Since the 2007 world cup, Sri Lankan cricket team had a flawed journey for the past 21 month period. This is how they fared in the series following world cup in Caribbean.
Vs Pakistan – lost 2-1
Vs England – lost 3 -2 at home
Vs Australia/India – lost 5-2, 1 no result
Vs West Indies – lost 2-0, I no result
Vs Ind/Pak/Hongkong/UAE/Ban won – 5-1 with three wins against Bangladesh and UAE
Vs India – lost 3-2 at home
Vs Zimbabwe – won 5-0
Vs Zim/Ban – won 2-1
Vs Pakistan – won 2-1
Vs India – lost 4-1 at home
(Played 46, won 22, lost 22, no result 2)
Out of those 22 wins 10 came off against bottom feeders Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
“Focus on the things that won’t lie. Evidence”. Gil Grissom( played by William Petersen), the night supervisor of popular CSI – Crime Scene Investigation, one of the most watched TV shows on earth, famously said more than once.
When it comes to the sub standard performance of the Sri Lankan cricket team, one should follow the same path and must look into the very facts that can’t be fabricated. Stats. The stats don’t lie.
(barely) Beating weakest teams
If it wasn’t for the individual heroics of new revelation Ajantha Mendis and reliable Muralitharan Sri Lanka could have easily lost another 10 matches. (5 of them would have been against lowly Bangladesh and Zimbabwe)
Mahela Jayewardene’s batting has sunk to an all time low, very next to the standard of his captaincy. Jayewardene’s unsound leadership of the team has been veiled mostly due to the individual brilliance of certain players which helped the team winning more than 50 percent of the matches they played.
His last 11 innings comprised for 89 runs, which included four ducks against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Yet he continues to bat on number 4 position and with his current form, a quick dismissal will create an enormous amount of pressure for the following batsmen.
Reliable/Explosive Opening Pair
Since the World Cup where Upul Tharanga miraculously held his position as an opener despite the presence of healthy Marvan Atapattu, Sri Lanka have tried nearly 10 players in the opening slots. The stats show the inconsistency where any of those pairs failed to build a substantial opening wicket partnership. The solitary decent partnership had arrived at the expense of Bangladesh in Asia cup.
Apart from Kumar Sangakkara, all the other players lacked consistency, with captain leading the pack in dismal performances. Sanath Jayasuriya strikes once in a blue moon and in past 34 games he participated, only four times he was able to make notable scores and two of them were against (again) Bangladesh. While his fitness level is not a concern, Jayasuriya’s position as an established opener is left desired to be questioned.
Capricious Middle Order
Rotation of T.M. Dilshan, Chamara Kapugedara and Chamara Silva has not been successful. The lesser used players such as Mahela Udawatte, Thilina Kandambi, Angelo Mathews and Malinda Warnapura have put to perform in the same manner of a Russian Roulette game which resulted in none of them not being able to establish themselves in any position of the batting order.
Since 2003, the inclusion of Jehan Mubarak to the national team and constant opportunities he is given nonetheless the failures, comes as a surprise. It is not the first time a substandard player had the blessings of a higher being, allowing him to represent the country even if he may not seem fit. Mubarak has never being a prolific scorer even in the domestic circuit to prove his selection worthy.
Let’s start by Selecting a decent group of Selectors
And the next big question: Who selected these selectors? On what merit do Don Arunasiri and Ranjith Madurasingha qualify to become national selectors. Their international performances certainly don’t justify that and the current selection work clearly shows they are not any better in that department either. Asantha de Mel deserves some prop for his international career but that is the most commendable thing anybody can say regarding to his actions on and off the cricket field. Being the president of the national selection committee is a fulltime task which has to be handled with grave responsibility. And de Mel is far from being a qualified choice for that position.
back to the team performance,
Question= Can we really chase down a total in excess of 250 without Jayasuriya firing on top?
the answer has to be “No”. Ever since Jayasuriya was promoted into the openning slot, which was in late 95 only two or three occasions Sri Lanka were able to chase down a total scoring over 5 runs an over.
As good a batsmen Sangakkara is, he is never good at chasing big totals. Sangakkara bats very well if the side make the first use of the pitch.