Mathews why block Comfort Zone to halt SL runs, denying right spot for right guy in Productive Zone?

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Listen to the recent interview BBC had with Mathews. What does he mean by not letting a batter to bat in his "Comfort Zone"? Is it a deliberate move (apart from minimal exposure) to negate further the productivity of a well credentialed in form Opener like Tharanga in both formats?? This is happening, despite Mathew's regular choices like DK / KS Worst Openers in Tests & KJP in Odis hitting the World's WORST Openers Records after enjoying 65+ consecutive chances over past 3 yrs under the "COMFORT" of Mathew's leadership. Otherwise, what is the logic behind blocking the best available resource for the right job to get the maximum yield for SL? What does he achieve by not allowing such Opener to bat at his Most PRODUCTIVE ZONE, despite suffering severe upfront problem with constant failures he preferred at the top in both formats since 2014? If a player is in the team as a Specialist Batter, he should bat among Top FIVE. So what is the logic behind sending team's most runs (5k+) & Tons (14 x 100) made Opener at No7 or below? How come Mathews conveniently ignored SL's 3rd best productive opener for the job?

He tries to brush-off his consecutive failures in 20+ series, across all formats during past 3 years, quoting the solitary 3-0 success in home series vs Aus. But in reality, it was a series played on home turf tailor made for our spinners, especially Herath who harvested record making 28 wkts for 357 runs @ 12.75. The whitewash was purely due to spin king's exceptional bowling effort that exploited the spin phobic Aussie new kids & the individual efforts of youngsters Mendis & Dhananjaya, who pulled victories from the jaws of defeat with their remarkable innings (reversing usual upfront collapses induced in every vital inning by long-term regular failures DK /KS combo, preferred by Mathews). I am still trying to figure out if there was anything at all Mathews did significantly well in the middle to win that series as skipper? As the regular skipper, he certainly has the final say in picking his batting order & playing XI, apart from squad selection. Overlooking assertive players like Asela (all rounder similar to himself who did well in previous Zmb test series) & Dickwella (productive opener), preferring DK/KS/KJP yet again in top order to perish, pushing Tharanga to lower order again & limiting his chances to 2 tests, despite making an unbeaten 110* & 79 in previous series (similar to overlooking him for humiliatingly doomed NZ series, just after making 92 & 45 in the decider to win the test series Vs Pk in Aug 2014).     
 
He never had any legitimate answers to the questions regarding total isolation of senior players from the team since he became the skipper. Regarding Tharanga's repeated overlooks without consecutive matches to settle in both formats & ultimately restricting his scoring chances by sending him at lower-order as No7,8,9 even in the rare occasional chances given to him were   mostly solitary chances. He was never allowed to open in 2 consecutive tests in a series since 2014 (since 2013 axing UT was allowed just a solitary 3-match consecutive-stint as opener up to 2017 SA series & in Tests UT was given just 10 scattered tests),. Opener UT was brought back to tests after 7y in 2014. Since 2014 June recall, he had scored 818 runs @ 41 Av from 11 Tests played  to date & apart from 115 v BD & 110*,79 v Zm, he had scored 2 near tons & 50s as Opener Vs SA (83) & Pk (92, 45,46,48) and a series defining effort vs Pk in 2014 the decider were included in that impressive yield. He was later pushed to No7 in his last 5 tests & shattered his progress further by axing 5 times within 10 tests scattered over 3y. Can you compare this progress with any of those sixty plus opportunities wasted regular failures like Thirimanne, Dimuth, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Perera? 
 
Since Jul 2013 match winning career best unbeaten 174* in Kingston to his superb 119  @ 132 sr in 2017 Feb in SA, Tharanga had scored 543 runs @ 36 Av- 82 sr from the 16 random innings played as Opener (mostly solitary) occasional ODIs spread over past 3.5 years. UT's Opening career was virtually paused until 2017 SA series - 4 Odi matches. Only once he had opened in 2 consecutive Odis in a series since Aug 2013 axing at the age of 28 yrs. How many Hundreds have we seen from any ODI opener against a formidable opponent (other than Dilshan), occupied the spot close to 100 odis played by SL during past 3.5 years, since UT's 174* made just before his axing in mid 2013?

Although talks like a saint, Mathews is completely responsible for it. He had no real answer to justify his wrongdoing. Clearly, it is NOT a matter of denying any batter his "Comfort Zone" due to better performers found in that spot (sounding like denying a favor due to much more productive options available), as Mathews says...! But in reality it is a clear cut case of selective harassment to the career of a well proven SPECIALIZED opener, denying his due spot over three years, despite experiencing long term repeated failures with preferred guys, regularly occupied the Opening spots to sink SL side (with the courtesy of Mathews). This is one of the biggest problems seen with Mathew's leadership. Mathews had wasted a valuable resource, apparently due to his personal phobia (& he always preferred failures like DK 31 Av/ KS 29 Av/ LT 25 Av in Tests & KJP 26 Av in odis  & DK /Thisara Perera even in 2015 WC, due to his close affinities). His priorities are questionable as a player leading the national side.

Even knowledgeable international commentators such as Kepler (SA), Nazer Hussein (Eng), M Holding (WI), Symcox (Zmb) etc had recently questioned about the logic behind wasting such an experienced opener like Upul Tharanga restricted to the the tail, while entire top-order failed.This disparity cost SL numerous series upfront including 2015 WC due to repeated failures at the top (preferring DK 32 Av & KS 30 Av/ DK 15 Av, KJP 26 Av in odis,  28 of KJP's innings ended in single digits), .

Despite his immaculate batting form, always Treating him equal to a rookie in the fringe fighting to find a spot in the squad, Mathews seems to have conveniently forgotten that Upul Tharanga (more experienced senior player than even Mathews) already has a proven track record backed with hard earned credentials & wide experience as Opener maintained over 8 years in 160 odis, scoring 5184 runs @ 34 Av with 14 x 100+ & 25 x 50+ scored against each test playing nation in every condition prevailing world-over. He had dealt with best in the trade of seam bowling in their own dens. His latest being the unblemished stroke play filled 100 (73 balls) extended to 119 @ 132 SR with 11 x4 -7 x 6 all around the stadium, against mighty SA pace,swing,bounce & spin in their own den to shut off the big mouths of humbug critics who count the nicks instead of runs made by him. They selectively pick slightest occasional nick/edge of him to to blow up as a big flaw, ignoring the fact, that is common to any opener who always deals with the new cherry to make quick big runs with array of immaculate shots, mainly in the off (once Sanga had said in a speech, when asked Brian Lara about his frequent mode of dismissals in the slip cordon, he had defined it as the usual way the left-handed Openers mostly get out). Anyhow, Tharanga seems to be extremely cautious about it now, as seen from his recent chance less spectacular tons made Vs SA & BD. In SA whole series(Odi /Tests/T20) he never got out edging the ball. In Aus T20 he had nicked the ball behind just once to a superb delivery from Cummins ! 

In reality, unfortunately SL couldn't hardly find any Opener (Kjp  26 Av/ Dhanushka 26 Av / Dimuth 15 Av etc) who could achieve even 30 average maintained in 10+ innings after tried out in nearly 100 odis, denying opportunity to Upul Tharanga during past 3.5 years. 

Openers UT/ND were able to put up 3 CONSECUTIVE 1st wkt stands worth 45 or more (45, 60 & 139 ) in Odis.This was the best consecutive starts seen since World's ninth most productive UT/Dilly opening combo was disrupted by axing UT at 28 yrs in mid 2013, robbing 3+ yrs of his prime career without allowing hardly any exposure at the top, under Mathew's.
 
 
Even in Tests, regular Openers were responsible for tilting consecutive tests upfront vs Strong opponents in all conditions during past 3 yrs. Dimuth (68 ings/ 33 Av/ 4x tons/ 17 ins per ton) & K Silva (64 ings / 30 Av/ 3 x tons/ 21 ins per ton). This is world's Worst (Lowest averages, Least number of 100+ scores & Worst ings per ton ratios) record among all openers who played 20+ tests since 2012. Both had wasted unbelievable number of chances given to them exceeding 65 consecutive test ings over 5y, despite showing no improvement. Recent low series Av - Dk V Sa 19, Au 6, En 25, In 11 / Ks Av V Sa 26, Au 22, Wi 16, Ind 14.

Worst ranking test openers DK/KS were given a ridiculous amount of chances (as KJP in ODis) exceeding 65 consecutive innings over 3 years. These players are not "Young" or "New" as Mathews trying to justify his appalling preferences, projecting 10-15 year plans forgetting SL is already in a pathetic abyss under his 4 year leadership with no hope even for next 5 years.There was no visible improvement in sight until significant improvements (unbiased team selection, right choices according to the situations in toss, bowling changes, appropriate field placements to attack & defend as needed & overall proactive positive approach) recently seen under Herath & Upul's leadership. Mathews is 30 now & the productive new guys like Asela, Milindha are same age as Tharanga 31-32. All these players have at least 5-6 years remaining  in their active careers.Therefore age cannot be a decisive factor in selections as Mathews trying to cover up his misdoings. After all Mathews had preferred Opener Kaushal Silva (31 yrs) for 30+ consecutive test chances under his leadership, despite hitting the bottom of the world rankings, still struggling with a sorry 30 Av.

Good International opener who can equally handle all conditions is a rare bread. It is a specialized job needing lot of skill as well as wide experience to evaluate conditions & adjust tempo according to the match situation.. SL had invested a lot on Tharanga since 21 years of age as opener & as a potential skipper. But Mathews already ruined three years of his prime time career without harvesting the benefit of that investment for SL. No matter how you look at it, this fact remains the same. 

 

Comments

Anonymous's picture

PLEASE MATHEWS ENJOY YOUR IPL AND GET INJURED. THEN WE HAVE A GOOD TEAM UNDER THRANGA AT NEXT CT

Anonymous's picture

AND THAT DUCK HUNTER KUSAL JANITH WHO RUINED CAREERS OF DIKKA DANUSHKA AND THARANGA

Anonymous's picture

The other thing Mathew talked greatly was not bringing any religion to the field. He IS one of the growing few who bring religion to play before each ball, wicket or 50/100 with constant crosses on the chest. If he brings the religious gestures to display can you expect the other guys not to bring it? He should take a lead to stop these. Now we have a batter who does crosses for each stroke he plays. Are these not bringing the religion to the field. We do not mind any religious ritual before embarking on to the field but on it, the eleven should show no difference. Over to the SLC.

Annoymous's picture

As expected tharanga gang have started again fearing Angelo expected return and Tharangas demise. I can't understand why these guys.. or maybe just one guy writing posts supporting one person. It's so disgusting. If you think he is guy tharanga is so good let his batting do the talking. It's pointless putting up posts promoting just for one player. Andrew I have seen your articles in other cricket sites. Obviously you're either have connection to Tharanga or been paid to do this by the man himself. I know tharanga couldn't write like this because you're very good at this. It's very sad you take every opportunity to write positive articles about tharanga. I wish you could do that for so many other players who are talented but being ignored by the selectors.

Andrew Silva's picture
Member since:
15 February 2015
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1 week 1 day

Annoymous (not verified) on March 7, 2017 - 05:56. #4:

So you know exactly what Mathews is up to?

There is an obvious reason for highlighting Mathew's apparent abuse obvious to any fair mind, that you conveniently try to ignore. Can you name a single international player with over 7000 international runs & so many hundreds/fifty plus scores was ever overlooked/axed like UT suffered under Mathews in cricket history? One example, can you name a single occasion where a previous series winning highest batting contributor was axed for the next series and kept without matches for longer than one year Until 2015 July solitary test, where he scored another couple of near fifties averaging 47 to be axed again, preferring utter failures? (2014 Test series Vs Pk where UT scored match winning fighting knocks 92/45 in decider, while none of the batters like Sanga/MJ/Mathews all failed to score even a 50 in vital 1st inning to put up a substantial score against formidable Pk side).

Cricket is a sport & extremely cruel unsporting power abuse shouldn't be tolerated. The nail should be hammered where it matters. This is not supporting anyone, as you misinterpret, but surfacing the dirty doings going on in the teams selected under Mathews. Why should we put a blind eye to such wrong doings? If you can deny a single thing stated in this article as wrong, why don't you come up with opposing facts & stats to counter them?

You may be a supporter of Mathews. But you cannot hide his total failure in skills & pathetic mindset as a skipper, abusing his power. His selfish attitudes & selective treatment to different players are too obvious factors to the general public now,. These shamefully poor qualities immensely impacted the team negatively under his leadership.

So are you asking to push it all under the carpet and stay silent putting a blind eye to all these dirty happenings? Is it the duty of a ardent fan of SL cricket?

If there is another player who suffered as much as UT did over 3 years, I'll certainly highlight that as well. In-fact, I did that 17 years ago, writing about mistreatment rendered to Upul Chandana around 2000/05, during the inception days of Cricinfo site & also writing to Daily News sports column from abroad.!

(Last edited by Andrew Silva on March 8, 2017 - 11:47)
Andrew Silva's picture
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15 February 2015
Last activity:
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Usually the players who get so much mistreatment in SL, partly because they are helpless humble guys from rural origin, without any media support to highlight their achievements or question any wrongdoings against them. They don't have any sponsored social media propaganda networks, as seen with most hyped, well-connected influential city schooled guys, living in hype bubbles.

Those are the players who need a fair assessment of unfair things abruptly happening to halt their blossoming careers.Tharanga's odi opening career was unjustly halted at his prime age of 28 years, robbing 3.5 years of most productive phase in his career, due to a brief lean period. This happened despite topping 5k+ runs as 2nd quickest in SL & winning his 12th MoM award/creating a world record for 7th double hundred stand, with career best unbeaten 174* in Kingston, WI... just 3 weeks before long-axing in July 2013. For what? to give KJP a ridiculous 65 consecutive-chance stint over 3 years to become world's worst odi opener since Mathews became skipper. Did any local media/ authorities question/criticize about this appalling disparity? Onother example; In his 4th Odi allowed since 2014 as Opener, UT scored one of the best tons ever seen by an Odi Opener in SA (119 from 90 b), but hardly noticed by local media. But if it was from a hyped favorite, the response would have been enormous. This is the usual trend in SL. Even after so much failures, they still question about KJP's omission from the squad.

With such city based mentality prevailing country, no wonder why you question about my integrity, looking at the matter through selectively biased blinkers. All I suggest is give this guy his due spot with a decent window of consecutive opportunities, at least a tiny fraction of consecutive chances others enjoyed and decide his current worthiness in longer versions purely on OVERALL productivity in all conditions.

N.M.M's picture
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These conversations r unhealthy... It leads to people to "take sides" with respect to players and when u take sides, then u start hating players, which is very wrong... Each and every player tries hard to perform well for their country and proper respect should be given to them..
Always its tharanga lovers vs tharanga haters, kjp lovers vs kjp haters, thiri, chandi , kapu, thisara, dimuth, kaushal and the list goes on... Cmon guys, take a break!! Yes we all can't be satisfied with the teams but that doesn't mean we can be downright disrespectful.. Sri Lnakans shouldn't behave like Indians!! We have always treated our players well and should do so in the future, regardless of whether we like them or not..

N.M.M's picture
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8 May 2016
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I personally believe that the u should pick the best 11 that can win u a match and they should be in good form that particular moment.. Anything else doesn't matter.. To be very frank, i was amongst the ones who liked thirimanne and thisara very much at the beginning and thought that they would go far.. Was a huge fan (and still am) of Kjp.. But that shouldn't make me stubbornly hold on to them and hate everyone else.. I think slc did a big mistake by not giving inform players opportunities and sticking with those misfiring players.. Same with tharanga.. He was never the most consistent and constantly rewarded slip fielders in the first 3 overs.. But he is very much talented, no one can deny that, and was shaping up nicely, making all his experience count by making big scores.. Then they dropped him in the wrong time.. Just like they dropped maharoof (who was probably the best fielders and allrounder in the team) even after getting a hat trick and being in good form.. That has happened.. many players were treated unfairly, and it will happen in the future as well.. We got to live with that and not curse the players who replace them.. There's no point in bringing back maharoof now, to make it right cuz now its gone, there are better players waiting..should not let personal feelings get in the way.. Tbh , i was never a big fan of dilshan, malinga or chandimal at the beginning.. But they performed, and achieved big things(the 1st two i mean) , so my like or dislike of them doesn't even matter one bit.. Merit based selections, that's what we need..

(Last edited by N.M.M on March 11, 2017 - 06:22)
Anonymous's picture

100% agreed with Andrew. UT has been unfairly treated during last 3.5 years. Some people ignore it and turn a blind eye. some city boys will continue to do this as their school boys are the ones who get biased treatments. it is very unfortunate. I hope that UT will get a fair chance in future when Mathews is fit and comes as the regular captain.

it is high time that we should remove Mathews from captaincy and have split captaincy. Herath for Test, UT for onedays and Malinga for T20.

Anonymous's picture

@N.M.M:

As you say there are quite a few other players like Maroof (eg; Athula Samarasekera) suffered the selection disparities down the road in history, while failures like Mubarak got zillion chances. None of them had well established international career records long enough to justify their cases at the point of chopping.

But Upul Tharangsa's case is completely different, because he was unjustly pushed to the fringe due to a brief lean patch cutting 3 yrs of his prime career, AFTER establishing him self well over 8 yrs with incomparable batting record as opener with hard earned 5k+ runs @ 34 Av with 40 x50+ scores including 14 tons & also after achieving some world records & WC records at global stage (he is still ranked as 3rd best opener in SL odis). UT was totally eliminated from exposure, virtually over 3 years, preferring to continue with repeated failures creating a massive persisting problem at top spots (frequent gate openings to trigger collapses / lack of big contributions with 100+ scores, unable play long innings to build any stands etc). All this negatively impacted SL since specialized openers are hard to find.

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