Ryan's blog

Sri Lanka likely to play World Cup in foreign conditions despite playing at home

In a bungling of royal scale, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials are likely to send their team to the World Cup in conditions totally alien to them despite playing at home.

There is a good chance that Sri Lanka will play all their home games on wickets that their players have not encountered before, thereby losing all advantage of playing at home.

Our non-charitable cricketers

Just as flooding in Sri Lanka has uprooted thousands, in Queensland, Australia, flooding has left many in a desperate position. Australian cricketers, along with players from the English side currently touring there, have admirably sprung into action, appealing for donations, even forking out large sums of money from their own pockets.

The numbers from 2010

Twenty-ten was a quiet year in terms of statistical highlights and records for Sri Lanka. It pales in comparison to 2009, where Sri Lanka recorded a massive 465-run win against Bangladesh in a Test, a massive 202 run win against New Zealand (also in Tests) and two Sri Lankan batsmen - Samaraweera and Jayawardene - topped the list for the most runs in Test cricket for the year.

Sri Lanka's 642/4d against India at the SSC in Colombo was the third highest Test total of this year. India's 643/6d against South Africa in Kolkata and their 707/all-out against Sri Lanka at the SSC in July tops the list for the highest Test totals of 2010.

Going into the unknown with the unknown

After the scare in Galle, drastic changes have been made. The bowlers, they say, are to blame. Prasad and Thushara are made the scapegoats. In comes Nuwan Kulasekara and a virtual unknown Shaminda Eranga.

After the end of day five, all Sangakkara could talk about was how, in the Windies first innings, his bowlers didn't stick to "the plan".

I would like to respectfully remind Sangakkara here that he failed with the bat in the first innings and the second (throwing his wicket away by playing irresponsibly) and if "the plan" isn't working and the opposition are 100/0, you are the captain - change the plan!

So much for a 'clean sweep'

There was a lot of talk in Sri Lanka ahead of this West Indies series about clean sweeps and whitewashes. But after the third day's play in Galle, there is no doubt about which team is under the cosh; Sri Lanka will do well not to lose the first Test now that they are 165/3 in their first innings in reply to the Windies' 580/9.

The writing was pretty much on the wall even before a ball was bowled.

What were the selectors thinking when they went in with Dammika Prasad, Thilan Thushara, Suraj Randiv and Ajantha Mendis? It's ridiculous when Mendis is your highest wicket taker going into a Test match. There is no doubt that the selectors felt these four had enough to dismiss the Windies not once, but twice!

The great Murali about to chuck it in

Yes, the controversial title drew me in too.

Being the patriotic Sri Lankan that I am, I clicked on the link that read: 'The Great Murali about to chuck it in' expecting to hear some drivel bashing Muttiah Muralitharan, written by an Australian of course.

What I got was indeed written by an Australian. Yes, on an Australian site, as well. But, it wasn't drivel.

The greatest Test batsman Sri Lanka has produced

Things like 'best' and 'greatest' almost always boils down to an opinion, and statistics don't always paint the real picture.

It would be unrealistic to look at a batsman's career stats and determine if he was the greatest batsman ever, or even the greatest batsman produced by any one nation.

For example, when you look at career statistics, it doesn't tell you right off the bat that a batsman was good against all the best bowling sides of his time; it sure as hell won't tell you how good a batsman was when confronted with a bowler-friendly wicket.

Statistic can, however, help differentiate quality batsmen from the average ones. Fine tuning the statistics based on certain key elements that contribute in the making of a great batsman can help us identify the best from the rest.

Who’s who – Get to know Wayamba

Lets take a look at the Wayamaba team on show in the on going CLT20 in South Africa.

Dilshan's antics in Zimbabwe comes to light

In the recent days various allegations against Tillakaratne Dilshan have been surfacing. One of them being, the allegation that he sexually assaulted a girl in Zimbabwe.

What happened on tour in Zimbabwe still remains a mystery, but there is no longer any doubt that something did actually transpire.

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.

Would Sri Lanka Cricket have launched an inquiry over Randiv incident had it been Zimbabwe?

When the batsman on strike is on 99 runs, what happens? The captain from the opposition brings the field in to prevent that batsman from making those runs, right?

Well, Sri Lanka Cricket has decided that such tactics go against the "spirit" of the game and it hopes to penalise it's players.

Sangakkara ends up with mediocrity while daring to be different

Some people just try too hard to stand out. They dare to be different and in the process trod on their own objectives and embrace impracticality, resulting in mediocrity. That's the story of Sri Lanka's captain Kumar Sangakkara.

Don't let Sri Lanka's odd success or even their Test ranking convince you otherwise. Sri Lanka has a gifted bowling attack and batsmen who can turn around Test matches. And it's only fair to say that it is only thanks to Muralitharan, Malinga, Mendis and others that the Sri Lankan captain has had some success. Which is what disturbs me the most; you can't fly under the radar with the odd win in Tests when you have what some consider to be the best bowling line up going around these days.

Aravinda's selection panel blunders

With Sri Lanka's vice captain, Muttiah Muralitharan, retiring from Test cricket after the end of the first Test against India on Thursday, Sri Lanka had the opportunity to appoint a player who is either a future hopeful for the position of captain, or another senior worthy of the position based on seniority. Instead, the new selection panel headed by Aravinda de Silva went with Mahela Jayawardene the former captain who stepped down from his position.

As the saying goes, "Only in Sri Lanka!!"

Muralitharan, you will be missed

It's going to be hard to see him go. Even harder to not see him in a Sri Lankan Test side. No other bowler has sent down more deliveries than Muttiah Muralitharan (Murali) which is testimony to the fact that he carried Sri Lanka's bowling attack on his own shoulders for more than a decade. Sri Lanka would be hard pressed to fill the void.

Murali did not just achieve, he also contributed. It is no secret that a majority of Sri Lanka's Test match victories have come on the back of a brilliant spell by the magician.

The demise of Sri Lanka's cricket 'freaks' under Sangakkara

After scripting one of the most memorable wins in a final for Sri Lanka and winning the 2008 Asia Cup, and despite being available for selection, Sanath Jayasuriya and Ajantha Mendis will play no part in this year's Asia Cup.