HumbleBee's blog

Please salvage stinking SL Cricket flawed with favouritism!

In the latest scenario ahead of forthcoming series Vs PK, some names of constant failures at international level (proven as non-achievers), some aged (34+) players who never succeeded in grasping numerous consecutive opportunities given during the decade & domestic flat-track bloomers who thrive only on mediocre bowling attacks in homely conditions, but pathetic sinking-holes in internationals, are hyped around as potential replacements for big 3, based purely on recent domestic blooms.

Who are the most consistent high-scorers in SL cricket today?

An interesting point to ponder: WHO are the most consistent High Scorers in SL Cricket today?

SL Openers' Eight-Hops to World Cup Exit… were they Mistakes or Misdeeds?

Someone could say it is easy to find faults afterwards to blame, for any genuine mistakes committed inadvertently. But, if an ultimate failure caused from a sequence of misdemeanours that were clearly visible throughout & had been repeatedly pointed out, that can never be justified or forgiven as a mistake!

Selection incongruity derailed SL's journey to 2015 World Cup pinnacle, exactly as predicted!

As expected, Sanath, Marvan & Mathews, have completely ruined all hopes of Cricket fans in Nation SL.

Stats based Analytical view point on Edging a seaming New Ball & other Modes of Dismissals faced by Openers/Front Order Batsmen

Facing Pace bowlers, the openers & front-order batsman mostly get out caught, due to new ball movement induced edging. Basically most of those catches resulted from not-middling well enough to tackle the new ball movement they are especially vulnerable (movement in the air & off the deck) compared to other batters. Therefore, it is a good indicator to see how often they have got out CAUGHT facing PACE BOWLERS ONLY in each opener/ front order batsman’s dismissal record in their career stats to judge their ability to handle the ball movement properly (middle it) without edging catches to get out: 

Overall Dismissal modes of some front order batsmen facing Pace Bowlers ONLY in their careers:

Sanga:    210 dismsls  -   25b  -   168c    -  15 lbw   -  80.0 % caught
Dilly :      154 dismsls -    35b   -   112c    -    6 lbw   -  72.7% caught
Upul :      119 dismsls  -   23b  -     90c    -    6 lbw   -  75.6 % caught  
Mahela:   218 dismsls  -   25b  -   167c   -    25 lbw  -  76.6 % caught
Sanath:   311 dismsls  -    42b  -   223c  -    41 lbw  -   71.6 %  caught         

Percentage of deferent dismissal modes in their careers facing Pace Attacks:  

Sanga :   80.0%  Caught  -  7.1 % lbw - 11.9 %  Bowled
Mahela:   76.6 % Caught -   11.4% lbw – 11.5% Bowled
Upul :      75. 6 % Caught –  5.0 % lbw  - 19.3 % Bowled
Dilshan:   72.7% Caught –    3.8 % lbw – 22.7 % Bowled
Sanath :  71.6 % Caught –  13.2 % lbw – 13.5 % Bowled

According to the above stats, this is the dismissal-vulnerability-order ranked according to the each mode of dismissal facing seam attacks in their careers (five front-order batsmen compared in this analysis). 

Dismissal-Vulnerability-Order (facing Pace Bowlers):

Getting Caught: 
                           1) Sanga:  80.0% 
                           2) Mahela: 76.6% 
                           3) Upul:     75.6%  
                           4) Dilshan: 72.7% 
                           5) Sanath: 71.6%

Getting lbw :      
                           1) Sanath: 13.2%
                           2) Mahela: 11.4%  
                           3) Sanga:    7.1%   
                           4) Upul:       5.0 %   
                           5) Dilshan:  3.8%

Getting Bowled: 
                           1) Dilshan:  22.7% 
                           2) Upul:      19.3%
                           3) Sanath:   13.5% 
                           4) Sanga:    11.9 % 
                           5) Mahela:   11.5%

This analysis gives the realistic picture of each batsman’s capability & vulnerability in different areas concerned including the most important aspect of handling the new ball movement of seam bowlers without edging catches.

This proves the fact that every front-order batsman is more vulnerable to get out caught, facing pace bowlers as the high probability ranges from 70 to 80% . It also proves that Upul Tharanga’s tendency is medium & he doesn’t have any unusual weakness of edging & getting caught facing pace, compared to others (UT’s 75.6% is better than Sanga/ Mahela & close to Dilshan’s) as repeatedly speculated by some critics with Selective Perceptions. They have even disregarded Tharanga’s 2nd best all time batting record in such countries, conducive to seam bowling:  48 in- 1631 runs - 35.45 Av, just behind Sanga (37.59 Av), when picking him for every single occasion he edges the ball like any other opener. These stats show, even UT’s frequency of other dismissal modes (lbw or bowled) are not in the top bracket of compared players.

As evident from this, most criticism are baseless speculations blown out of proportion to suit ulterior motives of some, who propagate such fabrications targeting the gullible fans.!      

If WC Squad Could be Changed Until February 6 - Final Chance for SL to Salvage WC Hopes.!

See video

“New Zealand picked proven performers like Kyle Mills and Grant Elliott in their World Cup squad despite them not playing much international cricket recently. Why? Because, they are proven international performers. The World Cup is not the time to experiment on fringe and inexperienced international players. This is where the Sri Lankan selectors messed up by leaving proven international performers like Tharanga,  Maharoof ”,  one of the NZ fans BRYCE CUNNINGHAM, commented in a Cricinfo posting recently. How true it is! Today, the team is in total disarray simply because of this.  I have predicted this debacle three months ago, when they curtailed Tharanga’s stint to a solitary ODI in India!

History of Ongoing Massive Problem in Opening Spot:

Due to the adamant selection decisions continued despite constant failures, caused the instability in top order that we see today. Just after the current selectors took over in May 2013, they dropped Tharanga & we lost a global tournament ICC-CT in England. Since the 200+ partnership Tharanga & Mahela put up in Kingston - June 2013 (UT's inning in video, a month before his 18-month isolation), SL side had constantly faced the pressure of tumbling first wicket, inside 10 overs (mostly within 5).  This resulted in heavy losses outside home comfort, against strong opponents as seen in recent humiliating defeats away, in India (5-0) & now in NZ (5-1 ?). SL just managed to scrape through in Eng (3-2), thanks to some superhero efforts from Sanga & Mathews. Leading to this predicted debacle, SL lost to strong SA & just managed tied series Vs NZ & weak BD, even with home advantage.

Without a proper batsmen at the top, who could phase his inning according to the demanding situation & play a long inning going beyond 25 overs, SL will never be able to succeed in materializing 300+ scores. What you need here is a solid support to another significant scorer, among the top four. This was proved yet again in the solitary success SL achieved Vs NZ, in this tour.  

Why we need Upul Tharanga in the WC squad:

1) Experienced Player:

We need to add in form Tharanga to the squad immediately to strengthen the ever-brittle batting.  Apart from the 3 experienced seniors, we hardly have any experienced performer to withstand the onslaught & deal with the demanding situations. Even Mathews is not doing well in this tour. Tharanga has a wealth of experience playing 176 ODIs including Two World Cups / ICC-CT & Asia Cup tournaments.  

2) Productive Performer for the Big Occasions:

He is the only player in SL (probably in the World), who had scored FOUR Centuries in Global Tournaments;  Two Centuries in World-Cup & Two Centuries in ICC Champions Trophy.

Tharanga & Dilshan have become the MOST SUCCESSFUL opening-pair EVER in long World Cup History, having posted TWO x 200+ stand and THREE x fifty-plus in just nine outings – accumulating  800 runs in nine innings at an AVERAGE of 100.00.

UT's WC history:  20 in - 693 runs - 38.50 Av - 75.49 SR with Two Double-hundred stands, Two 100-plus scores & Five 50-pluses!
3) Proven Player with Numerous Credentials

Four of Tharanga’s 100-plus scores were in English, Caribbean & NZ conditions, dealing with seaming bouncy tracks! Also, he has involved in 3 x 200+ partnerships in those conditions.

Four of his 11 Man-of-the-Match awards were received, playing in Eng, WI, NZ & Au conditions including the MOM award he received in Australia Sydney Cricket Ground, for his unbeaten 86* in 2011. Also, he had scored 28 x 50 + scores, enduring the conditions in all those countries.

That is how he holds the 2nd best SL batting Average 35.59 (48 in- 1631 runs) in those conditions, just behind Sanga.

Tharanga had made THREE 200+ match-winning stands for the 1st wicket & had scored 5 x 100+ & 10 x 50+ during the most recent 2 years up to his AXING in July 2013.

4) Current Form:

Tharanga is in superb form, he put up another big score of 62 runs last week,  with 11 x 4s & a Six with a Strike Rate of 137.77 in the 2nd match, followed by his 1st match score of 135 runs , with 17 x 4s & Two Sixes in current Premier League Tournament -2015.

Ongoing  Premier League Tournament, 2014/15 :

WU Tharanga: 3 in - 264 r - 135 HS- 88.00 Av - 87.41 SR - 1 x 100 - 2 x 50 (as of Jan 24, 2015)

Premier Limited Overs Tournament, 2014/15 concluded in Dec 2014:

WU Tharanga: 5 in -255 r- 118* HS - 63.75 Av- 111.84 SR - 1x 100 - 2 x 50

Upul had scored 628 runs from his last 10 innings in all formats involving ODI/SL-A/Domestic First-Class/List-A matches, with 2 x 100+ & 5 x 50+ scores @ 69.88 Average!

Last Hope:

If Malinga doesn't play, batters will have to take care of at least another 20-30 runs. Chasing or setting up 300-plus scores seem to be the norm in this WC. Needs a a proven performer to build big partnerships. There is no other solution. Immediately, recalling Tharanga to the squad is needed to strengthen the weak batting line-up!

The decision seems to be with our Chief Selector, who turns every pebble to find a solution to the instability he created, without putting back the original pebble that he took out to destabilize the pedestal, in July 2013.

“According to the MPA (Members’ Participating Agreement), players listed in the declared fifteen could be changed before February 6, 2015 – the date on which the ICC would take over the custody of the participants of the 2015 World Cup officially. Thereafter if any participating member needs to change players they would have to make an official request to the technical committee of the ICC and obtain their approval”.- Sunday Times

According to that news article, again the stumbling block seems to be the Lankan Selection Committee Chairman Jayasuriya, who is continuously sticking to his logic-defying decisions, despite failures.

Hope something will change pretty soon, before the last nail to the coffin is hammered out.!

The selection incongruity that could derail SL's journey to 2015 World Cup pinnacle

According to selectors, we have a massive ongoing problem finding a suitable opening partner for Dilshan. Our selectors seem to be suffering with some kind of short-term Amnesia. Obviously, they must be having a hard time to recall anything beyond 2013. It seems, they have completely gone blank to the extent, that they cannot remember what happened or who opened in 2012 or 2011, including last WC.

As far as SL selectors are concerned, everything had started freshly since 2013 for SL ODI openers. Dilly is the fixed asset & Kusal became the partially fixed asset for them. Upul & Dimuth were the dispensable pawns used from time to time to fill the dents, consistently left behind by Kusal, until ending up in sinking to the ultimate abyss in November 2014.

Now they have started to explore Dimuth as an opener for WC (at least on paper). Highest contributor (UT) of last series decider was dropped from the Test squad to do this exploration in NZ.   

Stats missed by SL selectors due to Memory Loss:

Dimuth’s  Test Stats      :  25 in - 701 r - 85 HS - 30.47 Av - 4 x 50  
ODIs                             :  6 in -  84 r - 60 HS - 16.80 Av – 1 x 50
UT’s Test Stats              : 34 in  -  1019 r - 165 HS - 30.87 Av - 1 x 100 -   5 x 50
ODIs                              : 168 in - 5339 r - 174* HS -33.57 AV - 13 x100 - 28 x 50
4 Tests played after 7 year lay-off in Aug 2014 Vs SA & PK 
UT has scored 306 runs - 92 HS - 38.25 Av ( 92 Vs PK, 83 Vs SA, 45 Vs PK, 30 Vs SA).
Now our selectors talk about the importance of Long innings, played by openers:

Our Opener should be able to stem the inning for the side with long innings, for all batters to bloom & achieve the goal as a team! Dilly is capable of doing it, but lately he was failing to thrive in that regard. Appearing in all ODIs, his last 100+ was 28 OdIs ago in 2013, before the one he scored recently in Nov 2014. Upul Tharanga had put up FIVE 200+ partnerships during the most recent 4 Year period with 7 Century-plus individual scores, before his progress was cut short, in 2013 July.

Our batters have not done well against Australia except Sangakkara. When you compare openers against formidable Australia, playing double the number of ODIs Vs Australia than UT, Dilshan had achieved almost same number of big scores at a little lesser Average than UT (even Sanga had managed a solitary Ton & MJ had never scored a Ton, playing much more innings) :

Dilshan    - 40 In - 933 runs -106 HS - 25.91 Av - 1  x 100+ - 4 x 50+
Tharanga -20 In - 493 runs - 111 HS - 25.94 Av-  1 x 100+ - 3 x 50+

Since 2009, these are the SL’s biggest partnerships that assured wins: -

As you can see, the Common Factor here is UT in all those partnerships.

In 2009:  UT with MJ - 202 r
In 2010:  UT  with MJ- 215 r
In 2011:  UT  with Dil- 282 r (World Cup)
In 2011: UT  with Dil - 215 r  (World Cup)
In 2013: UT  with MJ- 215 r

He had scored 2808 runs with 7 X 100+  &  19 X 50+ scores during that period at Av 38.35 -S/R 76.89.

Apart from this, Tharanga and Dilshan have registered six century stands for the first wicket in ODIs, joining two other Sri Lankan pairs – Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya (eight) and Romesh Kaluwitharana and Sanath Jayasuriya (six)

Some WORLD Records for Big Scores/ Long Inning Partnerships

Upul Tharanga holds the World Record for Long partnerships in ODI cricket (7 X 200+ partnerships). Only Ponting had equaled it at 35 yrs, playing more than double the number of Odis (375 Odis) COMPARED to UT’s achievement.

The World Ranking in CENTURIONS of last decade:

Most ODI Hundreds in a career (175 innings or less) - World Rankings:

1) V Kohli (India)2008-2014  - 138 in  - 21x100  - 33x50           
2) AB de Villiers  2005-2014  - 169 in - 18x100  - 42x50            
3) HM Amla (SA)2008-2014  -  100 in - 17 x 100 - 25x50          
4) UT Tharanga 2005-2014   -  168 in - 13 x 100-  28x50            

MOST SUCCESSFUL opening-pair EVER recorded in long World Cup History:

Sri Lanka's  Openers Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan set Three Word Cup Record as they struck, TWO double Century ( 282 + 231*) partnerships during the 2011 WC.!

1) Tharanga & Dilshan have become the MOST SUCCESSFUL opening-pair EVER in long World Cup History, having posted TWO  x 200+ stand and THREE x fifty-plus in just nine outings – accumulating  800 runs in nine innings at an AVERAGE of 100   

2) The first-ever double century stand for any wicket in a WC.

3) TWO Double Century stands for the first wicket by the same openers at a World Cup are these unique records.

WU Tharanga, TM Dilshan- 282  - 1st wicket - SL v Zim - Pallekele -          10 Mar 2011       
WU Tharanga, TM Dilshan -231*- 1st wicket- SL v England - Colombo -     26 Mar 2011

2011 WC  Overall Batting Rankings:

 1) TM Dilshan (SL) :     9 In - 1 n/o- 500 r -  Av 62.50 
 5) WU Tharanga (SL) : 9 in  -2 n/o- 395 r  - Av 56.42

A Point to Ponder:

The following is all-time Best performers in SL batting Vs England (ranked according to Av - considered above250 r). THE GUY WHO LEADS the ranking, overlooked for 3 series Vs Eng or in Eng, since 2013 to make room for Kusal.

Tharanga:    11 in – 578 r   -120 HS - Av 57.80 - SR 78.00 - 3 x 100 - 2 x50
Sanga:         40 in - 1508 r - 134*HS- Av 44.35 - SR 75.81 - 3 x 100 - 11 x50
Mathews:     17 in - 529 r  -   62 HS  - Av 40.69 – SR 85.04 -      -       3 x50     
Mahela J:     43 in -1562 r -  144 HS -  Av 40.05 - SR 83.75 - 5 x100 - 8 x50    
Jayasuriya :  34 in - 1508 r- 152 HS - Av 37.34 – SR 101.35 -4 x100 - 3 x50
Dilshan:        30 in  - 922 r - 108* HS- Av 34.14 -  SR 82.39  - 2 x100 - 5 x50
Marvan:        19 in  - 520 r - 132*HS - Av 30.58 – SR 61.53  - 1 x100 - 3 x50

They have no valid excuse whatsoever to justify the strange omission of UT from the 7 odis played recently Vs Eng. Despite having a 29 y opener with such an extraordinary track record to solve the sweltering crisis they are having since 2013, again they preferred to extend Kusal's unlimited passage, to fail again. Now, SLC is even trying to put an assertive player like UT, with a constant failure like Kusal at the same level & shamelessly say they both were tried & failed in the recent past. How can you compare Kusal’s failure record of 35+ Odis given at a trot, with UT’s, when he was prevented from playing more than 5 odis (in total) during the entire period of past 18 months (1 or 2 at a time, months apart)?

Glaring Reality :

Kusal’s career:    39 in   -  839 runs - 23.30 Av -  1 x 100 -   4 x 50 (none outside subcontinent)
UT’s career:      168 in -  5339 runs - 33.57 Av - 13 x 100 - 28 x 50   

After playing almost 1/4 of UT's career innings, see where Kusal stands:

In his pitiful career, Kusal had managed =  839 runs from 39 innings.
While, UT had managed 5339/168 x 39 = 1239 runs from 39 innings.
The Difference 1239 runs - 839 runs     =   400 runs

A MASSIVE 400 runs difference in productivity......
This estimates how costly it had been for SL during the past 2 years!

Performance Comparison Vs England:

Kusal's  Vs Eng: 8 Odis - 143 runs -   17.87 Av - 76.88 S/R – 1 x 50
UT's      Vs Eng: 11 Odis - 578 runs - 57.80 Av – 78.00 S/R-   3 x 100 + 2 x 50
If the selectors are doing a proper job, then there shouldn’t be ANY QUESTION about the ideal Opener to partner Dilly in Au/NZ conditions (really, there shouldn't have been any question even 18 months ago) :

The all-time SL batting record for players, who played in ALL HOSTING COUNTRIES, LIMITED to Aus/Engl/NZ/SA /WI in tournaments /series involving Host countries & any ICC FUll-Member Opponents involved in those tournaments (excluding BD & Zimb) :

1) Sangakkara: 121 ing  - 4060 R  - 37.59 Av
2) Tharanga       48 ing  - 1631 R  - 35.45 Av
3) Atapattu:       79 ing -  2468 R  - 33.80 Av
4) Ranathunga   78 ing  - 2257 R  - 32.71 Av
5) Dilshan          84 ing  - 2378 R  - 32.57 Av
6) Mahela         140 ing  - 4053 R - 31.66 Av
7) Jayasuriya    132 ing  - 3915 R  - 30.11 Av

Who needs more evidence to prove a player’s potential & value? UT was denied any real chance since 2013, giving him just an ODI or 2 at a time spreading over 18 months.

WHY are they doing this?

Selecting the best available resources to lift the overall potential to max, is the only key to success in a WC. Judging from the way the things are happening, it is highly unlikely that they will consider the most appropriate choice to fill an essential need, even at this stage.  As long as these selectors are blind to the obvious reality & immune to answer for the downfalls triggered due to their maladroitness, WC pinnacle is too far away for SL to reach.!