Jayasuriya is my preferred opening partner - Dilshan

Tillakaratne Dilshan and wife actress Manjula Thilini were on a Sinhalese language talk show on Swaranavahini this past Sunday. It was an interesting show with several questions thrown at them both, but it was Dilshan's response when asked who he would like to open batting with, that really drew me into the interview.

Although Upul Tharanga has been Dilshan's opening partner of late, Dilshan told the presenters of the show that he preferred opening with Sanath.

When Sanath Jayasuriya made public his decision to enter politics, the Sri Lankan fans were immediately divided. Even Sanath's long time fans found it unpalatable. There were those who claimed it was a dirty trick by a selfish player to try and get back into the team. This is of course if you thought he was out of the team.

Sanath has been an important cog in Sri Lanka's Twenty20 team and the ODI team since his retirement from Test cricket. He was sent down the order during Sri Lanka's tour to India in late 2009, and due to a loss of form he was not selected for a tri-series in Bangladesh. But, that never meant Sanath was out of the picture, or that he needed to become a politician to get back into the ODI side. Don't forget he has not lost his place as opener in the Twenty20 side. Therefore, his performances in Twenty20s for Sri Lanka, and the fact that he is still a contracted player, means that he is just a knock away from selection.

TM DilshanDilshan didn't mince his words, he told the talk show hosts on Sunday morning that he felt a great degree of confidence just seeing Jayasuriya at the other end. But fans will never get it. When you are a professional athlete trying to win games, words like the "future," "youth," and "giving youngster a chance," all become non-relevant words.

(Watch the episode 'Coffee with Lahiru and Muditha' here.)

Every player wants to win and they want match winners in their team. In a player's eyes, the youth can work their way up just as hard as all the seniors did. Players themselves feel that if you are good enough you will make it, and Sanath isn't holding anyone back.

Due to his age Sanath Jayasuriya has always been the first name on the chopping block, every time we loose we think that changing the team and sending inexperienced youth into the firing line is the answer.

Sure, Jayasuriya's move to enter politics is ridiculous. But that's his call. Everyone one of us is entitled to make our own mistakes.

Those who are crying foul at Jayasuriya's entry into politics usually don't see eye to eye with the ruling party, so they continue to tarnish the legend's reputation. The misguided think that Sanath is trying to make his way back into the team.

For Sanath, this uncertainty and criticism has been part and parcel of his career.

Dilshan relishes brief stint with Northern Districts' Knights

When asked about his stint with New Zealand's Northern Districts, and how it felt to be flown into the venue by helicopter moments before a match, Dilshan said it was an outstanding experience and the treatment he received by the Knights gave him a lot of confidence and reinforced his own belief in his abilities.

Photo: Tillakaratne Dilshan playing for New Zealand's Northern Districts Knights sports a pink uniform. Northern chose a pink uniform for New Zealand's domestic T20 season in support of the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation. This image has been cleared for use on Island cricket by PHOTOSPORT. This image may not be reproduced without specific consent from PHOTOSPORT.


Anonymous's picture

How can you say Sanath didn't lose his opening slot. De Mel told he will not be considered as an opening batsman in the future. Of course MR will change that.

It is highly unprofessional from Dilshan to say he prefer Sanath. He is letting down the other openers. We all can guess his problem with Upul. ;) We all know he is Sanath's good buddy.

When do we groom players for the futre. Game doesn't belong to one individual. Rules can't change to suit one individual. It's only happening in Sri Lanka.

Tuan's picture

@Anon Shows how knowledgeable about the happening of Cricket you are, Prassanna Ranthunga himself said that things can Change in the Game and that if Sanath performs these is no way one can say that Sanath can't open, also it was said that the easiest ways for Some Selectors to get off the hook for their bad decisions was to blame some players which included Sanath! Don't drag MR and politics into this, don't be a Jackass, keep politics and Sports separate.. that is for the betterment of both! Just cause you are Anti-Gov it does not mean that you can go bashing Sanath at Cricket (probably you must have not even player marbles at school - even though you try to sound a Cricket Pundit on the Keyboard!) but you have the right to bash him on politics if he is elected!

Also his decision to enter politics is his own, just like Fonseka did, so if it works out good on him, else its his baby to deal with!

Also Dilshan has the right to say who he prefers to bat with, it is his preference, it is not asking to compare Sanath to Upul! It is for the young to prove themselves and ousts the seniors, just like the New Quickies and All-rounder did to Vass and the rest, so don't get it confused about giving chances if there is a better spinner than Murali then Murali will be phased-out by him that is how it should work, not just giving young blood direct exposure too see if they perform. Instance exposure has ruined the careers of many a player in the International arena not only Sri Lankan but others as well.

So keep you pessimistic, one-sided, hate-driven, politically motivated opinion to yourself without passing judgement on people who have done much more for the nation than you can even dream of!

Raja's picture

He doesn't like Upul. So arrogant Dilshan. I hope you keep your spot forever.

SMSD's picture
Member since:
20 December 2008
Last activity:
7 years 13 weeks

C'mon people. Cut him some slack on this one.

Dilshan was asked a very difficult question. Any answer he gives to that one bound to be up to debate.

You are taking his answer out of context. Dilshan specifically said that given the number of years experience Sanath had as an opening batsman (and Dilshan being relatively new to that slot), it gives him so much confidence to have some one experienced at the other end.

That's an honest and objective answer. It doesn't undermine Upul Tharanga's contribution in anyway at all.

If Upul Tharanga was asked the same question (or any SL opening batsman who batted with Sanath at the other end), he would've said the same thing.

There is nothing arrogant or wrong with Dilshan's answer.

Isuru Jayawardana - Melbourne 's picture

Don't you have common sense.Don't you have brain to understand that while playing cricket if someone do politics it's really bad to cricket. Cricket loving public with common sense condemn this move by Sanath in any party.

Entire blame should go to MR and Sanath. First time in the history he is politising our beloved cricket while nation is sleeping which is sad. Doesn't he have common sense to realize that players who are still playing shouldn't drag into politics. Enough to prove MR is a bad leader.

Gangster's picture
Member since:
29 August 2009
Last activity:
2 years 45 weeks

Go for it Dili. You can marry him if u want.

Dilasha Tennakoon's picture
Member since:
13 February 2010
Last activity:
5 years 17 weeks

HEy dile have in a troblue.UPUL da SANA da?I think tharanga is the suitable man be the opener with dile.But how I forget sana.All srilankans love sana as the as love them.But dile knows upula in form.So why he said like that.NO problem dile ,I think you should attack our hert like sana.NO ,No you did it. GOOD LUCK TO 2010

sujithl143's picture
Member since:
16 April 2009
Last activity:
3 years 16 weeks

SOooon u will c sports ministr of sri lanka ( Sana ) playing for the national cricket team... ;)

Dayan's picture

Well said Dilshan. Sanath is the man still.

Gamage's picture

All the players support Sanath. Players have longer memory than fans.

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