Please salvage stinking SL Cricket flawed with favouritism!

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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.

Disgusting international track record sans any significant achievements (international level batting averages @ tail ender levels ranging from 15 to 22) is the unmistakable sign, common to all those players. These failures are rumored as ideal replacements to fill up the huge void created in experience, consistency & productivity,  due to the exodus of big three (Sanga’s about to happen). We all know those three were the major force behind almost every success in Test/ODI, in the past decade. 

The most recent SL success came in 2014 August, in the previous Test series against PAK. Opener Tharanga played a series winning role in the decider, being the highest contributor in batting, scoring sparkling 92 & 45 runs glazed with 17 boundaries. In the limited opportunity given after 7 year cold storage, UT displayed his potential in Test cricket, with a productive batting stint with two near-hundred top scores (against two formidable bowling attacks), seen from any SL Opener for 8 months since January 2014.  Those 4 innings were the longest opportunity UT was given to play CONSECUTIVELY in any format for almost 2 years to date, since his ODI career was virtually STALLED by Sanath, since mid-2013 (allowing just  randomly scattered 4 solitary ODIs, months apart during the past 2 years).

Despite UT’s overall batting contributions in previous 2-series Vs SA/Pak (3rd highest accumulator with 306 runs @ 38 Av) plus top form in Premier division & only Opener who had scored a Ton in any format in NZ up to then (without new field restriction rule benefit), he was axed from the Test squad to tour NZ. Instead, Dimuth was selected again as Opener, with no justification whatsoever, cruelly denying the definite place that he earned with his bat! 

Upul in season 2014 - 4 Tests - 8 in - 306 r- 92 HS- 38.25 Av - 84 Vs SA / 92 Vs Pak and helped to win a series in the short stint given to him & deservedly EARNED a spot as an Opener in Tests to continue. Yet, he was shockingly eliminated from the Test squad selected to tour NZ in December (previous series winning highest contributor was overlooked for the first time in World Cricket history) by Sanath & Co.), which ended up in a humiliating 2-0 disaster!

Dimuth repeatedly failed to deal with the seam attack in both formats, ending up with a string of low scores, managing  just 176 runs from 12 innings @ 14.6 Av in Test/ODI in NZ & WC series (except for that solitary Lottery inning of 152 (thanks to the midwicket sub-fielder who floored the straightforward sitter at 10). Apart from that fluky 2nd inning which served no purpose in an already given away Test, he never managed to contribute a single significant score, despite getting 12 continuous chances at a trot (2 Tests & 8 ODIS) in playing XI in NZ & WC series. He was absurdly selected to open in ODIs in NZ & most vital WC series purely on a solitary Test inning fluked on a stroke of luck, overlooking the disasters that he caused in the outcome of Test series (with the blessings of his college mate Mathews & Selector SJ, who persisted with him).

You need to look at any performance through match outcome perspective. What's the use of once in a blue-moon fluky 152 (granted by a sub-fielder), if the same batter had already paved the way to decide the outcome of the Test match, triggering a total collapse (128 all out) in the first inning with a 4 ball duck resulting in a heavy defeat by 8 wickets? In the 2nd Test Dimuth’s contributions were no better, having scored just 16 & 17 resulting in another heavy defeat by 193 runs & costing the entire Test series Vs NZ with a shameful 2-0 rout. As seen from his recent performances, Dimuth’s repeated failures as an opener in Tests, ODI series in NZ (7 in - 106 r @ 15.14 Av - 65 S/R) & World Cup (4 ODI- 37 r @ 18.5 Av- 69 S/R) contributed heavily in TOTAL DISASTERS experienced by SL in NZ & WC ! 

Should Dimuth be selected to open again in forthcoming series, despite his disgusting failures contributing to SL’s heavy losses in both formats? Can you justify a mediocre player, who totally failed as an Opener to grab the unjustified consecutive opportunities granted recently in both formats by former selectors? Especially, after contributing to inflict heavy losses?

It seems, now they are looking back again at another couple of players who brought total misery to SL in ODIs/Tests in numerous opportunities given to them in recent times & another guy tried & failed over a decade, registering repeated failures against formidable international bowlers (averaging low 20s or below). Musical-chairs seems to be going on forever among some "within territory" privileged bunch, who were highly glorified on a few purple patches in domestic scene but constantly failed against world-class bowlers, outside.

The biggest question is, why look at any repeatedly tried & failed Youth & Old, purely on domestic purple blooms, while the most experienced & Productive international career remaining in our resources was unjustly put on hold for more than 2 years at just 30 years?

If not for the territory based peculiar selection practices (well-known in SL), at 28 years Tharanga should have been leading the side after MJ/Dilly & Sanga, on seniority & credentials based merit. But, instead he was totally axed from the international scene just a month after registering SL’s 2nd quickest 5,000 runs in ODIs. Then he was repeatedly overlooked for 14 squads selected to play internationals during the past 2 years up to WC, denying him any reasonable opportunity to play at international level.  

For the sake of SL cricket, New selectors should look at this discrepancy & unjustly treatment, before anything else & hopefully RECTIFY the mess caused in SL Opening spot due to wasteful mismanagement & personal agenda oriented power abuse, by previous selection regime.  

None can deny or question UT's ability/technique to deal with the new ball seam in any condition as an Opener, on deliberate misconceptions germinated in SL (selectively criticizing him for occasional edges common to all openers), because he has one of the best productivity credentials for an opener achieved in the trade & among the BEST high-scoring frequency credentials recorded in the WORLD among openers..  

Most of all, UT has Solid Track-record Credentials, sparkling with World’s HIGHEST number of FIFTY-plus scores (THIRTYSEVEN) registered by any opener during the 7-year period up to his unfortunate omission in 2013. He has the 3rd BEST high scoring frequency of a 50+ in every 3.8 inning, only behind Tendulkar 3.0 & GC Smith (SA) 3.2, among all Openers who had scored more than 30 such productive scores over 50, during those 7 years.

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?batting_positionmax1=2;batting_positionmax2=2;batting_positionmin1=1;batting_positionmin2=1;batting_positionval1=batting_position;batting_positionval2=batting_position;class=2;filter=advanced;orderby=innings;qualmin1=2000;qualval1=runs;spanmax1=31+Dec+2012;spanmin2=01+Jan+2005;spanval1=span;spanval2=span;template=results;type=batting

This proves Upul's productivity as an Opener & currently at just 30 years, he is the most experienced international opener in the whole World today, with 141 ODI innings as opener, scoring 4,615 runs @ 34.27 Av- 74.01 SR - 174* HS -12 x100- 25 x 50. He had faced the HIGHEST number of deliveries (6,623) among current openers in the World, dealing with new ball attack from best in the trade of seam bowling. These facts are more than enough to disprove baseless misconceptions!  Most of all he is still young (in middle of his career), with at least 7 years of productive career remaining for the future.

It is interesting to note, that @ 30 years, Upul Tharanga had scored MORE RUNS (5,339 runs) & 50+ scores (41 x50+ including Tons) in his 168 ODI Innings than Champion SL Batters (@ the same stage of their careers) in the caliber of:

Sangakkara (5,274 runs / 40 x50+),
Mahela (4,666 runs/ 29 x50+),
Dilshan (4,915 runs / 28 x50+)
or any former stars such as
Aravinda (4,802 runs – 37 x50+),
Sanath (4,582 runs/ 37 x50+)        @ the same stage of their careers (in their 168 th ODI inning).!

Any blind would see, Tharanga is the best assert SL Cricket currently have in their invested resources remaining from the past, for the future. Sanath’s regime already wiped valuable Two years of that career, destabilizing the opening spot, just for the sake of portraying his own image through a look-alike.  That saga ultimately ended up in a hilarious clown show, flattening all SL hopes at WC Quarter Final (wasting the career best massive efforts seen from Sanga & Dilshan, who towed the entire team up to that stage).

New Selectors under “yaha paalanaya” have to clean up the mess first.

If they overlook Opener Tharanga again, preferring “Billboard” champs over him in ODIs & Tests….  that could be the crime of century & would certainly resulted in disaster to the side, missing the shoulders of of experienced big three (who pulled 90% of the load of producing long innings in both formats)!
 

Comments

delan82's picture
Member since:
18 October 2009
Last activity:
16 hours 49 min

On what basis do you honestly expect anyone to take this seriously especially when your last paragraph alludes to leaving Upul Tharanga out of the side as possibly "the crime of the century".
Guess it would be a bigger crime than ISIS beheading those that do not follow them, or a civilian plane being shot out of the sky or anything like that. Tharanga not selected would be the biggest tragedy of them all!

Well if you have paid attention you would see Upul Tharanga has been selected in the Board XI squad to take on Pakistan prior to the Test series. So are the selectors completely ignoring him as you say?

What's interesting is that you mention a certain 34 year old also being selected in the squad. Today in 2015 most of the civilised world try not solely make decisions based on things like age, race, colour, religion, sex etc. Because to do so would would be discrimination and if the organisation (in this case SLC) was proven to do so would have repercussions.
Sadly some of the world including several people on Island Cricket are stuck with the old of of date mentality and are happy to keep discriminating and victimising.

The reality is if the are 24, or 34, or even 44 and eligible for international selection and put runs on board, or wickets in the bank consistently they have to be equally considered.
This 34 year old you are talking about is not a favourite with many of the general public, myself included, but he has in last couple of years put the runs on the board and has to be given equal consideration, which is what the selectors have done.

Some players performances deteriorate with age, others get better. Graham Gooch was better closer to 40 than he was in his 20s. Even for Sri Lanka Hashan, and Thilan were better Test batsmen when they were older tahn when they first had a crack at international cricket.
How good has Sangakkara's last 12-18 months or so been? Some even asking him to continue. So you can't use age as the sole excuse or reason to exclude someone.
Yes you need to keep an eye on the future, but you also need to reward those who are performing consistently.

The argument regarding Dimuth is another interesting one. You have chosen to group his ODI and Test performances together than deal with them separate because otherwise you would need to mention his scores in his last Test series including a maiden ton. Do we discard the player after they have battled/struggled through and now scored a maiden ton?
The fact he was later injured means the onus is on him to show he has regained fitness and reproduce the Test innings from NZ.

Dimuth the ODI player we all know was a mess and he should not have been in WC squad without playing sufficient games leading into it to prove he had what it takes at that level. But that is the fault of previous selection panel and perhaps the head coach given he made comments about "WC opener being selected by NZ Tests"

if your talking Test team i'm surprised you went after just Dimuth and not Kaushal Silva also. Kaushal needs to make a big score and convert his starts which he has not done. He would seem at big risk of losing his spot if this pattern continues.

Let's see how the top order for the Board XI goes against Pakistan, and who grasps their chances, and then the the subsequent selections for Test series.

Yamasana's picture

unfair treatment given to an assertive player like tharanga is a mega crime as pointed out in the blog. i agree with the writer, who can justify the 2 year blackout imposed on such a career? obviously deliberate. all Sanath did was, messing up the team balance according to his personal goals & fancies abusing power. the ultimate looser was SL.

anyone with a brain has to read any article completely and grasp the essence the writer intended. selectively dissecting it to sentences and looking at it in a different perspective is misinterpreting. i think it is stupid.

recalling a player at 34 is ok, if he had done anything significant in the past at international level. but recalling someone, already tried for zillion times and discarded as a total failure outside domestic scene is absurd. If the domestic high is the sole criteria for selection, it is better off trying a totally new guy like TAM Siriwardana ((Badureliya Sports Club) who leads the domestic batting record in current Premier League Tournament, 2014/15. :))

LDK's picture

Why Upul's superb credentials and enormous experience as an opener counts for nothing? why are they treating such a player proved his worth on the same level as other fringe players nowhere near him in international career achievements?

should he secure his place again with a big score in one-off 3-day game hurdle?

what about his series winning previous performances with 92+45 against the same opponents just a few months ago, which counted for nothing to secure even a place in the squad?

why giving him another hurdle instead of a window of opportunity with a few consecutive chances to regain his rhythm, that he was already deprived for couple of years?

delan82's picture
Member since:
18 October 2009
Last activity:
16 hours 49 min

Well we now know the Test squad. Mubarak in it, UT not.
The 3rd paragraph says why, and its batting rather than fielding: http://tinyurl.com/nhvd5bq
what will be interesting to see is if this time he makes the most of this opportunity starting with this 3 day game, or he allows those other contenders to take the spot. His previous inclusions were questionable at times, but here there is runs on the board in last 2 seasons. He has to probably score well in the practice game to get into the final XI.

As for UT he has to do same, keep piling on runs at domestic level, and when selected for a against touring sides or for an A side make the most of it with a big knock.

Anonymous's picture

one thing is for sure. there is no recognition to what tharanga had done during all these years. he is always considered in the same level with rookies, repeated failures and opportunity wasting lucky guys who get numerous consecutive chances despite becoming deadweight to the team. what a waste of talent? no matter what you have done or how good, u need to born in a right place and have right connections to get a place in sl in any field, not only cricket.

interesting to see what these new selectors would do to him.

Stormy's picture
Member since:
15 January 2011
Last activity:
23 hours 40 min

So we change the selectors and the UT story remains the same. I thought we blamed the previous selectors for UT and now if the new selectors also have a similar view - may be its time to quetion your logic or obsession with UT.

Rambari's picture

Mubarak, Kusal, Kithuruwan all in..... why not Rambukwella?

Anonymous's picture

i think tharanga's career is over. as seen in the odis they certainly have earmarked people for his spot. as evident from selections, leaving him without chances is the best possible way to stop him from reclaiming his place with good scores. they must have learn that lesson from his last year Test performances, during that tiny window open to him with 4 consecutive tests.

Kithuruwan over dikwella shows that they are securing the keeping job for kusal and a place for kithuruwan.

Yamasana's picture

HumbleBee is always right & his predictions were on the dot as seen in previous blogs, which were proved 100% true at later times.

Just Look at Dimuth's LATEST GATE-OPENING "achievement" in practice game :))

FDM Karunaratne - lbw b Junaid Khan 0 Runs - 2 Balls

New Selectors, please carry forward the MARVELOUS Job done by Santh's Sssss.... Election committee.!

SL will bloom in the sky in near future with superheroes like Muba, Kusal, kithuruwan & maybe Bhanuka & Rambukwella as well ..etc..

Anonymous's picture

As seen in the 3 day practice match:

Tharanga - 35 runs 65 balls with 6x4 (2nd highest scorer in 1st inning)

2nd innings - retired out 50 (53b 8x4 0x6) SR: 94.33 plus 3 superb catches.

Excellent performance in one-off opportunity given him to play at least in a side game.

But he will never get any reasonable chance to play internationals, as seen from the disgusting selection policies continuing in SL.

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