Posts Tagged ‘Mahela Jayawardena’

1. Pulse questions

The IPL website guys keep coming up with some hilarious questions to ask on their website.

As an example, for some reason, Robin Jackman seems to have accumulated a cult following during this year’s IPL. It might be because of his genial way of commentating.

One of the questions asked during a match, when he was commentating, was “Would Jackers have been a force in the IPL?”, to which an overwhelming majority answered yes. In another match, to the question “Is Jackers prophetic?”, there was a huge majority saying yes!

Yesterday, during one of the matches, Harsha Bhogle asked Simon Doull whether New Zealand players were nicer than Australians, to which the obvious answer came “yes”! Later in the match, when Brad Hogg was commentating with Simon Doull, the IPL Pulse question was “Are New Zealand players nicer than Australian players?”, to which 88% answered Yes (I’m able to remember the figure since it was such a hilarious question). Doull fell into fits of laughter, while poor Hogg was speechless….all he could say was “I love Indian people”!


2. Brad Hogg

For some reason, the commentating team for this year’s IPL seems more tolerable than previous years…

Actually, let me rephrase that : the IPL commentators this year aren’t the type who talk for the sake of talking.

However, there are still a few of those type remaining.

Most notably, Brad Hogg has been absolutely unbearable. He seems to be in a permanent state of excitement (looks like someone’s been put just adrenaline in his water glass instead of water itself) and has a really unbearable accent which makes him sound like an NFL commentator (I have no idea how that comparison came about, that’s the first thing that came to my mind).

Yes, there’s Danny Morrison as well, who has been in a permanent state of excitement since IPL 2008. However, he doesn’t always resort to stating the bleeding obvious all the time. Instead, his excitement does provide for some good entertainment.

It really IS difficult to describe why, but I just can’t seem to stand Hogg’s commentary…maybe it’s because of the combination of ‘stating the bleeding obvious’ and ‘hyper-excitement’ that makes him terribly unbearable.


3. Lack of crass commercialism

This IPL has been much more entertaining than the previous year. A number of reasons for this:

–          No ads in between overs

–          No flying balloon

–          No sight of Lalit Modi on TV

–          Lack of crass commercialism in general.

Also, the introduction of the ultra slow-mo camera has made the whole viewing experience much more enjoyable. I’ve always been fascinated by the whole ultra slow-mo technology and the IPL has fed me an overdose of it!

Also, the hiring of Archana Vijaya to the IPL panel has made the viewing experience much more ‘enjoyable’! 😉

However, I do find one of the presenters extremely annoying. There is one called Shabnam, who comes on with an extremely fake accent and asks pretty lame questions. Knock off the accent, ‘gal!

4. Chris Gayle

How does he do it?

This guy is so laid back, he doesn’t have to take any effort when hitting sixes. Even I find it difficult to hit sixes when playing with a heavy wooden bat in softball cricket!

I like watching sixes where there is a genuine effort made (see Paul Valthaty).

I don’t enjoy watching sixes made by guys like Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Kieron Pollard because they all seem to be what we call in Sinhala, “kanaa shots” (lucky shots).

However, there is an altogetherly different pleasure in watching Gayle hitting sixes.

Perhaps it’s the lack of emotion he displays when hitting sixes. From his reaction after hitting a six, you’d think that he’s just played off a dot-ball.

Leave all the poetry aside, I want many more Gayle-storms!


5. Kumar Sangakkara

Some ( I suppose, many) will curse me for life for saying this, but I’m secretly happy that Sanga is failing as a captain for the Deccan Chargers.

This hate might seem a bit surprising, considering the fact that he led us to 2 ICC event finals during his captaincy.

However, what really irked me was when people started ‘mourning’ the loss of ‘one of the best leaders we ever had’ when Sangakkara resigned as captain of Sri Lanka.

Come on, anyone who properly observed his fielding tactics and team selections would realize that he doesn’t really have the tactical nous and the likes, which are pre-requisites for captaincy. Yes, he was a good speaker and all, but being able to speak nice and diplomatically doesn’t qualify you in any way as a captain.

Most of the tactical nous that he displayed as Sri Lankan captain was the input obtained from Mahela Jayawardene, so Mahela was actually the captain from 2006-2011, albeit the unofficial one for the last 2 years.

Therefore, I wanted Deccan to lose as badly as possible so that people can realize that, even with a pretty good team, he’s not really all that good unless he has Mahela by his side.

However, Mahela is just unfortunate to be captaining a side which was selected without consideration to the possible team combination. The players whom the team management selected during the auction were mostly the rubbish ones. For some reason, they let most of the good guys go.

Despite the fairly rubbish side that Kochi has, Mahela’s still managed to get them to 5th place, which is 2 places above the Deccan Chargers. I shudder to think how dominant the Chargers would have been if Mahela was put in charge of them!

Personally, I would have had Cameron White captaining the side since he’s been an extremely successful captain with Victoria, leading them to the final every year in the Australian T20 competition ever since it started. Yes, he’s been pretty scratchy with the bat, but a super captain for a shit batsman is a damn fine trade, I say!


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.


In the past few years, Mahela has really been a very curious case to follow.

He’s so prolific in Tests and always seems to get a hundred, whereas, when it comes to ODIs, there are just brief periods of excellence and plenty of times when he barely scores runs. Sri Lankan cricket fans will remember the last time he had such a bad drought, which was between 2003 and 2004. Most notable was the World Cup 2003, where he didn’t manage a single double-figure score, despite having played in all but one match.

I’ve recently discovered the wonders of Cricinfo’s Statsguru 2.0 and it’s allowed me to come up with this analysis.

This is a look at how consistent he has been across ODIs and Tests when compared to the 3 other batsmen who have been pretty much the mainstay for the last decade.

I have considered the achievement of an average of 35 and above as a good year. The minimum criteria for a particular year to be considered is 10 ODIs. The stats aren’t too surprising for ODIs. For Jayasuriya, it’s only fair to consider the stats from 1996 as it was in that year that he was pushed up the order.

Mahela Jayawardena – 4 out of 11 years (36%)

Marvan Atapattu – 9 out of 10 years (90%)

Kumar Sangakkara – 6 out of 10 years (60%)

Sanath Jayasuriya – 6 out of 14 years (43%) (had 34.something averages in 2 years)

As you can clearly see, Mahela has been the least consistent of the 4 batsmen. Jayasuriya’s lack of consistency is largely due to the fact that he’s an impact batsman, in that no-one really expects him to play a big innings every match, rather something like once every 3 matches or so.

Looking at the Test numbers, however, Mahela leads the pack. In this, I’ve considered an average of 40+ as a good year. The batsman should have played at least 2 matches in a year. The reason for the low qualification isbecause Sri Lanka generally doesn’t play a lot of test matches. Sanath’s stats from 1996 are only counted.

Mahela Jayawardena – 13 out of 14 years (93%)

Marvan Atapattu – 6 out of 10 years (60%)

Kumar Sangakkara – 7 out of 10 years (70%)

Sanath Jayasuriya –  6 out of 12 years (50%)

As you can see, Mahela is the runaway leader in this table, which clearly shows which format he favors.

What makes Mahela a very difficult case is because, in 4 innings in which he has opened, he has made 2 centuries at an average of 62.50, which is 30 runs higher than his career average. Moreover, these 2 centuries are the only centuries which he has made since 2008, making it a hard choice for the management, especially with 2 in-form openers.

There have been cries of ageism in Sri Lankan blogs, notably in Island Cricket. It is true because, if Jayasuriya had to be dropped, why not Mahela. Jayasuriya at least made a fairly good contribution with the ball regularly unlike Mahela, who rarely every bowls.

The selectors had taken a bold move by dropping Mahela from the original tour squad. I say dropped and not rested because, if a player has a groin injury and is made to sit out, I doubt that he would be in a position to be flown in at short notice to cover injuries to other players.

It does seem that when a number of players got injured (Pushpakumara, Dilshan and Silva), Sangakkara took the chance to fly in his best friend. I can’t imagine the selectors objecting to it as it would’ve been fairly difficult to throw in some more new players at such short notice.

The people here would greatly appreciate it if Mahela could just retire from ODIs gracefully and allow young talent like Dinesh Chandimal take his place.

I really do wonder why players in the Indian Subcontinent tend to stay till they are despised. Why can’t they just be graceful and retire on a high, like McGrath, Warne or Gilchrist?


Poor Mahela

Posted: February 26, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

The pitch was so fuckin’ flat that Mahela thought that perhaps, his dibbly-dobblers would get Pakistan to declare.

And he nearly succeeded, creating 2 chances, one each off Arafat and Akmal, only to see it being dropped by some clearly tired fielders!

However, I do find it hard to understand why Vaasy wasn’t given more overs considering that he only gave about 1.8 runs per over (i.e.66 runs in 36 overs) while Murali gave away nearly a whole run more in his 65 overs!

Perhaps something’s cooking in the boiling heat of Pakistan…

… the salsa on the bowler’s graveyard situated in Karachi!

My my, what a chance for Mahela to leave his imprint on the history of SL cricket! Now this is what you call ‘writing your own script’! He must’ve realised that he could cash in big in this test series because of the flat nature of pitches in Pakistan and the fact that they’re playing a test match after 14 months and, that too, under a new captain.

I was really hoping that they would be the first duo to both record triple tons in the same innings in test cricket (it would’ve been the 2nd instance in first-class cricket, after a Indian duo, which included Sanjay Manjrekar’s dad, Vijay, after nearly 50 years)..

Heck, they couldn’t get that, but they did break a 52 year old record for the most runs scored for the 4th wicket partnership, held by Peter May and Colin Cowdrey (most famously known for his initials, MCC) of 411, scored against WI @ Edgbaston.

They also scored the most runs for any wicket @ Karachi, and made the highest total.

You have to feel sorry for poor Sohail Khan. He’s been thrown into the worst situation that a debutant bowler could ever be in (remember Nilesh Kulkarni, who made his debut when SL scored 952 against India).

Yes, he’s leaked nearly 6.5 runs per over in 21 overs, but, come on, he’s just playing his first test. Karachi is no place to give a bowler, that too a young one, his maiden cap. It would be really great for his confidence if he is picked for the next test too because it would do a world of good for his confidence.

However, having seen Pakistan cricket politics, I highly doubt that will happen and perhaps Mohammad Talha (another uncapped youngster who was last seen sniggering in the dressing room watching Sohail bowling) would get a cap.

In other matters, it still continues to baffle me why a bowler who clearly has a problem with landing his front foot behind or on the line and bowling stray gets to play in the team.

However, with every match Dilhara is playing, I feel my confidence now bursting at the seams. Mr. Selector, I don’t bowl a single no-ball or wide, so perhaps you could pick me!