Thilan a middle order batsman of intrinsic value
It's hard to reconcile oneself to the fact that the dogged, Thilan
Samaraweera, ever so stubborn in his approach when it comes to batting
at the crease - wasn't a few years ago allowed to enjoy continuity in
the Sri Lanka team, for the flimsy reason that he lacked form.
If we do go back in time, most, if not all of us know, that Thilan
was a fine product of Ananda College, as a dour meticulous batsman and a
wily off spinner, who eventually went onto to captain the side. He
progressed in the same vein for his club, the SSC and did lead the side
here as well.
Cast in the same mould of Asanka Gurusinghe, who made his exit from
Sri Lanka cricket sometime ago - Thilan the obdurate with his sedate
batting made the right kind of impression to be selected to represent
He proved to be an orthodox, technically sound batsman and a useful
spinner whose services in the middle order was more than adequate, where
no side could illafford to miss a cricketer of his calibre especially at
The mild mannered, unassuming, Thilan, on the field of play was never
involved in any form of controversy or altercation with opposing players
and all things taken together it was ludicrous to find that he was
dropped from the Sri Lanka team for reasons best known to those in
authority, which was indeed a pity.
We say this in the light of the odd one or two so-called less
competent allrounders, who despite their poor showing were tolerated
upon for a considerable period of time, as mere passengers to finally
make their exit from the team.
Thilan Samaraweera, on being recalled to the side, grabbed the
opportunity with a vengeance to be a prolific scorer against England,
Pakistan and New Zealand. He within this year has scored 4 centuries and
1000 runs in Test cricket and registered his 11th Test hundred quite a
good going to celebrate his recall. Thilan has made runs both when the
side was doing well and more importantly when the side was doing badly,
to be the anchor man to earn the sobriquet 'the Rock'.
We would do well therefore, not so much to dwell on his contributions
made when the side had made bid scores but rather to elaborate on his
batting when he has seen the side through a crisis.
There have been quite a few occasions, when Thilan as a middle order
batsman had to contend with an embarrassingly dismal situation, where
the first five front line batsmen had been dismissed for a paltry score.
In such object times, it's interesting to note the strategy employed
by Thilan to slowly but surely get on top of the sorry state the side
The characteristic feature of Thilan batting in tense situations like
this is to stay unruffled to keep his cool. Not so much to make runs at
the outset, but to have his feet firmly planted to the crease and size
The battle is on with the bowlers striving hard to dislodge Thilan
and dismiss the remaining batsmen early - whilst Thilan meets every ball
in the middle of his very straight bat, to stout heartedly protect his
wicket, as if though his very life depended on it and perhaps to mutter
within himself, only over my dead body, for many were the bouncers he
deftly ducked away from more often than not, it turns out to be a
wearing of and tiring out ordeal between the bowlers and Thilan - which
he invariably wins through. Having begun to frustrate the bowlers
through sheer concentration and application, he now begins to score in
singles and the odd twos.
Though not a flamboyant spectacular batsman, he having had a good
measure of the bowling and grappled with it successfully with much
subdued patience now starts leaving the crease to elegantly drive
through the covers or extra cover, to hit past the ropes and light it
over to make a good score and put his side on the offensive.
Undoubtedly, Thilan is a middle order batsman of intrinsic value and
should be playing to make the runs for his side.