Ideal batting line-up: Dilshan , Lahiru, Sanga or Mahela (to keep the left-right combination; Mahela’s inconsistency favours playing against minnows best; Dimuth to replace him if needed as no better batsman is around), Angelo (higher in the order than now to expose more and less pressure in final overs), Jeevan (a useless batsman)/Tharanga (holds records for highest partnerships 1,2, 5, 6, 8 for Sri Lanka but extremely poor performance under pressure; ICC approval needed for change)/Kusal Janith (not in the squad; very bad form but can perform in bouncy pitches)/Dinesh Chandimal (not very useful) and Thisara (unfortunately despite his inconsistency and bad bowling, he is needed). Leave very little to the lower order as we know the last four batsmen are not capable to score more than 20 runs.

    In a match where we bat second, Sanga should not keep wickets. If Kusal or Dinesh is available, one of them should keep wickets. Sanga is a poor wicker keeper anyway.

    Four specialised bowlers are needed. Dilshan, Lahiru, Angelo and Thisara must manage the rest of the overs.
    Most players were out of home for a very long time which is taking its toll (especially the less affluent ones whose family, etc. cannot fly in).

    On a positive note, as things are now, Sri Lanka will certainly play in the next round (thanks to the hopeless situation England is in more than due to our own performance which deserves an early exit) and will face South Africa. Getting ready to meet them now onwards is the right thing to do. If won, next will most likely be New Zealand and then Australia in the final. What matters is not winning every match but to lose some and win the final three.

    A good team to emulate is the 1992 Pakistan team. It had many problems and suffered inconsistency. But collectively made it to and won the Final under excellent captaincy that managed to bring out the best in young and old players.

  6. Independent Says:


    “On a positive note, as things are now, Sri Lanka will certainly play in the next round (thanks to the hopeless situation England is in more than due to our own performance which deserves an early exit) ”

    -Not true. If we loose to Bangladesh, we will be having same points as England. It means we will have to defeat England.

  7. Sunil Mahattaya Says:

    If Sri Lanka cannot beat BD convincvingly they should expect to be in the departure lounge headed for home as England could prove to be a tough ask!
    Indeed true that it is internal politics that is hurting Sri Lanka with dolts like Jayasuriya, Ranatunga the older, and the rest of the motley crew in for the perks and the cash whose cricketing savvy seems to have much to be desired. Romeah Ratnayake is said to be part of the coaching staff as well as Marvan Atapattu but thus far their expertise does not seem to have rubbed off visibly in the Lankans. by any stretch of the imagination!!
    To add to SL’s woes, the captain Mathews is not that equitable to the task either as he does not seem to know to use a winning toss to advantage and tries the old Arjuna Ranatunga trick of chasing which does not work always particularly with the bowling attack as mediocre as it is and a far cry from that of the Ranatunga fame! His field setting is also pretty questionable and seems to be unable to make his own decisions withouth the chirping of Sangakkara and Jayawardena who have had their days as captains alresdy. Maybe it would be a good idea to let Mathews have his head and make unilateral decisions without the pundits getting involved incessantly!
    For the BD game Tharanga and Chameera seem a must and hey! do not knock Thisara as it was he not Mahela despite his ton who truly wrapped up the win against Afghanistan!or as one commentator said it “could have been curtains for SL.” Time and time again he has rescued SL from disaster,Well! thankfully it wasn’t a disaster and hopefully not in the BD game either where SL needs to win convincingly not by the skin of their teeth!
    Someone said that Sri Lanka takes time to peak and they are showing signs of it already but lets hope it won’t have to vait until after the WC and should not be a peak too high to get to the next round!.

  8. Ananda-USA Says:

    LankaWeb readers, please note that this new author “Ananda” is NOT ME “Ananda-USA” but a completely different person!

    I have been approached by a group of Patriots with a request to RE-ACTIVATE the Patriotic blog SriLankaDefenceForum because ONCE AGAIN our Motherland is UNDER THREAT from her ENEMIES. I am busy working on that.

    I will keep you posted.

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