Lame excuses for dropping Suraj Randiv
Suraj Randiv who is one of the most prolific bowlers in the ODI arena
can consider himself very unlucky not to be in the final 15 squad for
the World Cup which is undoubtedly the most decorated and prestigious
cup in the cricketing calendar year. Most of the media have been
ignorant about the omission of Randiv.
The selectors headed by batting legend Aravinda De Silva were of the
view that Randiv was excluded to have variety in the spin bowling
Fernando who is a part of the selection committee gave the lame
excuse that Suraj Randiv's economy rate is more than five runs per over
in the Domestic Premier league where Aravinda earlier said that Domestic
performance would not be given a lot of importance. If domestic
performance was given consideration the first to get in to the squad
would be Chaminda Vaas with the bagful of wickets and his aggressive
batting. Randiv's stats,figures and performances speak for himself as
analyzed below and it would be a bitter pill to swallow for the
selectors to drop the consistent Randiv for the jaded Ajantha Mendis and
the less experienced Rangana Herath.
Stand out spinner in ODIs for 2010
Suraj Randiv has been the spearhead of the spin attack specially in
the One Day Internationals where Muthiah Muralitharan was rested for a
few tournaments and played only five games for the entire year. One must
note that Suraj is an orthodox off spinner in the classical mould with a
nice high arm action and with his height he gets a lot of bounce and has
a lovely loop and his revelations in the air and off the track makes it
difficult for the batsmen to pick him.
Suraj up to date has played 21 matches and has taken 23 wickets at a
miserly Econ rate of 4.65 per over and also has a great strike rate of
43 and these stats are even of superior value as 13 of his matches were
against the Kings of Spin - India and most of them on flat tracks where
there is nothing at all for the bowlers.
Superb against India
He has done very well against India's batting juggernaut by claiming
12 wickets with a superb economy rate of just 4.57 while Ajantha Mendis
who finds himself in the World Cup 15 has been hammered by the likes of
Gambhir,Sehwag,Raina,Yuvraj and Dhoni. Mendis who started off with a
bang against India has been easily dealt by the Indians and the record
speaks to itself as Mendis who has played 6 ODIs against India in the
season 09/10 has given away 334 runs with a high average of 83 and a
poor 6.14 as his Econ rate per over. Mendis has taken just 4 wickets
against the batsmen whom he tormented in 2008 and his strike rate
accounts to an outrageous 81. Rangana Herath the left arm spinner
meanwhile hasn't played much ODI cricket at all as he has played only 4
games in the year 2010.
Randiv is clearly the in form spinner at the moment and it is ironic
that the selectors have to leave out the best spinner in ODIs citing
reasons such as to facilitate variety in the squad and economy rate
which are just excuses of dropping the consistent performer.
Isn't present form the single most important factor when considering
for selection over other minor factors such as variety? Of course
variety gives a lot of balance for the team but there isn't any
advantage of having a bucket load of out of form different unorthodox
bowlers over a solid,consistent and prolific bowler like Suraj Randiv.
Selectors are of the view that since Muthiah Muralitharan is an off
spinner,another off spinner cannot make the squad as there is Ajantha
Mendis as well who bowls off spin and leg spin.
Out of form Mendis for Randiv?
Murali is our number one spinner and our most experienced player but
the question to ponder here is how Ajantha Mendis who hasn't been in the
best of form finds an automatic place in the squad over Randiv. Mendis
was a batsman's enigma when he came to the scene and the mystery bowler
troubled the best of players with his pinpoint accuracy and his dozens
of variations. Mendis had a superstar debut and he bamboozled the
batsmen in the early stages of his career but with the help of Video
footage and by reading him off the hand batsmen, specially the Indians
play him with ease now.
Mendis' extremely high economy rate of 6.14 against the Indians since
the year 2009 speaks of high volume that he is being belted by the
Indian batsmen and an amazing factor is that Mendis' main weapon which
was accuracy is no longer there to be seen. He has been on the short
side or on the fuller side for most of the occasions and he hasn't been
using his variations to great effect and he was even dropped from the
ODI side for a while. A fine example of the feats of these two spinners
shows in the T 20 International against Australia in the T 20 World cup
where Mendis was hammered for 42 runs in 4 overs without a single wicket
while Randiv took 3 for 20 in the same match.
Even the lesser known players of spin,the Kiwis,the South Africans
and the Windies played Mendis without much difficulty in the year 2010.
The Kiwis who struggle against good spin bowling has played Mendis in 4
matches and have scored 105 runs and Mendis has only bagged 1 wicket.
True that Mendis spun a web around the batsmen in the Premier league
this yea as well but he plays in the Tier B and most of the batsmen who
face him for the first time find it difficult to read him.Randiv on the
other hand didn't have a blockbuster beginning for his International
career but since he is a classical off spinner, he dosn't possess the
variations of Mendis but he has been very accurate in ODI and T 20 level
and has acted as the strike bowler for the Captain Sangakkara whenever a
breakthrough is needed.
Aravinda has kept on record saying that a player should at least have
50 matches under his belt as experience to play in the big stage. Suraj
Randiv was given opportunities right throughout the past 18 months and
he played almost every one day game and it appeared that he was moulded
to become Sri Lanka's No 1 spinner after Murali in ODIs. The selectors
have been hypocritical once again as Rangana Herath who is the least
experienced of the spinners playing just 9 games and 4 games in the year
2010 has been drafted into the squad. The question here is if Rangana
Herath was going to play in the World Cup why wasn't he played in more
Herath for right handers?
Another prime example of this illogical and untimely decision is when
Rangana Herath was parachuted in to the ODI team after 6 years for the
Asia Cup citing the reason that since Herath is a left arm spinner he
will be difficult to handle by the right handers,specially Pakistanis.
But the fact is that Rangana Herath never played against the
Pakistanis and he surprisingly played against the team which had the
most amount of left handers in India. So it wouldn't be a shock if
Rangana Herath plays only the game against Pakistan as the controversy
filled team seems to be a major concern for the selectors. It is true
that the Pakistan test team struggled against the turn and variation of
Herath but the present team has a lot of new faces and is right after a
successful battle with the world's best left arm spinner Daniel Vettori.
Rangana is a good bowler against right handers but he struggles a bit
when it comes to left handers as he turns the ball in the lefties find
it easy to nudge it to the gaps and pinch the singles. So why such
specific theories of using him against the right handers where teams
have the creme a la creme of left handers in the top including the likes
of Hussey, Smith, Yuvraj, Raina to bowl against?
Besides Rangana Herath wasn't successful in the recently concluded
Premier League and only bagged two wickets in 5 matches with a
staggering strike rate of 122.5. On the other hand Randiv played only 4
matches claimed 6 wickets and with a superb strike rate of 32. It is
clearly evident that the selectors went for the containment of Rangana
Herath rather than for the aggressive genuine wicket taker Randiv for
reasons best known to themselves.
According to stats,figures,analysis and performance on field Randiv
is ahead of Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath as a more wicket taking
and economical bowler. He is also a brilliant fielder and one of the
bests in the current Sri Lankan line up and is a livewire in the Cover
region. He is no mug with the bat and can play defensively when needed
and also chips in with a few handy runs low down the order. With the
exclusion of Randiv not only we miss our most in form and consistent
spinner but we also would have a long tail in the batting order.