Hilal's blog

Jayasuriya blames President Rajapaksa?

I found this article quietly hidden away (scroll down to the middle of the page) in this week's The Nation newspaper. Although it doesn't name names, it says a "senior cricketer turned politician is blaming the country’s top politicians for misleading him into believing that he would be selected for this month’s World Cup cricket tournament."

Angelo Mathews launches official website

Sri Lankan all-rounder Angelo Mathews launches his official website.

An unfitting farewell

There won't be a final hurrah at the World Cup for the men, who along with Muttiah Muralitharan, helped put Sri Lanka on the world sports map. That’s all the two champions had asked for - one last chance at the 2011 World Cup to bid farewell.

If the selectors were decisive and if Sri Lanka Cricket officials were a more capable bunch, they could have been clear, early, squashing any false hopes that Jayasuriya and Vaas may have had of playing in the World Cup. They weren’t.

Changing the face of ODI cricket

Forty years ago almost to the day, persistent showers frustrated everyone at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where a Test match between England and Australia had lost its first three days of play to bad weather. Both sides then agreed to play a shorter version of the game – eight balls per over and forty overs per side.

What resulted was the first One Day International (ODI) match ever played. January 5, 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of ODI cricket. It is now the chosen format that decides cricket’s most coveted prize: The ICC Cricket World Cup.

The Asian Games farce

Cricket made it's debut at the 2010 Asian Games in China. Although prominent Asian sides like Sri Lanka and Pakistan sent second string sides due to international commitments, and India opted to boycott the event, it still is a historic moment.

It was heartening to hear that tickets for the cricket matches were sold out. But in the opening match of the competition, the stands were empty.

Rod Marsh fancies Sri Lanka to win Cricket World Cup 2011

Rod Marsh said that he picks Sri Lanka to win the World Cup next year. Oh, as an after thought he did mention India, too.

Marsh, who kept wickets for Australia in the 70s and 80s felt that it was tough for teams like Australia, South Africa and England to win in the sub-continent.

On this week's ICC Cricket World audio show Marsh said: "I would think a team from Asia would be successful, perhaps Sri Lanka, I quite fancy them for the title and of course India."

Island Cricket needs your vote

The Sri Lanka (.LK) domain registry is conducting a competition and islandcricket.lk needs your vote.

Demons in Dambulla pitch or mass paranoia?

Since it's very first international match - an ODI between England and Sri Lanka in March 2001 - the pitch at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium has been criticised for producing low scoring matches.

Where on the subcontinent batsmen are accustomed to bashing bowlers black and blue, and amassing large totals in what some would say is a largely one-sided affair to begin with, Dambulla has been criticised for making the lives of batsmen too tough.

In the first match played at Dambulla back in 2001, England - batting first - only managed to score 143. It took Sri Lanka 40 overs and five balls to surpass England's low score which the hosts managed to chase at a low run rate of 3.52. On that occasion - with Dambulla being a new venue - the low scoring affair was attributed to pitch consultant Andy Atkinson having just eight weeks to prepare the surface.

The other side of Muttiah Muralitharan

The history books will forever remember Muttiah Muralitharan as one of the greatest ever, if not the greatest, bowler to have played the game. But former assistant coach Paul Farbrace shared another side of Murali that others may not know of.

Twitter abuzz with Muralitharan tributes

Thanks to warunanc for pointing out that the tag #Murali hit Twitter's trending topics list. That prompted me to take a look at the other tweets mentioning Murali, and to my pleasant surprise I found that Graeme Smith, Anil Kumble, Shane Warne and thousands of fans from around the globe have paid tribute to Muralitharan via Twitter. This is perhaps the first time a Sri Lankan has ever reached Twitter's trending topics list.

Lack of information regarding ticket sales for cricket matches in Sri Lanka

On the eve of every tour, we here at Island Cricket are inundated with emails from foreign nationals seeking information on ticket sales for matches in Sri Lanka.

Riding Murali's coattails to fame

Last week I was forwarded several emails from an anonymous source. These emails included an email from a Roy Bishop of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka which was sent to various news agencies, journalist, ICC officials, officials of other Test playing countries, and Sri Lankan cricketers both past and present.

Along with Mr. Bishop’s email were two responses to Mr. Bishop. One from former England skipper Nasser Hussein, the other from the General Manager of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Dave Richardson.

The decision to leave Mendis out was for tactical reasons - Aravinda

What kind of tactic involves leaving out a player? It's hard to see it as a positive move let alone a tactical move.

In 12 years Jayawardene has played just four Test matches in Australia

As an example of the lack of Test cricket offered to Sri Lanka, Mahela Jayawardene pointed out that he has only played four Test matches in Australia.

Likewise, skipper Sangakkara's career has spanned over a decade, but the four test matches he too has played on Australian soil highlights the lack of fair play when it comes to assigning Test matches equally to all nations.

Incidentally, since making his debut in 1992, Muttiah Muralitharan, the world's highest Test wicket taker, has played just five test matches on Australian soil.

Don't expect consistency from your risk taking opening batsmen

Don't pull out statistics to prove that your opening batsmen have not been consistent when you assigned those individuals a role fraught with risk?

When any batsman is sent up the order and asked to take on the new ball, asked to hit over the in-field when fielding restrictions are in place, the role of that batsman changes. One can't expect these players perform on a consistent basis.