Another raw deal for Tharanga

After 325 ODIs Mahela Jayawardene has 12 ODI centuries. In comparison, Upul Tharanga who has played just 105 ODIs has eight centuries and a higher batting average than Jayawardene. Despite having the stats to challenge any batsman in the current Sri Lankan line up, Tharanga always finds himself sidelined inexplicably.

All it takes is one failure from Tharanga to see his place in the side questioned while some seniors continue to fail when the side needs them most, but hold their place in the side thanks to the occasional performance.

In Sri Lanka's last match - Match five of the Micromax Tri Series in Sri Lanka - Mahela Jayawardene was promoted up the order to open batting pushing Tharanga - an opening batsman throughout his career - down the order to accommodate Jayawardene's needs.

"Over the last year and a half Mahela has shown a liking to open. If his mindset is more free to go up the order, then guys like me and other players must back that decision, we've got to move down the order and take responsibility," Sangakkara told reporters defending the decision to send his best mate Jayawardene up the order.

It is a cruel blow to Tharanga who sat out for months to make way for Sanath Jayasuriya. The poor lad must be wondering when these ageing seniors will take a back seat and give him a fair chance to play for Sri Lanka.

One can understand why Mahela would want to open. Who wouldn't want to cash in on the power plays? And with an IPL auction coming up, Jayawardene doesn't have a whole lot of opportunities left to remind IPL franchises that he has what it takes to succeed in the limited over formats.

PhotoSo, the two pals - Sangakkara and Jayawardene - at the expense of the next generation, have decided that number two and three in the batting line up is best for them.

How good is it really for Sri Lanka? Should we not be questioning the logic? If Tharanga is going to be pushed down the order, should we not just drop him and find a specialist middle order batsman? It's all about the right combinations, right?

In the last 12 months Tharanga has played 23 matches with an average of 41.85 and has scored two centuries and six fifties. During the same period Jayawardene averaged 39.11 with one century and six fifties. Nothing about those stats suggests that something is broken and needs fixing. So it is only natural that we should be questioning the motives of the skipper and the new vice captain.

Let's also not forget that when Muralitharan retired, Sangakkara chose to hand the position of vice captain to Mahela who had earlier stepped down from captaincy.

Only Sangakkara can explain what's going on; it all makes sense to him.


Anonymous's picture

You are sadly mistaken, chasing 103 to win, Sri Lanka merely reverted to our T20 tactic of sending Mahela up the order. It's no raw deal for Tharanga, it's mere experimentation. It's easy for you to rant, but apparently harder for you to see logic.

ranjan rodrigo's picture

Why Blame Sanga for every move? I am for Tharanga but Mahela is better in opening and in this match due to bonus point aim, since upul is a slow starter was sent one downand Mahela opening was to bat faster

Ranjan Rodrigo, Sydney .

Anonymous's picture

Yes, Sangakkara also bought Tharanga all his equipment and helped him get back on his feet after his home was devastated by the tsunami. We are chasing 103, why can't we try something different? Just think a bit before making up angry posts like this.

Scrambled coconuts's picture

I hope Sanga will read this ...Ryan you've made a good observation.

Ranjan Rodrigo's picture

I know Mahela has a charity. U say Kumar helped Upul. Murali also has charities.Has Sanath the wealthiest of them all ever done charity work? Not even a pair of used gloves to his old school.No wonder he wants to keep playing till 41 with help from the higher ups. This is a joke.
Ranjan Rodrigo Sydney

Hilal's picture
Member since:
20 November 2008
Last activity:
16 hours 40 min

There are some good points raised here. If Mahela is going to open, then we have to be honest with Tharanga.

There's also no point dropping Tharanga down the order when we can use Chandimal or another player at that slot.

SunJ's picture
Member since:
25 January 2010
Last activity:
5 years 14 weeks

I think what we want here is some clarity of thought from the management and selectors,WC is around the corner,by this time the openers should be in a settled frame of mind,Tharanga should be given the necessary confidence for this,personally I think Mahela should play at no 3.

Ryan's picture
Member since:
20 November 2008
Last activity:
1 year 16 weeks

Yes, in this game it was an experiment, but Sangakkara has actually stated that it could be a permanent move in the future. See article below.

Ryan's picture
Member since:
20 November 2008
Last activity:
1 year 16 weeks

There is nothing angry about my post. I call it as I see it. I mentioned in my reply to the comment above that it may have been a temporary move, but Sangakkara hasn't ruled out the possibility of it being a permanent move either.

From Sangakkara's own response, it's clear that the only reason Mahela went up the order was to satisfy his own needs. As I have shown with the stats in my post, there is nothing broken that needs fixing.

Sujan's picture
Member since:
27 December 2008
Last activity:
1 week 3 days

No point in dropping a genuine opener. Must admit he has shown promise in last few series and I dont feel this is any time for experiment when world cup is nearing.

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