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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

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Cricket selectors will be watched

The cricket selection committee headed by former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya played the right stroke when they spoke to the men who matter in the game, in an endevour to pick the right teams.

The meeting of officials and coaches as Jayasuriya said was to get their input on all aspects of players so that they could finally pick the best who are fit and not leave room for allegations of favoritism when picking teams. Now never have meetings of this nature been held. Jayasuriya the most experienced of the selectors as a player, would during his playing days noticed how haphazardly players were being picked.

Approach welcome

Now all this is very good and this approach has been welcomed in all cricketing quarters. But from now on everyone will be watching whether the selectors will pick teams strictly on merit and fitness and not some other consideration.

Over the years selectors have come in for a bit of flak, however good a job they do. There will always be the critics who will pick holes in the selections and take the selectors to task.

The selectors must realize that critics are also doing a job. As long as the criticism is constructive and for the good of the player and the game, they must accept it and if at fault must endeavour to rectify the mistakes.

Good rapport

Always being available and developing a good rapport with the media will go a long way to make their job that much more enjoyable and easy. Jayasuriya must appoint one selector to talk to the media, so as to avoid misunderstandings.

The selectors' first assignment will be to pick a captain and a squad to face Bangladesh in the forthcoming Two Test series. Angelo Mathews has already been appointed captain of the limited over games. Indications are that Mathews will be an automatic choice to don the captain’s cap in Test cricket. He has had wonderful apprenticeship under the Lion Prince of Sri Lanka cricket Mahela Jayewardene.

Great learning experience

As Mathews had stated on a few occasions, being understudy to Jayewardene has been a great learning experience and is also on record of having said that he has learnt a lot watching how cleverly and intelligently Jayewardene with his charisma has handled situations and come good. Jayewardene too has made it known that Mathews has the right credentials to lead the country and Jayewardene who has been in the cauldron twice as captain knows Mathews capabilities and his recommendation of Mathews as the next captain must be treated with respect and taken as correct.

So it will be seen that the selectors need not split hairs when they sit to pick the next national captain. They have a readymade one in the gangling all rounder who is one of the best in the game today in Mathews.

School of thought

A school of thought has it that there should be two captains. One for the established game and one for the limited over bashes. But Sri Lanka will be playing only Two Test matches this year and the selectors need not look beyond Mathews.

The team, it has been noticed has appreciated Matthews’ captaincy as the limited over games against Australia has proved, where they smashed the Aussies in the two Twenty20 games. The selectors who have all played the game at the highest levels, must not leave room for any splits in the team, especially by introducing a captain who has not been playing with the team.

Irreparable damage

A split in the team could do irreparable damage and the game that is now showing signs of being on the ascendancy,could plummet again and the team could lose its appeal and attraction and would not be a draw.

In saying this we are not trying to tell the selectors how they should bat or captain. But having played the game at the highest levels, we have knowledge as to how the minds of players work when aliens are introduced. So the selectors have a sacred duty to perform. They are all men of high integrity and it is the hope of all that they will pick a captain and team on merit and play that innings to the best of their ability.

Aussies maul Windies

The Australians who had a great escape against Sri Lanka in the 50 over five match series ‘down under’ managing to play out a drawn series, are feasting on the hapless West Indies mauling them in the five games played.

The Windies led by Darren Sammy who won the Twenty20 World Cup beating Sri Lanka, are being rolled over by the rampaging Aussies led by Michael Clarke and the 5-nil whitewash must be galling to the Windies. Windies’ main problem is the sudden dip in form of their mauler Chris Gayle. Gayle was complete flop in the Big Bash League and that wretched form is sticking to him like a plague.

Chris Gayle dropped

In the three games he failed and the selectors had no alternative but to drop him for the next two game which would have hurt his pride. But it cannot be helped. Failures, Gayle should know are outcasts.

As for the Aussies, they must be happy that their dasher Shane Watson has returned to his best batting form after coming back from injury. He missed the first two games, came back and hammered a hundred and a fifty in the next two and will be in fine fettle arriving in India. It was pleasing to watch all rounder Kieron Pollard striking a century in the fourth game.

Why he can’t make big scores more often remains a mystery. In the previous game he took three marvelous catches fielding at mid wicket.

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