Archive for the ‘Sri Lanka’ Category

I have an admission to make which will keep the marketers away…

I normally don’t post the nonsense which people usually ask me to do so on my “esteemed” blog via e-mail. Just hit the delete button and move on with life.

However, this video, which was sent by a James Fick from Rubicon, the official drinks sponsor of the English T20 competition, was too good not to post (no, I wasn’t given a free case of drinks for plugging Rubicon!)

It involves Murali and Swann being given a challenge, whereby a drinking glass is placed on a stump and a 50p coin placed on the edge of the glass. Whoever manages to knock the 50p coin without touching the stumps or the glass wins.

Before I spam you with the first post on this blog after Bradman was dismissed for a duck by Eric Hollies,  I would, firstly, like to thank Subash Jayaraman, who has been very patient with me and gone through the torture that comes with working with me i.e. constantly reminding me to send in a World Cup preview for Sri Lanka!

This article was originally written for Clear Cricket.

The last few years have been quite a time for Sri Lanka. As far as limited over matches are concerned, there’s a sense in Sri Lanka that we are finally on the right track to achieving the type of consistency that is appropriate for the calibre of players that we have. Our performances were good, but not world-beating, under Marvan Atapattu. Mahela Jayawardena brought about a sense of ruthlessness, but his poor batting form in the last 1-2 years of his captaincy ensured that the ODI team was lacking direction.

I was very skeptical of how well Kumar Sangakkara would fare as a captain, largely because I felt that he was of the “wedi katha, adu weda” type (translates to “more talk, less work” from Sinhala to English). However, he has proven me wrong on all fronts, as he has been one of our best batsmen since he took over and, for once, I actually look up to him to make a big score for us. He’s led with aggression when required (who can ever forget the 93 that he made against India in Rajkot in late 2009, which, IMHO, was better than Dilshan’s 163) and can bat with caution when required (I feel the instances are countless to specifically mention one).  He has actually become the cornerstone of our batting.

The squad was pretty much on expected lines, although I was hoping against hope that Chaminda Vaas would get picked, considering how well he played in the last IPL and the way he performed as an all-rounder in the English T20 competition last year. However, the selection of the 2 Chamaras, Kapugedera and Silva, as well as that of Ajantha Mendis are what have irked many people in Sri Lanka, but some selections tend to be too baffling that it numbs fans into just praying that the team as a whole performs well.

The openers have a settled look about themselves, Dilshan knowing his role as the aggressor and Tharanga knowing his role as the not-too-aggressive opener. This opening partnership conjures images of the very successful former opening combo of Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu, though, to be fair to Tharanga, Atapattu didn’t really score as fast as Tharanga does.

The performance of the middle order is what I feel will decide how far we go in the World Cup. In Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, we have 2 experienced veterans who can both attack and accumulate as and when the need arises. If any bowling attack can get them out cheaply, then the onus will be on Thilan Samaraweera to bail the team out.

Samaraweera, in my opnion, is one of the most underrated players in Sri Lankan cricket. Ever since Russell Arnold retired (after the 2007 World Cup), Sri Lanka has struggled to find a player who can steady the ship and rotate the strike and ensure that not too many wickets are lost in the last 10 overs. Thilan has the capability to do that, but has not been trusted too much by the team management. Due to the insecurity about his position in the side, he is often caught in two minds, whether to attack or to accumulate. I hope that Sangakkara defines his role clearly as the innings-builder so that he can play an extremely useful part in our campaign.

Angelo Mathews is another player who will play a vital role in the team. In addition to his medium pace bowling, which is perfect for sub-continental conditions, his batting will complement Thilan in being an innings-builder. However, I hope he would bat a little more consistently so that he can play a role as a genuine no.6 batsman.

Thissara Perera is the “boy with the golden arm”, the guy whose bowling seems unthreatening but somehow gets wickets! His big hitting is also something to look out for, though additional consistency would greatly help.

Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara complement each other, as one attacks with his pace and swing, while the other attacks with good old-fashioned accurate bowling. Dilhara, as the reserve pace bowler, will bring a lot to the table if he plays in any matches, with his canny changes of pace as well as his genuinely fast bowling. Murali will want to shine in his last World Cup, so don’t be surprised to see an extra spring in his step. This might be the only World Cup Rangana Herath plays in, so expect him to come in with his big bag of tricks. He is one of the most underestimated spinners in Sri Lanka cricket, but always does justice to his talent when selected (he even performed much better than Murali during the tour to India in late-2009).

Sangakkara seems to favour Ajantha Mendis a lot, I assume, due to his supposed ‘mystery’! For God’s sake, he barely troubled the Englishmen during the Champions Trophy 2009 and didn’t trouble Adrian Barath when he scored his maiden century recently, so I would most probably expect him to get carted all over the place during the tournament and replaced by Rangana Herath (hopefully).

So, to wind this up, Sri Lanka have genuine potential to take home the Cup for the 2nd consecutive time in the sub-continent. There is a good balance of youth and experience, and everyone is fit and ready to fire on all cylinders. It all boils down to consistency!

Prediction : World Cup Winners.

Source


Glory, glory hallelujah!

Posted: November 6, 2010 in Australia, Sri Lanka

Well, I don’t think I have to tell you that Sri Lanka just took the ODI series against Australia with one match to play. Yes, you heard that right, with ONE FRIGGIN’ MATCH TO PLAY.

It’s still sinking in for me. Why?

Because, even though our batsmen have not struggled too much in Australia, it’s been our bowlers who have let us down. It’s largely due to the fact that our bowlers find it difficult to adjust to the bouncy pitches of South Africa and Australia. However, we never have this problem in England or New Zealand because the focus in these countries is more on good swing bowling, which our lads can do pretty well.

What’s been the reason for the turnaround?

In my honest opinion, perhaps this series win is the only real benefit we’ve got out of Trevor Bayliss as a coach. His record as coach has been pretty piss-poor during since he took over from Tom Moody after the 2007 World Cup. We’ve never been as bad as West Indies, neither have we been as consistent as we should be. However, I’m pretty sure that it was Trevor, along with the expertise of the batting coach Stuart Law, that helped us get this series win.

However, it would be criminal on my part if I didn’t mention Champaka Ramanayaka, the bowling coach. Initially spurned by our Board, he plied his trade with Bangladesh, the results of which have been showing for quite some time now. Finally, realizing their stupidity and shedding the thought that local coaches are not good, he’s been picked and what a find he has been.

He’s made Malinga much more fit and consistent, he’s turned Kulasekara from a subcontinent-only bowler to an all-pitches bowler, he’s even done a lot of good with Thisara Perera, whose bowling wasn’t really much to write home about when he came into the side.

Sanga should also be applauded for literally leading from the front with his aggressive batting. Sanga has, until recently, never really done justice to his batting talents, often getting starts and not converting them into something useful. However, I’ve seen a real change in him since he’s taken over the captaincy. He’s looking to take the attack to the opposition bowlers rather than just milking singles even when there are boundaries for the taking.

I’m sure people who watched the two matches closely enough would have noticed that Sangakkara always appealed when the ball was going wide. I presume this was to ensure that the umpire wouldn’t call a wide. I found this pretty daft, but funny! J

A really good tour ends tomorrow with the last ODI at the ‘Gabba. Ricky’s being sent to play a FC match with the Tassies, so poor Clarke will be captaining again. After having tried to smash Watson’s knee, he might try to smash Clarke’s face by hitting a six in the direction of the dressing room.

Cheers!

Yes, the post title aptly describes my feelings after watching 90% of the match (I was called back to office just a couple of balls before Thisara Perera finished off the game).

It isn’t often that you see Sri Lanka beating Australia in any form of the game, anywhere, let alone in Australia.

Moreover, the fact that it was pretty comprehensive makes it all the more sweet.

For me, there were a number of deciding factors.

Many would agree with me if I said that these factors included Suraj Randiv’s bowling, Dilshan’s and Sanga’s batting.

However, the real deciding factor in the match was our fielding during the whole innings.

The boys were leaping around and saving a helluva lot of runs during teh first 10 overs. The pressure created by the lack of runs was the catalyst for the collapse of the top order, leaving the Aussies at a paltry 44/5 after 11 overs.

Yes, we could’ve bowled better. However, it was only because we had restricted them during the first half of the innings, we were able to restrict them to a very gettable total of 134/8.

This win also resulted in our first ever silver-ware from Australia.  I sincerely hope that we can bring home another trophy within the next week! 🙂

In other news, I’ve been purchasing some cricket literature in the last few months.

I got my copy of W.G. Grace Ate My Pedalo by the legendary Alan Tyers. It’s a really delightful read and deserves a separate post (though I haven’t read it fully yet), so await the mid-review later this week.

Ah, good thing I didn’t forget. Here’s a comic which I continue to find amusing, even a week after I first saw it. I don’t know how many of you would’ve seen it, so, enjoy!

Pierce Brosnan aka James Bond for ICC's undercover work?

OK, I’ll be really honest here.

There’s going to be nothing in this post about any fire or water in my belly.

The reason I put that as the title was only because that was the first phrase that came to my mind.

Anyways, it’s been nearly 4 months since I’ve put up a proper post on this oft-neglected blog, the main reason being that I always had to carry my laptop outside my apartment to surf the net (off someone else’s Wi-Fi connection).

Well, the next para’s going to be a quick re-cap of the happening in the cricket world during the last 4 months:

India pWNed Australia once again, Dhoni lost a series in Sri Lanka for the first time, Pakistan cricket fucks themselves in the ass once again, Ijaz Butt can’t keep his mouth or his butt (sorry for the pun) in check, Bangladesh clean-sweep New Zealand in the ODI series (who would’ve thought that the Banglas would get their first ever ODI series win against a major test-playing nation by way of a cleansweep?), West Indies name the royally-named Darren Julius Garvey Sammy as captain, Suresh Raina breaks his Test Duck, BCC!‘s batsman Cheteshwar “Chѐ” Pujara impresses all in his Test Debut, Sachin Tendulkar continues to score runs as easily as me taking a shower, Lalit Modi is kicked out of IPL, Preity is kicked out of IPL, Shilpa is kicked out of IPL, Australia’s reserve bowler (James Pattinson) gets injured, lalalalalalalalaaaaaaaa…………..

Phew! That was quite an exhaustive paragraph! 🙂

Onto more serious things.

Sangakkara has started off the Australian tour in style with a really good 110 off 95 balls against a full-strength Queensland side. Thank goodness for that…at least we don’t have to rely solely on Dilshan for some aggressive innings. Chamara Silva also did well, playing at more than a run-a-ball.

Mahela impressed today with a good 58 off 35 in a T20 against a depleted NSW side. However, Angelo Mathews played the type of innings which makes you think, WTF? 24 off 33, especially against a second-string NSW side, isn’t really a very good performance, but, heck, I’m just hoping that the real Angelo Mathews turns up against Australia!

Moving onto Pakistan vs. Australia, it was a real shame that Pakistan had to lose yesterday. If only the damned Pakistani batsmen had showed some more balls (not literally, of course! 😛 ), they’d have stood a chance of winning, especially after a double-wicket maiden from the Grandpa of international fast bowlers, Shoaib Akthar. Hmmpphh!!

Well, other than that, Kochi have officially been terminated. WHOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

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Oops! I just read the fine print. Apparently, they have 30 days before they are actually terminated.

BOOHOO!!

I just hope that the BCCI is able to find some fault with 5 other franchises as well, so that we’d have just 2 franchises playing each other in 3 matches (one home, one away and the final) to decide the winner of the IPL. It’ll be done and dusted in 1 week, max! 😀