Posts Tagged ‘Muthiah Muralitharan’

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.


Surprises, surprises! The high officials in SL never disappoint us and decided to spring a surprise and appoint Murali as Sanga’s deputy!

Of course, it does bring the question, what happened to Dilshan?

Clearly, most of the players wouldn’t have been happy, and not a lot of us locals over here liked the way he captained the team during the T20 against India. It was utterly disgraceful and a complete contrast to the way Dhoni captains.

This idiot was screaming at the bowlers for bowling bad balls and staring at his own mates!

Now, one thing I like about MSD’s captaincy is that he always runs to the bowler to have a chat with him if he feels that something is not right. He conducts himself in an extremely mature manner that really belies his age.

On the other hand, this idiot acts like a monkey on the field, it’s no wonder that he wasn’t appointed as VC.

The second reason, the most likely one, was that there is no other person who can command a place in the side. Most of the youngsters are either very new or permenantly out of form.

Perhaps it’s a decent decision. Murali did indicate that he’d retire after the 2011 WC, so perhaps SLC figured that they would’ve got a proper successor by then. Let’s hope SL does! 🙂

Dominic Cork sends in a good one-liner

Posted: February 26, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Well, as you would already know from reading a previous post, Dom Cork is now in Pakistan (yes, that country where bombs are supposedly blowing up every nanosecond).

He was in the commentary box with Ranil Abeynaike (former Colombo-SSC curator turned commentator) and someone (I think Faisal Iqbal) had cover-driven Fernando. Murali tries to stop it with his football skills, which are actually, quite surprisingly, very good, but it fails him this time and it runs off to the boundary.

Dom Cork has this to say:

“…Murali, leave the football to Manchester United”

Hehe, perhaps Cork hasn’t been watching a lot of cricket…maybe ruing the fact that he didn’t put his hand up for the IPL!

I was bristling when I was watching India collapse in both innings. I don’t think that I have ever seen such tight bowling by Sri Lanka in a test! Often, you’d see clever batsmen stonewalling Murali and smashing the bowler at the other end, but, finally Murali has got a great spin twin in Mendis. Like the cricinfo commentator said, “If Murali doesn’t get you, Mendis will”!

I’ve always maintained that Warne had a definite advantage with the presence of someone like McGrath because, with McGrath’s pinpoint accuracy and Warney’s magic, the batsmen had to give in sometime or the other. Finally, Murali has got someone to maintain the pressure at the other end. Hope to see some great performances by Sri Lanka in the future.

Comparisons are being made of this duo to the last best West Indian spinners, Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine. Ramadhin was very well known for spinning the ball both ways (like Mendis does), and the fact that he always wore full sleeves made it difficult for the batsmen to read the ball off his hand. Valentine, according to one of his team-mates, ‘could even spin the ball on glass’ (similar stuff have been said of Murali)

Of course, it would be too late to write off the Indians. We could be in for a good series!