A series that could have been won was inexplicably lost
We hope the one-day series loss to India will galvanize our
cricketing think tanks at Sri Lanka Cricket to come awake,assess where
our cricket stands and act fast, lest the game deteriorates further.We
would like to initially state and ask the think tanks to remember that
excuses however good are unacceptable once in the big league. In saying
this we are certainly not trying to belittle the work they are doing or
cast aspersions on them. Rather, the cruel reality is that in this type
of competitive cricket, no compromises are entertained.
We, who have played the game, always have it at heart, and when we
praise or criticize it, it because of the love we have for it and would
like to always see Sri Lanka doing well and being at the top at all
times.Our first barb at the management is that they do not seem to have
the ideal replacements when important players are sidelined due to
injury. When Nuwan Kulesekera and Kumar Sangakkara were benched with
injuries, we sadly lacked suitable replacements.
This is the first time we missed two of our ‘indispensibles’ and we
were caught napping. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene did not have the
replacements to fall back on and sadly the replacements were nowhere
near the injured.So the management will do well to poach around and look
for players who can and be ideal replacements and be slotted in when
indispensible players are sick or injured.
Kulasekera has always been a great trier at all times with his
energetic work as a bowler and more than useful batsman when required.He
is also a safe field. Jayawardene has a lot of confidence in Kulasekera
and sadly missed his loyal services.Sangakkara’s absence was greatly
felt. He had a tremendous run with the bat against the Pakistanis and
then against the Indians in this series. He suffered the injury when his
steadying influence was most needed and it left a big void.
Back to the one-day series against India which was slated mainly to
fill the depleted coffers of Sri Lanka Cricket and when the Sri Lankan
cricketers, after a wonderful performance against the Pakistanis, were
expected to give continuity to that success. Surprisingly they
capitulated against the Indians.With a World Cup Twenty20 looming, Sri
Lanka Cricket would have been better appreciated had they asked the
Indians for a Twenty20 series, instead of a 50 over series. Had a
Twenty20 series been played it would have helped the two teams to fine
tune their game and the cricketers for the series. It did not make sense
playing a 50-over series.When the series was tied at one-all after the
two games in Hambantota, the stage was set for a nail biting three
remaining games.When Sri Lanka made 285 in the first game at the
R.Premadasa Stadium,a victory looked a foregone conclusion.
Then in the second game at the same venue, Sri Lanka again ran up a
competitive score of 251 and looked set to press for a victory and stay
alive in the series.But what happened? Sadly they allowed the Indians to
dictate and win both games. It was the lack of bowlers who could have
stalled the powerful Indian batting that made Sri Lanka surrender to the
opponents leaving the final game at Palekelle a no show. But to the
credit of the Indians it must be said that they lived up to their tag as
World Champions by playing and proudly living up to that status and
romping home convincingly in both games.Enough has been said about the
heroics of their batsmen – Gambhir the ‘silent executioner’, Virat Kholi,
Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and there is no need to reiterate.
Rohit Sharma in a run drought did not matter. But just to tag Kholi ‘Mr.Consistent’.
The Indian bowling is the only Achilles heel in their otherwise tight
and elegant outfit,that could front up to the best of teams in the game
today and could help them regain lost glory.But the lack of sting in the
Indian bowling was compensated for by their brilliant front line batsmen
who scored consistently and brought victory to the team.As for the
Lankans they will do well to get back to the drawing boards and get
their batting, bowling and fielding right before the Twenty20 World Cup.
The next bash for the Lankans is the Sri Lanka Premier League.A little
bit of caution to our batsmen attempting to play the ‘Scoop’ Stroke made
famous by Tillkeratne Dilshan. This stroke which is better tagged a
blind stroke is played closing one’s eyes and getting the head out of
This stroke should be attempted only against fast bowlers. It should
not be attempted against a slow bowler especially against an off spinner
who is flighting the ball.
This is because a slow off spinner will be bowling placing short fine
leg. A scoop off a slow bowler will only lob the ball,unlike to a fast
bowler where the ball will speed a long way back.Mahela Jayawardene in a
moment of injudiciousness tried the scoop, did not get the intended
connection and in this instance the ball lollied to wicket keeper Dhoni,
while the short fine leg was also waiting to gobble the catch.What was a
cause for worry and a sad sight was the sudden drop in the fielding
which was once the best in the world. All brilliant fielding sides have
a sudden dip and we hope it was only a minor hiccup.