Sanath can play a vital role -Asantha
Chairman National Selection Committee Ashantha de Mel believes that
veteran Sanath Jayasuriya could still play a vital role in the Sri
Lankan team after he was stripped from the regular opening spot for the
forthcoming series in India.
Sri Lanka will play five one day internationals and a couple of
Twenty20 games after the conclusion of the three match Test series which
begins on November 16 in Ahemedabad.
De Mel a former Sri Lanka opening bowler stated that Jayasuriya will
bat in the middle order in the one day series which begins on December
15 in Rajkot with Tillekeratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga as the regular
The Selection Committee Chairman noted that this is only an
experiment with the 2011 World Cup in mind and Jayasuriya could return
back to his normal position depending on his present form.
De Mel stressed the importance of Jayasuriya’s batting as he has
always performed well in the flat sub continent wickets. The dashing
left hander in fact is the most successful batsman among the present
line up having accumulated a total of 511 runs in 22 outings in India
with a strike rate of exactly one hundred runs.
De Mel said that Jayasuriya will be utilized as a spin option as they
intend in facing the Indians with six batsmen and five specialized
bowlers. De Mel observed that it is always good to have an extra bowler
in the side to balance the team because there will be one person who
will have an off day on the field occasionally.
He highlighted Wednesday’s second one day international in particular
where Australia despite fielding five specialized bowlers conceded over
350 runs against India.
Even then De Mel lamented that Jayasuriya’s performance in the recent
ICC Champions Trophy tournament in South Africa was below par although
he showed promise in the home Tri Series that also involved New Zealand.
Jayasuriya a veteran of 441 one day internationals scored his last
century against India at Dambulla in January 2009 and fell two runs
short of repeating that effort at the R. Premadasa Stadium in September
De Mel further noted that earlier Jayasuriya had the potential of
winning a match for his team with his explosive batting at least once in
every three outings having burst into the international scene against
Australia in the 1989 series.
In fact Jayasuriya started his career as a solid middle order batsman
and a genuine spinner who was able to pick up vital wickets and brake
dangerous partnerships. He was promoted to open the batting during the
tour of India in 1993 and went on to add a new dimension into the game
during the 1996 World Cup in the sub continent.
De Mel also stated that they decided to include two new players to
the Twenty20 squad big hitting Chinthaka Jayasinghe and Kaushalya
Weeraratne who have being highly successful in the domestic scene in the
He observed that the main reason for their entry is to strengthen the
low batting order of the team in addition to their bowling skills. He
highlighted the performances of Harbajan Singh and Praveen Kumar who
were able to bring their team closer towards their target with their
determined batting effort against Australia in the first one day
De Mel said that Sri Lanka’s ability to hit sixes during the last few
overs of the game have declined to a great extent in the recent past and
hope that the new players like Jayasinghe, Weeraratne and Pushpakumara
will be able to transform the Twenty20 side into a formidable