Has Dilshan lost his way?

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After the loss at Galle this week and after failing with the bat in both innings, Tillakaratne Dilshan was asked if he would change his game.

"I'm not going to change my batting, I've batted the last three or four years aggressive and I want to play my own shots," was the Sri Lankan captain's response.

"Although I am the captain, I don't want to change the way I bat.

"This is the way that has brought me a lot of success. I play that well usually but that day the ball went to Ponting. Had I got some quick runs that day, there could have been a difference."

It's no secret that Dilshan has been an aggressive batsman throughout his career. But has he forgotten what created the opportunity for him to open batting for Sri Lanka, when he was a middle order batsman struggling to hold his place in the team?

Dilshan's fortunes changed when his approach to batting changed - consistency and a responsible approach to his batting is what brought him success.

In 2009, when he was first promoted to open batting in Test cricket, he was still aggressive but was still looking for singles and twos early in his innings. Of late, the Sri Lankan captain appears to have forgotten the basics. Whilst there is no need for him to change his attacking nature, common sense must prevail.

The Australians, including their media, appear to be thrilled by Dilshan's stance and that he sees nothing wrong with his approach in the last match.

Dilshan's declaration was received well by Australia vice-captain Shane Watson, who said the challenge was to continue to dominate Sri Lanka's leader.

"That's the way he plays isn't it? He's always batted like that, he's always backed himself," Watson said of Dilshan.

"There's no doubt the ball coming back into him provides a different ball game compared to when the ball's going away from him and he can free his arms.

"Hopefully he keeps playing the way he does and we're able to execute the way we did, like Ryan Harris did in the second innings especially. Hopefully as a captain he won't have too much impact throughout the series."

When our entire batting line up continues to be unreliable and inconsistent, do we really have the need for an opener in the calibre of a Sanath Jayasuriya or Virender Sehwag? We saw it in Cardiff and now in Galle, this batting line up is capable of getting bowled out for less than 200 on any surface. Why would we need a dasher at the top, when we need technically correct batsmen who know how to graft and play a long innings?

The Sri Lankan captain will have to keep his arrogance and attitude in check and work out fast what's best for him and his team, or there is a good chance that he will soon find himself lower down the order; Sri Lanka cannot continue to ignore Lahiru Thirimanne.


CrikFan's picture
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20 April 2011
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It hard to say if he has lost his way, but as a captain of the country he must be a bit more responsible and make some more wise shot selections without freeing his arms into every delivery.

He must know that he is the first target the aussies will be aiming at. He must be more smart when playing.

I wonder if its the burden of his "CAPTAINCY" that ruining his gamem SLC should have sticked with Sangakkara for test matches.

Damith Samarakoon's picture
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26 December 2008
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I agree with crikfan and Hilal, I think it's a compeletely irresponsible comment from Dilshan to say that he won't change his game. IF ever there was a need to change his game it was on that pitch, because its not a strip you could walk in and belt the bowling.

Dilshan needs to learn that going for his ok, but not when it is so outlandish. The Aussies are basically doing the 1 - 2 trick to him One wide to get him going for it and if he connects, they just throw it out there. This is where Dilshan needs to be smarter and let the Aussies bowl to him. Once the ball is closer to him the chances of him not losing his shape and follow through are less.

Hilal is also right to say Dilshans success was based on hitting but with brains. Not the mindless slashes he is producing now.

It's not setting the right example either to our younger guys. But all Dilshan has to do is look at a player like Mathew, who struggled n his 95 but he battled his need to hit out and curbed it to suit the situation. I thought that was brilliant from him and showed maturity.

Dilshan needs to step up more now that he is captain.

ROAR OF LANKA's picture
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Dilshan needs to negotiate the early 10 overs without being ''center-shocked'',if he does that and if he can surpass 30 runs without any fuss there is no doubt that the capability of Dilshan making a big hundred.

Yes, he has to play his natural game,but at the moment as he is going through a serious form slump it will be important to bulid an innings like that Mahela and Angie played the other day, take all the time you need Dilshan as test matches you dont have to play like a T20, adjust your game in a way that the opposition cant get you out and when u seize the right opportunity in scoring do it greatly.

And please kick out the king paired PJ and bring Chandimal or Kaushal Silva, we dont want to boast that PJ is the best wicket-keeper in the world because I think Kumar Sangakkara and Matt Prior are way better.

(Last edited by ROAR OF LANKA on September 5, 2011 - 00:00)
sujithl143's picture
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With the Watson's comment i think Australians also want Dilshan to change his game...they too are afraid of being hit by Dilshan.
Thats why Watson talking like that..if they really want him to play his normal game i assume that they will keep quite about it.
They too might not forgtn the 1st T20...

But I agree with Hilal.
This is not Dilshan's normal game.He's a busy player always geting singles and 2s and converting 2s into 3s.
But at the moment he's trying to get 3 or 4 boundaries per over..which will build more pressure when he missed out an opportunity.

So if he plays the normal game .. i think thats OK.since we have Mahela Sanga Thilan Mathews and Prasanna to bat.But wicket during the first 10 overs seems to be the problem for the SLs.
If they can get over it and play positive cricket we have good chance of winning matches with Aussies.

Marcian's picture
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Dilshan's average as an opener was 53 plus - before this Test series - mixing aggression with some level of caution, not just willy-nilly slashing at every ball outside off stump. A fine example is how he batted in England in seaming and swinging conditions.

So, why has he gone berserk? Perhaps too much pressure, not just on the field but off it as well. Nevertheless, I think he should continue to open, but he needs to refocus. He has been a very successful opener in Test; let us not forget that in a hurry because of what happened in the first Test.

The impetus he [Dilshan] brings at the top will be lost - if he is to move down the order - as Paranavitana has a tendency to get bogged down and Thirimanne is in a similar mold but more free-flowing. Having said that, it's worth a try in the future, that's only if Dilshan continues to fail at the top. I, too, feel that Thirimanne cant be ignored for much longer.

Our batting line up has been prone to collapses on a regular basis since the tour of England - both in Test and ODIs - and it's becoming a habit and hard to ignore. I wonder what the specialist batting coach is up to? Honestly, I feel that his role should be questioned at some point. Nobody is talking about it, yet - it cant be ignored, if our batting continues to under perform in both Test and ODIs.

Padhman Jayatilleke's picture


Hilal's picture
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14 hours 45 min

Thank you all for the comments.

Take a look at this: http://www.espncricinfo.com/england-v-sr...

In the 193 he scored at Lord's, see how cautious and responsible he was at the start of his innings, and see how far it got him. The link above is to the ball by ball commentary of his 193 on Cricinfo.

It highlights the need to bring Dilshan back down to earth from time to time.

TC's picture

Article topic is quite uncalled for as Dilshan scored his way to a brilliant 193 in Lords juts only in his last test match before the twin failures. He couldn't get going for two innings and skeptics started to call for his head. If selectors can't keep ignoring Thirimanna, Paranawitana, who has been a failure for several matches, is the man to be replaced with Thirimanna.

Having said that, It's obvious that Dilshan's not a natural leader. SL have to find a decent leader before the slump starts to aggravate.

y2j's picture

There is no need for an article like this. Sure Dilshan got out cheaply in both innings. But as he said if he'd got a quickfire 50 in the first innings the story would have been different. There is no need to panic since he failed in only one match.

Ryan's picture
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