Mathews’ elevation as vice captain welcome
Why are Silva, Kulasekara and Dilruwan Perera in T 20
The big battle is on for the Lankan Lions against a depleted and
rebuilding Australian side after a grueling series against a top English
team who are hammering the ‘No 1 ranked test team India’.
Now we have the home advantage and conditions which our cricketers
know like the back of their hand, spin friendly tracks for our spinners,
tracks without much seam movement and bounce for our batsmen plus huge
The Australian tour starts off with two T20 games at the picturesque
Pallekelle Stadium and the selectors have named a squad as usual with a
Firstly the selectors named a 20-member pool for the T20 games and
the five match ODI series and prolific off spinner Sachithra Senanayake
was named much to the delight of the Lankan fans who keenly follow
domestic and ‘A’ team cricket and know how much Sachitra deserves a go
in the national team.
Veteran leg spinner Malinga Bandara was named as well plus ‘slow ball
specialist’ Isuru Udana was included after being in the wilderness for
But then the selectors had included the likes of off spinner Dilruwan
Perera coming out of no where and Rangana Herath for the T20, 16-man
squad who were not part of the initial 20-man squad which begs the
question as to what was the point of naming a 20 man squad for the T20
and ODI games.
Angelo finally appointed vice captain, Kandamby axed
One of the few positives of the T20 squad is that dynamic all rounder
Angelo Mathews has finally being named the vice captain of the side, a
move which the cricket loving public expected long time back.
Surprisingly the rotund Thilina Kandamby who was appointed
‘Specialist vice captain’ for the T20 and ODI games and more importantly
who captained the side for the only T20 game against England has been
Disappointing Kulasekara has to make an impact
Since 2010 Zimbabwe tri series, Nuwan Kulasekara the former World No
1 ranked bowler in ODIs certainly has gone down hill with his
performances.In 27 matches since then he has taken 20 wickets at an
average of a high 46, but when you remove the matches against minnows he
has taken only 14 wickets in 21 matches with an extremely high average
More importantly Kulasekara has gone wicketless in eight matches out
of the 21 against top teams which gives him a high percentage of 38
percent without wickets. His strike rate has been a shocking 71 in those
We expected Kulasekara to shine in England where the pitches and the
conditions suited his style of bowling. But his ‘75 miles per hour’
balls were no match for the English batsmen as he took just one wicket
in the 5 matches played which gave him a ‘Bradmansque bowling average of
197’ and an astonishing ‘Pollard like strike rate of 221’.
Kulasekara’s inclusion in T20s is a matter of concern. He isn’t in
great form at all with the ball and in his last T20 game in the Inter
Provincial T20 league Kulasekara leaked 47 runs of 4 overs against
Ruhuna playing for Combined Provinces.
The astonishing fact is that his last over went for a massive 24 runs
and more importantly it was the tail enders for Ruhuna No 10 Chinthaka
Perera and No 11 Chanaka Welegedara who hammered Kulasekara. Kulasekara
if he is in the playing 11, needs to step up big time and has to use
Yorkers and changes of pace in the T20s to keep the run flow down.
Chamara Silva - a bizarre selection for T20
Chamara Silva has been an enigma in international cricket. A talented
player who likes to play shots has been disappointing and been seriously
out form from last year. He had a terrible World Cup in 2011 and his
main problem is that he gets bogged down under pressure and struggles to
place the ball to the gaps.
This was witnessed clearly in the game against Pakistan where Silva
played a strange innings and his constant blocking helped increase the
required run rate rapidly and Sri Lanka lost the game. He had a dreadful
semi final against New Zealand which he clawed to a painstaking 13 of 25
balls almost cost Sri Lanka the match and he was dropped from the World
Cup Final as well.
Silva is out form, short of confidence and he isn’t an ideal T20
player. The selectors would have to answer why Silva was considered over
attacking players like Angelo Perera, Dilshan Munaweera and Sachith
Pathirana who have been knocking on the doors for quite sometime. Silva
is 31 and isn’t getting any younger and has a poor international T20
He has played 15 games and has scored only 171 runs with a highest
score of just 38. His strike rate is an alarming 101 which is way below
par in international level. Silva was very poor in the recent Provincial
League scoring just 64 runs in four games with a strike rate of 110.
Dilruwan Perera - the surprise inclusion
The biggest surprise in the squad is Off spinner Dilruwan Perera who
makes a comeback to the national team after three long years.
His last appearance for Sri Lanka was against a super star Australian
team and then selectors opted Dilruwan to open the innings and the move
became a disaster with Dilruwan having no clue against the express pace
bowling of Brett Lee who roughed him up plus Mitchel Johnson and former
world No one ranked ODI bowler Nathan Bracken.
Dilruwan was rightfully dropped afterwards after a very poor series
with the bat managing only 14 runs in three games. Dilruwan who is 29
years now, is surprisingly back for T20 games after doing nothing
special in the domestic arena with the ball or bat.
He hasn’t been even a regular member of the A team for the past
couple of years.
Dilruwan was used as an opening bowler in some T20 provincial games
and he had some success with the ball. His best figures being 3 for 14
runs in 4 overs against Combined Provinces and baring that game he has
taken a majority of lower order wickets of his total six wickets in the
Dilruwan who played only three games and bagged six wickets was also
named the ‘Best Bowler of the Tournament’ over Randiv who took 10
wickets plus was instrumental in Ruhuna winning the T20 title.
Hopefully the selectors would not make the same mistake and make
Dilruwan bat at the top like in 2008 as he clearly lacks the technique,
the temperament or the shots to do so. He only averages 17 in batting in
List A cricket and his T20 average is at 14.
One also wonders why the experienced and explosive all rounder Janaka
Gunarathne wasn’t preferred ahead of Dilruwan if the selectors wanted a
proper off spinning all rounder.
Janaka who was last year’s best bowler of the Provincial T20 league
shone this time around as well with 137 runs in six games for Ruhuna and
also bagged six wickets. Janaka was one of the major match winners for
Ruhuna and his whirlwind 83 of 42 balls in the final helped Ruhuna to
put up a huge score. Janaka is 30 years of age and hopefully he can
shine in the Champions League T20 and prove the selectors wrong.