Posts Tagged ‘Sanath Jayasuriya’

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…..

Advertisements

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?

😦

No, no, silly!

Naved-ul-Hasan isn’t asking Warnie how to bowl legspinners!

However, something I noticed for the first time in the second ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka (couldn’t watch the first one on TV) was the fact that Naved-ul-Hasan has a shocking amount of hair!

I barely watched much of the ICL and, so, was shocked to see him with such a mane!

So I decided to go back to the cricinfo archives to see whether my eyes were playing tricks on me and here’s what I found.

The pic was taken on December 16, 2007.

Ha!

You can’t fool me, Mr. Naved-ul-Hasan! Doing a Fidel Edwards doesn’t hide the fact that you were a baldie! 😛

So, could you be a nice boy and pass on some tips to Viru Sehwag so that he can get his hair back as well? And, while on the subject, be a darling and pass on some to Sanath as well!

🙂

Pictures courtesy of Cricinfo

When the news that the Asia Cup was going to be held this year came about, I was really happy cos’ it would give SL a chance to show that they were the true ODI champs of Asia.

However, looking at the time period during which the tournament would be held told me volumes about how significant this was to the ACC (Asian Cricket Council). Cricket is never played in July in Pakistan because the heat is just unbearable, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the matches were being played in an oven. It was clearly demonstrated by the fact that many teams seemed to choose to bat first so that their bowlers could bowl during the comparatively cooler nights.

As if the IPL didn’t get kinda boring during the end of the group stages because of consecutive matches every day, the Asia Cup tried to rival the IPL by giving teams ‘back-to-back’ matches in the sweltering heat of Karachi and Lahore, which resulted in a disgruntled Dhoni complaining about the schedule. I’m sure even Malik and Jayawardena must’ve been complaining within themselves.

However, some of the individual performances really gave the tournament something to remember. Ajantha Mendis with his whole load of variations (including the famous ‘carrom ball’), Suresh Raina coming back to form with some great centuries which were composed with conventional strokes (showing us precisely what Greg Chappell saw in him 2 years ago), the grandfather of Sri Lankan cricket Sanath Jayasuriya entertaining us with his great cross – batted strokes and whirlwind centuries, Alok Kapali composing a breathtaking century against a good Indian attack.

Sadly, UAE and Hong Kong, once again, just seemed to make up the number, and were clearly outclassed by the other teams. UAE came close to pulling off an upset against Sri Lanka when they had 6 SL batsmen down for not-so-many, and Arshad Khan making a whirldwind 73 before getting out. Hong Kong also had Pakistan 7 down for 169, but Tanvir and Alam rescued them.

Overalledly, nothing much to remember, the performance of Mendis giving everyone something to cheer about, and shows that unorthodox players still have a place in the game, and that there’ll be some spinners to fill the void that would be created once Kumble and Murali retire.