End of the road for Punjab's Sri Lankan sons

Over the last three years Sri Lankan cricket fans backed the team from Mohali due to Sangakkara's and Jayawardene's presence in the side, and we Sri Lankans cheered on Punjab as though the team was all Sri Lankan.

Match 54 in the 2010 Indian Premier League today between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab will be the last time players from the Punjabi franchise will play together as a team. Which means that today may be the last time we see Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene playing for Kings XI Punjab.

As we watched on TV the Dalai Lama gracing the occasion at the foothills of the Himalayas, we realised with a sense of sorrow that all good things must come to an end.

It is over for Punjab's two Sri Lankan sons.

Today's game is Punjab's last for 2010 and with the contracts up for renewal next year, this may well be the last time Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara will play for Kings XI Punjab.

"With our three-year contracts with the Kings XI effectively terminating after tomorrows match, and with fresh bidding for players by the teams taking place later this year, this could well be the last time that some of us will play as team-mates. Other than pride and the inbuilt competitive nature of being a professional sportsman, there is no pressure on us as we no longer can qualify for the semi-finals. We will therefore look to going out there and enjoying ourselves and hopefully we can celebrate a victory with each other for the last time," Mahela Jayawardene wrote on his blog, emphasising the significance of the match today.

For Mahela his last year with Punjab has been his most profitable. In 2008 he averaged 25.57 with a best of 45 not out and in 2009 he was the franchises best batsman averaging 36.50 and a best of 52 not out. With his average over 40 and a best of 110 not out, in 2010 he was just breathtaking.

Sangakkara has also performed well collectively in the three seasons. He has surpassed 1000 runs at the IPL and is one of a few to have done so.

"As a whole this year has been disappointing," Sangakkara said at the toss in what is likely to be his final game as captain. His term as captain has to go down as deeply disappointing for him, but nothing could be more disappointing than the quality of cricket the Punjabi franchise displayed under his helm this year. Many times they stumbled and lost when victory was close.

One of the drawbacks of being captain is the fact that even if you do well personally you have to take a lot of flak for your team's losses just as you bask in the glory and take credit for the team's successes. That is why those who can't handle criticism turn down captaincy. And Sangakkara has had his fair share of criticism this season.

Winston Churchill once said, "criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

How Kumar Sangakkara absorbs the barrage of criticism he has faced since being appointed as captain of Sri Lanka and captain of Punjab will determine if he is indeed captaincy material. Whilst nothing changes the fact that he is a sensational cricketer, his ability as a captain is still to be uncovered. Captaincy is still a new phase in his life, and being a successful batsman and wicket-keeper does not make him a good captain.

In 2008 Punjab won 10 of their 14 matches and in 2009 they lost seven and won seven. But under Sangakkara's captaincy they have fared miserably. These are the facts and nothing changes that, not your blind adoration or my criticism.

It will be sad not seeing Mahela and Kumar adorn the grey and red jersey for Punjab, but it is at the same time interesting to see how IPL franchises view their performances over the last three years and what in terms of remuneration will be on offer for the duo for the next three years.


DM's picture

Maiya and sanga did really well when comapiring to Other Indian Big Guns in the team..bawling was a disaster some times batting when both coming good fielding goes down ..personally i think they didn't click. I'm sure Indians now start to tell how bad captaincy of sanga,.LOL anyone who has a cricketing brain with out sanga and mahela i rather find KXIP loosing all there games !! Well played two of our great sons + all d foriegn players did really well in batting department ..

Piumantha's picture
Member since:
7 April 2010
Last activity:
8 years 19 weeks

Ya DM..with out mahela and sanga punjab will loose all their matches.They had won 3 matches this season
In the 1st match they won mahela score 6 of 9 they have to get in the super over..in the second one mahela score a brilliant 110 and carry kxip to the target.in the 3rd one sanga was the man of the match with his valuable half century.
Well played!!
Wish you all the best Lions!!! You can win the T20 WC!!!

Jagath Perera's picture
Member since:
7 April 2010
Last activity:
3 hours 50 min

I agree with Jehan. Sangakkara is a good batsman but we can't just accept that he is a good captain. He has a lot to prove. He will grow and learn on the job but he is old now so no time to grow and learn. If we want to groom a captain we should have chosen a young guy like Mathews.

S beauty's picture
Member since:
20 January 2010
Last activity:
7 years 47 weeks

Yuvi is nothing...what has he done for his so called home team?....Shit....
Without Sanga n Maiya they cdnt even win 1 single match...
n how can a team succeed with jelousy n rifts?....

Sanga n maiya r the best.hats off 2 u guyS!

Mohamed73's picture
Member since:
19 April 2010
Last activity:
8 years 19 weeks

Yes, Sangakkara has faced a barrage of criticism since becoming the captain of the Sri Lankan team. In my opinion a good 80% or more of that criticism directed towards Sangakkara have come from those who know next to nothing about the game of cricket and those who at the same time obviously seem to have some personal problem with their ill advised perception of Kumar Sangakkara the person.

As Sangakkara himself alluded to in a recent interview he simply does not give a damn about the bad press that he gets or what his detractors have to say. Despite the rubbish written in the media about him, Sangakkara still handles the media with respect and is always forthright with how he wants the team to move forward through this rather stormy transitionary period that the Sri Lankan team is going through.

This is right attitude because at the end of the day great captains from years gone by like Imran Khan, Arjuna Ranatunga and Saurav Ganguly were hated by the press and their own fans (much like Sangakkara is today) because people had issues with their no-nonsense aggressive personality more so than any other cricketing reason as such. Imran, Arjuna and Saurav did not hit gold from day one as Captains of their respective teams. It was only after years of leading the side did they emerge as the great leaders that they eventually went on to become. To have expected miracles from Sangakkara who is leading a Sri Lankan team in transition with their perennial match winners of the years gone by like Murali, Vass and Jayasuriya well and truly past the post and no longer the match winning force that they once were is nothing short of utter foolishness.

As for the Kings XI side, their bad performance this season had nothing to do with Sangakkara's leadership as is being projected by some of his desperate detractors in Sri Lanka who seem to have found strange bedfellows in India to have a go at a common enemy.
Yuvraj Singh was quite clearly deliberately underperforming after losing the captaincy which was nauseating to watch. The contribution of the Indian contingent in the Kings XI team (which is vital for the success of a franchise as 7 of the 11 players are in fact Indians) was a disaster to say the least.

Coach Tom Moody was still busy with Western Australia when the Kings XI stepped out on the field to play their first match of the season leaving no room whatsoever to plan and strategise with the Captain and the team in the days leading up to the beginning of the tournament. The bowling (with the exception of Piyush Chawla) was shambolic to put it mildly. Irfan Pathan who picked up 15 wickets at an extremely impressive econ rate of 6.6 in the first season got worse and worse with every season. In 2009 his econ rate had shot up to nearly 9 and in 2010 it was past 9. Brett Lee who Sangakkara was looking to for that impact performance with the ball failed to pick up a single wicket in the matches that he played. The fielding was abysmal 90% of the time. The team was plagued by pre-season injuries to many of its key players as well.

When so much goes against you in a fast paced tournament like the IPL where momentum is everything there is little that one can do to turn the tide. If Sangakkara was a failure as a Captain, then India’s greatest ever Captain Saurav Ganguly was nothing short of a colossal failure in the IPL as a Captain because despite having a far better talent pool at his disposal (foreign and local) like Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, David Hussey, Ricky Ponting, Brad Hodge, Shane Bond, Angelo Mathews, Umar Gul, Ajantha Mendis, Manoj Tiwary, Ishant Sharma, Ashok Dinda, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Murali Karthik and many, many more, Ganguly still was unable to get his team into the knock out stages of the IPL even once.

The example of how Kings XI Punjab reached the SF stage in the first season and comparing that to their performance this season is ridiculous as they reached the semis in 2008 on the back of the phenomenal efforts of one man; Shaun Marsh who ran up an unprecedented 616 runs in just 11 innings and in the process managed to win 5 of those 10 matches won by Kings XI that season on his own. It was that freakish effort by Marsh that single-handedly put the Kings XI side into the SF that year and it was not a true reflection of how good the team was.

At the end Kumar Sangakkara, the Kings XI Punjab's most consistent performer rather fittingly became the first and only Kings XI batsman (as at the end of IPL 3) to go past 1,000 runs in the IPL. He is also only the 8th batsman in the IPL to have scored 1,000 runs or more and just the 4th foreign player after Gilchrist, Hayden and Kallis to do so.

Sangakkara ended his 3rd IPL season with the Kings XI team having scored a total of 1009 runs in just 34 innings which was inclusive of 8 fifties, with 5 of them being match winning efforts. Incidentally Sangakkara’s 8 fifties are just two short of the man who has scored the most number of fifties in the IPL, that man being Kallis with 10 fifties.

In comparison, Kings XI Punjab’s ‘Icon’ player the million dollar local boy Yuvraj Singh suppose to be the most destructive hitter of the cricket ball ended his 3rd season with the team having scored a total of 894 runs from 42 innings which was inclusive of just 3 fifties, all of them coming in a losing cause.

Sangakkara’s pal and Sri Lankan team-mate Mahela Jayawardena ended his 3rd season with the Kings XI team having scored a total of 837 runs from 35 innings with 1 hundred and 2 fifties. The hundred and one of those fifties were match winning efforts by Jayawardena.

ishan's picture

welldone Mohamed73! that is a brilliant review! you really should have posted it as a separate blog!agree to all the points!

batman87's picture
Member since:
3 July 2009
Last activity:
7 years 46 weeks

Hats off to u Mohammed73. Couldn't have explained it better!

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