Is this the Sri Lankan version of the Ganguly saga?
Well….a section of the Sri Lankan cricket pundits hastily
pushed the aging Lankan marauder off to England with a view to add
more muscle to the flagging Lankan batting fortunes (that’s
what they think) while the others who are well aware of the ground
situation have seen no role for this ex-giant in the present line-up
for their match against Sussex.
Now that the young brigade has somewhat proven that they too possess
the wherewithal and the inner strength to rise to the occasion we
can take a drive down cricketing lane and ascertain as to who has
stood up and have been counted.
Among the top three (what I mean are the openers – Tharanga,
Mubarak and Vendort), it was once again only Tharanga who stood
up and was reckoned with. In the first innings ‘playing at
Lord’s’ mumbo-jumbo got over this-- tsunami hit rural
lad and played a typically dumb stroke and paid the price. But in
the second innings it was Tharanga along with his senior partner
Sangakkara who paved the way for the rest of the Lankan batsmen
and showed that there were no “gonibillas” in that half-baked
English attack, after “I don’t know why he is there.”
Mubarak who had committed hara-kiri has been afforded another chance
to show clearly what he does not possess.
Michael Vandort I feel is lucky to have got the nod over Sanath
Jayasuriya who did the yo-yo and was tipped to get the nod for the
opening slot for the second Test. Now it is up to Vandort to hold
on tight to this last straw that has come his way.
At present Jayasuriya must be going through the same vibes that
Ganguly went through while waiting on the sidelines in India. At
the same time one may also think now that he has come out of retirement
why not make use of this man who still can make the rest of the
world stand on their heads on his day.
|Is Jayasuriya facing the same fate as Ganguly?
As for Kumar Sangakkara I am the happiest in this
little episode. In the recent past it was clearly shown the pressure
was mounting on this fighting young cricketer. It was evident that
his facial expressions kept on changing by the innings with the
happenings at the other end of the wicket and off it. So much so
there came a point when Sangakkara gets out even the spectators
tended to switch off the TV’s and try to concentrate on something
else because even they knew that not much was left in the rest after
his departure. But, in this innings some other players led by skipper
Mahela Jayawardena assured him that they too could shoulder the
burden and row the troubled boat to coast.
As for Samaraweera and Kapugedera, they possess the necessary talent
to be playing at the highest level and do deserve longer runs in
their respective slots. By chance if someone even suggests that
they should be dropped because of their failures in this match,
they should not be performing as national selectors.
As a senior member of the squad and a late middle order batsman
it is Tillekeratne Dilshan fulfilling his mission. Yes, he does
get that 30-50 score against his name and making sure that his name
does appear in the same place in their next outing too. But, to
my mind his job out there is a little bigger than that. It’s
time that he stands up and gets into the boots of Arjuna Ranatunge
or his namesame Hashan Tillekeratne. Both Hashan Tillekeratne and
Ranatunge during their tenure in the middle order used to get the
same scores as Dilshan, but they also used to tag along the other
end too. When the two older-statesmen in their time used to get
a fifty they also carried the other end and got them to provide
the necessary tens and twenties so that the final total will get
boosted by at least another 120 to 150 runs. What I mean is that
Dilshan now should start walking along with the rest of the batting
and not run away back into the dressing room after his undroppable
Then come all-rounders and the bowlers who can bat. In this slot
definitely Maharoof is getting counted. As a batsman he is improving
once again by the innings but as far as his bowling is concerned
I cannot understand why he cannot hit the same length and direction
overseas that he hits at home. As far as Vaas is concerned he knows
what he is doing.
For young Kulasekera I have this little anecdote. When Border’s
Aussie Xl toured Sri Lanka some time ago, time and again it was
off spinner Gerg Mathews that pulled the tourists out of many a
batting rut. Then once at an after-match captain meeting us in the
local press queried from Border if he was happy that he had discovered
another promising all-rounder in Mathews? The answer was grim and
straight. Border said “He was included in the squad as an
off spinner and as long as he shows performance at the job for which
he was selected he can hold on to his place”.
In bowling though Sri Lanka almost opted to throw their wickets
away in the first innings during the entire five days of play the
wicket proved to be a true bowlers heart-breaker. But, Sri Lanka
managed only five wickets (along with a spate of bad umpiring decisions).
However England with an equally bad attack managed nineteen wickets
and nine missed catches. But as for Sri Lanka surely they can have
a better combination in bowling. At the same time it was intriguing
to note that a bright element somewhere decided to black out the
match from the local channels and keep it only accessible to the
more affluent who could afford cable TV.
As for former England opener Geoffrey Boycott who speaks the queens
language with a queer accent said “My mum could have scored
against this attack” when the England top order batsmen were
scoring freely against the Sri Lankan bowling attack. But, little
did Mr. Boycott know that even the old King coconut vendor down
our market place could have survived against those “butter
fingered” English cricketers and their fireless line-up of
bowlers who toiled for almost three days on that dead wicket.