Selectors lauded and Ajantha Mendis applauded
We were inundated with telephone calls from cricketers and cricket
enthusiasts congratulating us on the column last week titled ‘SELECTORS
IN COURAGEOUS ACT TO MAKE WAY FOR YOUNGSTERS’ and lauding and applauding
the selectors and also Ajantha Mendis.
We pass on the credit to the selectors Duleep Mendis Chairman,
Brendon Kuruppu, Ranjit Madurusinghe, Don Anurasiri and Chaminda Mendis.
They have all been outstanding cricketers during their time, been in the
thick of cricket’s ups and downs, and, having batted as selectors
before, know their job and what is expected of them.
The callers also wanted the selectors to continue to act and make
their changes for the betterment of the game and not succumb to any
pressures from wherever they may come from. The callers reckon that at
the moment Sri Lanka cricket is on the skids and unless bold and
sometimes unpopular action is taken the game will to use a colloquial
term- go down the pallam!
Winners are heroes
As we have often said, winners are heroes, losers outcasts. If the
present trend of doing badly and losing in all forms of the game
continues, everyone will lose confidence and more importantly sponsors
will shun our game. That could cause a financial calamity.
So it is paramount for the selectors to think and act strategically
with the medium and long term in mind so that Sri Lanka cricket will be
put on path of sustainable success and regain its lost glory.
Not so long ago we were the envy of other teams. But for reasons that
need to be examined in more depth, the game took a dive and that is how
it still stands. What we now need is a spirit of revival and for this we
need an intra-venous injection, as it were, of new talent with a spring
in their step.
Sri Lanka is not short of young talent. The talent is available and
it is up to the selectors to harness this talent, and give the
youngsters the break that they are yearning for. If a batsman is in the
runs and a bowler is among the wickets, it is vital that they be
prepared and injected into the big league.
It must be understood that form is not permanent. When a player is in
form he must be played. Who knows his form might desert him in the next
season. Then the selectors could be accused of negligence of duty. That
could be sad.
We hope that Duleep Mendis and his team of capable and respected
selectors will do their best and leave a legacy behind of people who
acted strategically,fearlessly and with the singular aim of creating a
sustainable path of success.
That should be the bottom line for them. The selectors have come in
for praise for deciding to glove Dinesh Chandimal behind the wickets in
the one-day internationals in the upcoming series against Pakistan in
the desert. Chandimal is set to play a big hand in the improvement of
the game. Naturally he must be given all the encouragement and
confidence needed to perform.
The selectors at the moment are on a sticky wicket, with the team not
really gelling together as a real TEAM. It is the duty of the selectors
to see that they front up eleven men who will play in a coordinated and
If there is or are men or mice creating splits in the team, then the
selectors must fumigate them out. The cricket loving public will be
Ajantha Mendis tops
Mystery off spinner Ajantha Mendis who went down with a mystery back
problem before the Second Test against Australia in Pallekelle recently
has brought honour to himself, the game and the country. He has been
chosen as the best among the top five bowlers in the inaugural ICC world
twenty20 rankings announced. This is a terrific honour.
Mendis has been chosen ahead of Greame Swann, (England), Saeed Ajmal,
(Pakistan), Nathan McCallum, (New Zealand) and Johan Botha, (South
Africa). Mendis had obtained 748 points ahead of Swann with 727 points,
Ajmal 721, McCallum 711 and Botha 703 points.
A spinner with a wide variety of deliveries, Mendis first broke into
big time when he bemused and belittled the Indians in a Test series
here, He rewrote the record books and looked set to play for the country
for a long time to come. In every series after the grand one against
India, he continued his great run.
But his opponents unable to read his many variety of deliveries,
began studying his action and deliveries on video and began to counter
him, although not fully.
With his success he began to spawn the green eyeds who were straining
every nerve and sinew to see him sidelined.
He was left out of the Test team with flimsy excuses being made like
he can’t use the rough because he bowls wicket to wicket etc. That was
used to keep him out. What were the bowling coaches Champika Ramanayake
and Mario Villayarayen doing, if he was unable to use the rough? That
would then be a pertinent question.
It is the duty of the coaches to show him how to use the rough.
But we think that this was a flimsy excuse made to keep him out and
toss in some other favourites or a favourite. At the moment Mendis is
out of the radar and it would be interesting to watch when he will make
his appearance again.
One hopes that he would not be lost to the game like that leg
spinning, googly bowler Malinga Bandara. Watching the wicket in Dubai
taking spin in the Second Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, what a
difference Bandara would have made had he been bowling on that spinners
The media men from Australia who were here covering the series
between Australia and Sri Lanka were always questioning the leaving out
of Mendis, especially after he ran through the Aussie batting in a
Twenty20 game to set up a new record by bagging six wickets and leading
Sri Lanka to victory.
Here’s wishing Mendis a quick recovery if he is suffering from a back
injury. Sri Lanka cricket needs him real quick.