Beating the skipper on top & leaving batters to nap is the right answer to SL's ailing instant cricket?

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There are some news reports in Sinhala media, speculating a change in ODI captaincy before the forthcoming series Vs India.

As indicated, Tharanga would be happily handover his barbed-wire crown to anyone, if the new selectors decide to keep SL Cricket's unending musical-chairs party going on further, as preferred by former selectors.

The question to be asked is, beating the skipper on on Top & leaving the batters to nap is the right answer for SL's Odi standard decline prevailing for more than 2 years now?  Upul had virtually led the Odi side only in 3 complete series Vs SA, BD & PK (Vs India only 3/5 matches he played due to suspension). He won the away triangular (vs WI, Zmb) series in Zmb, becoming the only SL skipper to win such a series on debut as skipper. But Mathews, who led the side in all 3 formats (including 2 world cups in 2015 & 16 & ICC-CT in 2017)  for a period extended from mid 2013 to 2017 over 4 years, even failed to to avoid a history making series defeat humiliation against the same Zmb side on our home soil, just a few months after Tharanga recorded the triangular series win in Zmb.

The naked fact is, stripping the captaincy from Tharanga would not resolve the severe underline problem continuously had with a brittle batting unit. They were unable to put up even 230-50 runs on the board in the past couple of series Vs Ind & Pk (10 odis). Tharanga had to lead this half strength side in both series vs ICC No1 side India & 2017 ICC-CT trophy champs Pk, with a bunch of brittle batting failures who occupied several spots from No 1 to 7 in a significantly depleted side, nowhere near its full strength in batting and bowling (lacking regular OdI guys such as Asela, Mathews, KJP, Pradeep, Dhanajaya etc.). 

But Skipper Tharanga fought hard & led his side from front, becoming the most productive SL Odi batter since Aug 2016, in regular run-making with 2x100+ scores made in away series vs formidable sides (SA in SA & Pk) & 6 x 50+ scores. Upul Tharanga had scored 944 runs @ 47 Av - 84 SR -  2x 100 -  6 x 50 from 25 Odi innings and tops the SL batting list in run making and batting average in past 15 months since August 2016 among top-order No1-5 batters.

It was a well accepted fact that the series whitewash vs Pk was mainly due to, SL batting failures among top 7 in this series (Chandi 5- 41, Thisara 5-91, Dickwella 5-62, Siri 5- 24, Mendis 2-12, Sadeera 2-0, Kapu 1- 18). They collectively managed just 248 runs from 25 innings @ 9.92 Av in entire 5-odi series. NO side can win matches with this kind of batting unit.!

Only Upul Tharanga (5 odis - 199 runs - 50 Av-  1x 100+ & 1 x 50+) & Thirimanne (5 odi - 174 runs @ 35 Av - 2 x 50+) had scored some runs in the 5-Odi series Vs Pk.

Odi skipper Upul Tharanga became the first SL batsman to carry his bat out in an Odi match when he scored an unbeaten 112* out of his team’s score of 187 in the second match Vs Pak at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. Despite surviving a couple of chances given in his inning, Tharanga fought hard until the end to bring a victory for SL, but unfortunately ran out of partners & stranded at the end just short of 32 runs.

Upul contributed 59.89 percent of  team’s total which was only the 2nd highest after Australian Damian Martyn’s innings of 116 not out in a total of 191 which contributed 60.73 of his team’s total. Overall, Tharanga became only the 11 th batsman to achieve the feat in ODIs (50 overs).

Tharanga and Vandarsay (22) put up a fighting 76-run 8th wicket stand. Tharanga rose to the occasion and tried his best to single handedly win the match for SL. But with last two batsman were ran out, he couldn't pull out one of the most stunning wins of his career. If at least one of the top 7 batters managed to stay with him for a little while scoring at least 20 runs like tailender Vandersay did, the 32 runs deficit could have been easily wiped off to win the match.  Similar thing happened in SA after Upul's knock of 119 made @ 132 SR and putting up 139 for the 1st wkt in 16 ovs & raising it to 216 for 2 wkts before getting out, leaving just 150 more to score,with 7 wkts in hand. But fell short by 40 runs. If SL batting unit had a single batter or two who could have supported Tharanga's efforts, with some substantial contribution in those matches, both series Whitewashes Vs SA & Pk would have been easily avoided. 

SL suffered 10 consecutive series defeats (including 2015 WC & 2017 ICC-CT) from 12 series played under Mathews, since Jan 2015 with full-strength side (including Dilly & Sanga in most part of his tenure) in operation (except the most productive Odi batter since Nov 2016 Tharanga, Upul was repeatedly overlooked & missed 10  series squads in Odis since Jan 2015 to 2016 Nov under Mathews). Upul was given just a couple of solitary matches as opener & other random 8 odis were given in lower order in the tail from No 7 or 8 over 2+ yrs, under Mathews since 2015 .

SL had completed 20 Odis under Tharanga since Nov 2016 and won 4 odis (won triangular series in Zmb & BD leveled the series that could have easily won by SL, if not for the rain ruined decider almost won in Dambulla) & lost 14 (2 matches lost without Upul playing due to suspension Vs Ind series). The prime cause for those losses is clearly evident from batting records. From the lost 16 Odis, only TWICE Sri Lanka had managed to put up a score beyond 250 (that was in SA ). In all other 14 odi losses SL had only managed pathetic totals ranging from 101 to 238 (7 innings under 200 runs) mostly on 300+ required perfect batting wickets. This was clearly due to incapable batters occupying the entire middle-order, as proven yet again in this whitewash.

The biggest disappointments for SL, undoubtedly, have been Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Mendis. Both had a splendid 2016 scoring runs although Mathews couldn't materialize wins fore SL, despite regular contributions from batters.   

But their contributions have nosedived since then. Chandimal had scored only 255 runs from 14 innings at 18.21 at a pathetic strike rate of 59.16. He has gone past 50 just once and that remains his only innings to come at a strike rate in excess of 80 playing under Upul. Kusal Mendis was considered a worthy successor to Kumar Sangakkara at No 3 but he failed to hold onto his spot in the last three matches against Pak after failing to score a 50 in his 10 previous innings.

As time will prove, changing the pillow would not resolve SL cricket`s headache. I am not a soothsayer, but read my previous blogs to find the 100% accuracy of my predictions so far published over two years :)


Anonymous's picture

For the record i actually agree with you that changing the captain here is meaningless, but lets not nitpick stats and call them FACTS.

So since we are talking FACTS here. Out of 22 matches Upul has captained so far he has lost 18 matches. That's a 81.8% loss percentage. That's abysmal. He has lost to 5-0 to South africa, India, and Pakistan. He played in every single match in all of those series.

Honestly, I hope all the best for Upul in the future he has the ability and is leading the team up front(40.50 Batting average as captain), but he and the selectors need to have a clear plan if we are going to win.

References its filtered for as captain.



MDKJulius Caesar's picture
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Ho ho Hooo ... I feel your shame buddy ... a typical sign of a looser who cannot counter an argument, with appropriate substance :))))

cricexp's picture
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2 hours 38 min

The issue here u and tharanga both are shameless..whatu need to understand is his days are numbered..once he chased from test squad we started to win he sacked from t20 team and its just matter of a time till he kicked out of ODI team as well...i feel sorry for u because u have been going shopping for Upul for last few years and it all has come to an end with you are being the loosing end....

MDKJulius Caesar's picture
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@ Anonymous (not verified) on November 17, 2017 - 05:47. #11

You are wrong mate. Upul had played ONLY 3 matches in the series Vs India due to 2 match suspension fell on him (Kapugedara led the other 2 matches).

Here are the corrections:

The only 5-0 losses suffered under Upul were vs ICC No2 ranked South africa in SA and 2017 ICC-CT Champs Pakistan.

Your calculations are completely wrong in lost matches percentage too.

Upul had played 22 matches as captain & lost 16 matches (not 18 as you say).
The losing percentage is 16/22 x100 = 72% (Not 81% as you say).

The losses were; 6 against SA in SA & in CT / 5 Vs Pk/ 3 vs India/ 1 vs BD / 1 vs WI = 16 matches.

Basically as I have pointed out in my article, Upul had lead the full strength side in a complete series were only vs SA & Triangular in Zmb & Vs BD

Out of it SL lost only vs SA in SA as every other nation suffered there.

Other full series Vs Pk was played leading a side nowhere near full strength (same depleted side in 3 matches vs India other 2 matches were even without upul).

Lost matches as Captain

Total matches as Captain:

(Last edited by MDKJulius Caesar on November 18, 2017 - 11:13)
Anonymous's picture

Yeah, I see where I went wrong, but you cant make an excuse about not having a full strength side. That ridiculous. I can make that same argument for Mathews and all the captains before him. Upul him self didn't make any excuses for his losses besides playing poor cricket. Fact still remains he is loosing a vast majority of the matches and he is accountable because he is the captain. I personally don't think he should be removed as captain, but I understand if the selectors go that way and at the end of the day the selectors know better than you and me.

Anonymous's picture

On top of that your the total matches are not 22 as that includes matches that are no result as well. It was the mistake I made when i calculated my win loss. You cant include them in your 16/22.

If We get rid of that the match number comes down to 20. 16 our of 20 is still 80%. with no tied results in that time.

Number of matches played with no results.;class=2;home_or_away=1;home_or_away=2;home_or_away=3;result=1;result=2;spanmax1=17+Nov+2017;spanmin1=17+Nov+2015;spanval1=span;template=results;type=allround;view=innings

MDKJulius Caesar's picture
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Best ranked SL Odi Openers in 2017 from Jan according to their overall productivity.

1) WU Tharanga - 14 matches/ 606 runs / 46.61 av/ 87.19 SR/ 2 -100/ 3-50

2) D Gunathilaka- 12 matches/ 509 runs / 42.41 av/ 83.85 SR/ 1-100/ 4-50

3) N Dickwella - 22 matches/ 770 runs/ 35.00 av/ 95.06 SR/ 2-100/ 4-50

Mr X had published a recent blog titled how to reboot SL ODIs with minor adjustments make the best XI available for SL....

I have adjusted Mr X 's suggestion as follows:

Lakmal or Nuwan Pradeep should be included. Upul Should Open with Dickka or come at No3 to make the best use of his front-order batting. As the performance record shows Upul is the most successful opener during past year.

As mr X says, Reboot to the Best XI and Stay with this XI for at least a series or two and you are Guaranteed to see results- Full Strength side would produce instant results.
The bottom line is, No skipper could win matches with a depleted XI nowhere near full strength, as happened in recent Pk & India series,

1. Upul Tharanga(Batsman)(Captain)
2. Niroshan Dickwella(W)(Batsman)
3. Danushka Gunathilaka(All-Rounder)
4. Kusal Mendis(Batsman)
5. Angelo Mathews(All-Rounder)/Dasun Shanaka(All-Rounder)(If Angelo is Injured at the time)
6. Kusal Perera(Batsman)
7. Asela Gunaratne(All-Rounder)
8. Jeffrey Vandersay(Right-Arm Leg-Spin)
9. Akila Dananjaya (Right-Arm Off/Leg-Spin)
10.Vishwa Fernando (Left-Arm Fast-Medium)(140Km/h +)
11.Lahiru Gamage (Right-Arm Medium-Fast)

(Last edited by MDKJulius Caesar on November 18, 2017 - 21:21)
MDKJulius Caesar's picture
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@Anonymous (not verified) on November 18, 2017 - 19:30. #16

You are completely wrong again mate :). You calculated the lost percentage adding the no result 2 matches also as lost matches considering it as 18/22 instead of 16/22. This is completely wrong.

But my calculation is based on the accepted norms. Even a match get abandoned halfway, it is considered as a played match for all statistical purposes (ie: batting Av, Bowling Av of individuals, individual scores & team totals, skipper's record etc etc,.)
it is legitimately counted as a played match under Tharanga, but never can be considered as a won match or lost match under him as you did.

Therefore my calculation is correct. FYI This is how it goes in official records:

Total matches played under Tharanga = 22 odis

Lost matches = 16 (Lost percentage 16/22 = 72.7 %)

Won matches = 4 (Won percentage 4/22 = 18.2 %)

No Result Matches= 2 (no result percentage 2/22 = 9.1 %)

(Last edited by MDKJulius Caesar on November 20, 2017 - 01:02)
MDKJulius Caesar's picture
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@Anonymous (not verified) on November 18, 2017 - 19:30. #16

You cannot make the same argument for Mathews, because his failure record spread over past 2 years, even with the strongest full strength batting unit including Sanga /MJ/ Dilly in the side in 2015 for NZ series & WC etc.

In Odis Under Mathews SL played 10 series since Jan 2015 & here are the series results:

Played - 10 series

Lost - 8 (WC, 2x NZ, Eng, 2xPk, Aus, Zmb) = 80% series Losses

Won - 2 ( vs Ireland & 3rd string WI side visited SL in 2015) = 20% Series Won

5 Odi series played under Tharanga as initially appointed captain :

Played = 5 series

Lost - 3 (Vs Pk, Ind, SA) = 60% series losses mainly due to depleted side vs PK/Ind

Won- 1 (Triangular vs Zm/WI)= 20% Won series

Tied- 1 (Vs BD) = 20% Tied series (could have won the series if not for a certain victory in decider was aborted by rain in Dambulla. Then the winning percentage would have been 40%)

Anyhow, It is too early to evaluate Tharanga's ability as skipper. Give him a decent side to play another 3 - 4 series and then judge his true potential as skipper. This is my suggestion. Otherwise it is a meaningless unfair judgement.

(Last edited by MDKJulius Caesar on November 20, 2017 - 02:02)
Anonymous's picture

Hey @ Cricexp:..!

As u say... kick-out the only consistent run-maker in our odi side, after making near thousand runs for SL in this year. that will surely kick start the winning trend in matches with supreme star class performers like bindumal, test playing odi player kirimanna, nisaru perera, kaput gedara and opponents figured out nonperforming menda etc.

Ane nikan idapan gong Cricexpert ... find a job at pizzaexpert if u have nothing better to do man :D

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