Archive for the ‘Sri Lanka’ Category

Well, it’s over a month since I’ve written a post. The last post was on Sri Lanka’s victory against Zimbabwe in the group stages of the T20 World Cup and my incredulity on the fact that Mahela was playing like a gem while the others were playing like a blind man groping around for landmarks by which he could identify the place where he is standing.

Between then and now, a lot has happened in Sri Lanka.

Selection Committee

The “legend”, Hon. C.B. Ratnayaka (Sports Minister), having possibly lived in a dream-world where justice is served to those who break it, declares Sri Lanka Cricket as the 3rd most corrupt institute, the first 2 being the education sector (Ordinary Level Exam papers have been printed with plenty of errors) and the police (I don’t think any explanation is required). He promises to clean up the board and appoint a new interim committee with non-corrupt people.

However, CB is forced to do a u-turn. He fires the 2 non-corrupt people in the committee, Pramodya Wickremesinghe (former Lankan fast bowler who played in the 1996 World Cup) and Ranil Abeynaike (former SSC curator and current commentator/journalist).

He re-appoints the 2 most corrupt people in the committee, DS de Silva (former Lankan leggie, married to a woman who’s family is in the gambling business. According to ICC laws, a director of the ICC cannot have any associations with any gambling/betting organisations. Since DS is the head of SL cricket, he automatically becomes a director. Of course, why he is still allowed to be an ICC director is beyond me) and Nishantha Ranatunga (ex-cricketer, brother of Arjuna, known to have taken 33 overseas tours on public expense since appointed last year).

CB also appoints some more corrupt people, details of whom I can’t be bothered to learn. Frankly, who cares? They’re corrupt, that’s all I need to know.

New selection panel appointed

However, one good thing CB has done is appoint a good selection committee.

It is headed by Aravinda “Mad Max” de Silva. I doubt he needs an introduction, but for the benefit of those who don’t know him, he, in his heyday, was the daredevil of Sri Lankan cricket. A flashy strokeplayer, he was the lynchpin of the Sri Lankan batting order in the 90’s along with Arjuna Ranatunga, Asanka Gurusinha and Roshan Mahanama. He was the man-of-the-final in the 1996 World Cup, having made a brilliant century after the openers (Sanath Jayasuriya & Romesh Kaluwitharana) were dismissed with just 23 on the board. Kent players were reportedly in tears when he had to leave after a stint with them!

Amal Silva, ex-keeper. Don’t really know much about him, except that he is one of a very few number of Lankans to have made a century on their Lord’s debut.

Shabir Asgerally. Have no idea about his credentials, except that he played just one domestic 50-overs match.

Ranjit Fernando. I don’t think he needs any introduction. For the uninitiated, pay a visit to this blog, Ranjit Fernando Sucks.

SL wins the tri-series in Zimbabwe

OK, let’s be honest. No-one was interested in this series. Even the Indians weren’t interested and sent a motley crew to the series. Sri Lanka sent a half-decent team headed by Dilshan.

As far as I was concerned, my only interest was seeing how Dinesh Chandimal, Jeevan Mendis and Lahiru Thirimanne played.

The interest in Chandimal is not new to Lankan fans, who have been speaking highly of him ever since his u-19 days. This dude can keep wickets and score big runs. Enough said about him.

Jeevan Mendis has been around for quite a long time, but has, sadly, never got the opportunities to showcase his potential. Though 42 runs in 2 innings and 4 wickets @ 29.75 aren’t exactly world-beating, it’s a good return for someone who’s waited for so long. Besides, he’s a LEGGIE. Currently, our top 3 spinners are all offies (Murali, Randiv and Mendis). Therefore, it’d be nice to have some variety with a leggie who can bat in the top-7.

However, poor Thirimanne didn’t get proper opportunities to display his potential. I really liked what I saw of him in his short maiden innings. However, it would’ve been better to just bench him rather than playing him at No. 7. I mean, what right thinking person would put an opener at No. 7?

Perhaps it would’ve been better to bench the perennially underachieving Chamara K’r’apugedara, who has a pathetic average of 22 after 73 games! I mean, even Rohit “Nohit” Sharma had an average of 25.something after 42 games (of course, he’s upped that significantly with some very good knocks). But, what to do? Politics, politics, politics…..

Chandimal not picked for the Asia Cup

There has been an uproar here in Sri Lanka over the dropping of Dinesh Chandimal, who scored an impressive century against India, for the Asia Cup.

Under normal circumstances, I would’ve joined the chorus. However, we all know that the Asia Cup is just like the Champions Trophy, an ugly sibling whose presence no-one wants to acknowledge but don’t want to insult.

Chandimal’s being sent to Australia with the Sri Lanka A side. Now, this will definitely help him with his development. It is common knowledge that Australia A is quite a strong team. That, coupled with the fast Australia pitches, will really contribute a lot to Chandimal’s learning curve.

The fundamental problem with most of our batsmen is an inability to play on fast pitches. Therefore, hopefully, Chandimal will learn a lot from this tour.

However, had he stayed, he would’ve played on the zombie-like pitches of Sri Lanka against India (OMG, I’m starting to see India-SL matches more frequently than porn), Pakistan (do I need to actually say anything?) and Bangladesh (hmm…). The learning from this tournament would’ve been next-to-nothing!

Sanath Jayasuriya

Ah, the main topic of this post.

Sri Lanka staggered and stumbled like a guy heavily on arrack and realized, “Hey, we are in the semi-finals? Now, how did that happen?”. Of course, their poor performances were bound to catch up and so, the alcohol wore off and Sri Lanka finally realized that they were in the wrong place and got duly thrashed by England.

Discontent among the public on Sanath Jayasuriya’s place in the side continued to rise as he ended up with a miserable average of 3.75 in 6 matches, a sorry average for a player who was declared the man-of-the series in the 1996 World Cup for his amazing average of … and SR of ….

It was well known that, just before the T20WC, Sanga had sent in his resignation after Upul Tharanga’s name was scratched out and Sanath’s pencilled in. The president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, got his son, Namal, to cool down Sangakkara.

It also came to be known recently that it was Namal who called up Sanga during the World Cup and ordered him to send Sanath up the order.

All this resulted in a lot of discontent among the Lankan public. This anger started to go towards the Rajapaksa. Realizing that this could potentially backfire on him, he asked Sanath, after the T20WC, “Didn’t you have enough? Don’t you want to retire now?”

Nooooooooo…….said Sanath. He wanted to play till the 2011 WC. Realizing the futility of this situation, he had ordered the selection committee, headed by Aravinda, to drop Sanath for the Asia Cup and not pick him for any future tournaments. He also told his son not to interfere in any cricket matters anymore.

So, that ends the career of a legend of the game. I still have fond memories of him, of those flicks off his legs, of those amazingly fierce cut shots.

More importantly, he changed cricket for the better. He was the first opener to hit out in the first 15-overs, and changed the ways captains looked at the fielding restrictions. Rather than it being a time where the openers took singles, it is now looked upon as the time when batsmen go hell-for-leather!

It could be said that the dare-devilry of Sanath’s batting spawned the likes of Gilchrist, Gibbs, Hayden, Gayle and Sehwag.

However, all this scorn and shame heaped upon him was of his own doing. He could’ve retired after the 2007 World Cup on a high, when he scored 467 runs @ 46.7 with 2 centuries…..

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Man, that was so bad! It’s taken me some time to recover, which is the reason for the 2 day delay.

I mean, was Mahela Jayawardene playing on one strip and the other Lankan batsmen on another?

Mahela, the purist, plays an aggressive knock of 81 off 51 (SR 158), while Dilshan, the flamboyant and inventive batsman, makes 3 off 19 (SR 15).

I had to admit, after the raining fours and sixes in the IPL, the slowness of the pitch was hard to absorb as runs were hard to come by.

After crying hoarse (to myself, not on the blog πŸ˜› ) that bowlers are being unfairly dealt with in the IPL, it took some getting used to when the bowlers finally did get something going their way.

Mathews gave an absolutely fab start like how he did last year in the semi-final against West Indies. A wicket-maiden was the best possible way to start the innings. Though Chanaka did give it away a bit with 10 runs off the next over, it was still game.

However, New Zealand were getting into a similar position like SL when Jesse Ryder was seeing the ball clearly while the others seemed more like they needed a cataract operation.

His dismissal triggered a period where only 16 runs were scored in the next 6 overs.

Mendis bowls his last over, theΒ 17th over. This, IMO, was the turning point of the match.

At 16.4 overs, the situation was 38 runs from 20 balls.

At this point, I was feeling preeeety smug. Jacob Oram, who is a member of the club, “Most Overhyped Cricket Players”, was on strike. After him, there were only Hopkins, McNullum, Southee and Bond.

However, the 2 sixes that he struck in the last two balls (the second of which was one-handed), made the situation much more easier for the Kiwis. 26 from 18 is much more gettable.

The rest, as they say, is history, as Dan the Man sacrificed his wicket to ensure that McNullum (member of the club, “Most Underhyped Cricket Players”) took them home.

Now, TBH, I’m pretty worried.

Why?

We play the Zimbos tomorrow.

They have 3 spinners (4, if you include Greg Lamb) in their line-up. All of them are preeety good….

No, my silence hasn’t been due to Sri Lanka being on the brink of elimination from the Champion’s Trophy, but due to an excess load of work, I haven’t been able to post. However, that hasn’t stopped me from keeping track of the Champion’s Trophy, so here’s what’s been happening.

The fact that England are the 2nd team to have qualified to the semis have baffled everyone, including yours truly. After getting a right-royal drubbing from Australia and nearly got swept away 7-0, I did not, in my wildest dreams, expect England to play like they were the best team in ODIs ever.

Morgan, who looked a bit out of his depth, sizzled. Shah suddenly remember how to run and Collingwood realised that he could play big shots with the ‘Blockingwood’ bat!

As for SL…sigh! I really had high expectations for SL for the first time in a world tournament because I felt we had the best batting order in nearly 3 years. Our middle order had always been a problem. However, in Samaraweera, Kandamby and Mathews, we had a middle order which could bail us out in case Jayasuriya and Dilshan both failed. However….I just can’t point the finger to what went wrong…

West Indies haven’t done a bad job at all, bringing both matches really close till the class of the better team shone.

As for South Africa…..dear, oh dear, do I have to mention the C-word again? I just don’t know what’s up with them. If I’m not mistaken, they are the only team to have a full-time mental conditioner but they still can’t get into a final, let alone win one. I just get the feeling that the Saffers are mentally weak! Full stop. It’s the same situation with the Bangladeshis. They have a good load of talent, but just don’t have the mental fortitude to win consistently.

IMO, Andrew Strauss was wrong in denying the South African skipper a runner. Yes, it is all about proper conditioning of the body, but still, it can be quite energy – sapping to bat 40+ overs.

I can understand ruthlesness, but there is something called the ‘Spirit of Cricket’. Yes, this has been a sticky point in many instances as it is hard to define what exactly this ‘Spirit’ is. Let me give you a simple definition:

The Spirit of Cricket is playing the game in a hard, yet fair way

It means that you play aggressive cricket, but play fair. I wouldn’t have recalled Mathews if I were Strauss. It was Mathews’ fault that he was ball – watching. There was no way Onions could have possibly seen him coming (he would have had to sprout eyes on the back of his head). However, Smith did nothing wrong and all player suffer cramps when playing for so long. It will become a sticky point when some of his own players, most notably Owais Shah (who does have a tendency to cramp quickly), suffer cramps and need runners.

On the subject of Powerplays, I’d like to refer to the first match of the competition, between Sri Lanka and South Africa.

The scenario is this: Dilshan is carting the ball around the park and the mandatory 10 over powerplay has finished. As the fielding captain, do you take the powerplay or not?

IMO, it should be a sure NO! The simple reason is, he’s obviously finding the boundaries easily because there aren’t enough fielders at the boundary. We all know that Dilshan doesn’t hit big like, say, a Morgan or a Symonds, but he hits them fast. Perhaps, the presence of more fielders on the boundary rope can stifle the runs and, perhaps, even get a wicket. I would’ve taken the Powerplay after Dilshan was dismissed.

SL also erred in not taking their powerplay immediately. It didn’t cost them in the end, but I feel that Sanga should’ve taken the powerplay immediately after SA’s one. It was clear that Dilshan wanted the pace in order to play his shots and Smith wasn’t willing to bring in the spinners during the powerplays, so we could’ve milked a lot more runs.

Well, that’s that! The CT has been an unqualified success in that it makes life difficult for a team when they have lost just once! It does bring me to the question which Mike Holmans raised in the Different Strokes blog in Cricinfo. Why do we hate the CT so much when the World Cup is such an elongated piece of shit?

CT FTW!

PS – Just saw that there’s been a mad jump in the number of unique visitors to this blog in the last 3 days…can anyone enlighten me why? πŸ™‚

Yes, it’s been nearly 4 days since these pics were taken, but wanted to post them for the sake of doing so! πŸ™‚


Didn’t even know you were here, Grant Elliot!


Thilan Samaraweera and Chamara K(r)apugedara walk back after Mahela declares


Some good, light-hearted music off the field to compensate for lack of entertainment on the field!


Martin Guptill trudges back after promising a lot (28 off 32), yet disappointing!


Rangana Herath gets ready to bowl (the pic taken from beside the media box)

Got a ticket for the T20 today, hoping that I can get in without too much of a hassle! Will bring over some pictures from today’s game as well!

Pics have been taken from my phone, and they’ve come out small because the pics are originally of a high resolution. Will make sure to reduce the resolution today!

Looking at this picture really makes me cringe. Is this the same Kumar Sangakkara who is being praised by many people as one of the most level-headed voices in international cricket?

I, too, had a great deal of respect for Sanga due to his smooth talking and his level-headed opinions on many issues.

However, this incident just gives me an ugly reminder of what Ponting generally does.

OK, Younis may or may not have nicked the ball. I didn’t watch the incident live. However, all this is part and parcel of the game. You get some decisions your way and the others against.

However, this doesn’t give him an excuse to go and get into a long argument with Younis. Someone should have asked Sanga about the first ball dismissal of Kamran Akmal, where he was given LBW to a ball that clearly came off the inside edge of the bat. Sanga did, without a moment’s hesitation, appeal and got the decision.

Thank goodness it was the effervescent Younis Khan that Sanga was arguing to. Though Younis wasn’t too pleased, he managed to just give Sanga a pat on the back and send him away. I can’t imagine what would’ve happened if it was Ponting that Sanga was arguing to! 😦

The worst part of all this, like S.R. Paranavitana wrote in today’s Sunday Times, was that Saeed Ajmal was docked 15% of his match fee during the T20 for sending off Sanga while Sanga got away with the incident with Younis without a reprimand!

Sanga, for the sake of all SL cricket fans, please conduct yourself in a more dignified manner. Take the example of Mahela, who showed his ruthlessness in marshaling his troops, rather than yakking away with the opposition players!

Pictures courtesy of Cricinfo