Sri Lanka's seniors need to give up one format — Arnold

Russel Arnold responds to questions from fans in his weekly column
January 20, 2013

Russel Arnold believes Sri Lankan seniors should no longer be playing every match. © AFP

There has been a lot of talk lately that seniors including Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan should retire from all formats. I completely disagree with that. What is your opinion?Malith Harshika Gulawita

They would need to give up one format in order to still be able to deliver consistently at their age. They cannot go on playing every game, including private tournaments. Sangakkara should play Tests, and Dilshan and Mahela should focus on the shorter form, but all three have a role to play come the 2015 World Cup.

Should senior players be rested for Bangladesh's upcoming tour of Sri Lanka?Arshad Hameem

I feel that most should be rested, but we must play a couple of seniors to help guide the youngsters. I would suggest adding Prasanna Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera in the list of 'seniors' along with Sangakkara, Jayawardene and Dilshan.

If you were a selector, what would your Test and ODI batting line-up be if you take out Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Lasith Malinga, Thilan Samaraweera, Nuwan Kulasekara and Mahela Jayawardene, as well as other players who are over 30, from the team?Sahan Dikmadugodage

Test: Dimuth Karunaratne, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Kushal Perera, Angelo Perera, Shaminda Eranga, Suranga Lakmal, Chanaka Welegedara, Tharindu Kaushal. ODIs: Dimuth Karunaratne, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Kushal Perera, Angelo Perera,Thisara Perera, Shaminda Eranga, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Malinga.

Why are we giving plenty of chances to Upul Tharanga, when we can train a youngster in his place for the 2015 World Cup? Do you agree? What are your thoughts on this?Bhuvith Shetty

Upul has scored lots of vital runs, but has been disappointing in this series so far. I hope he can turn it around. He needs to work harder on his game and his weaknesses. I will stick with him for a little while longer, and hope he ups his game.

Will there be a post-mortem of all events and decisions surrounding our team's tour of Australia? Nothing worked well during the three Test matches, especially the batting, where they were batting like crazy school cricketers. I read one comment from one of our opening batsmen, saying that a 150-run target for the second innings during the Sydney Test is sufficient to win the match. Comments like this highlights the lack of knowledge of the opponents completely. Why have the Sri Lankan cricket board sent a team that is so unprepared to face Australia? Is it because we do not have enough talent in Sri Lanka or any other reason?Nihal Ekanayake

Everyone is trying to do their best out there. With packed schedules these days, it's tough to get more preparation in. The best available team did go out. I really don't think we need to waste time having a post-mortem. It's a fresh start after this tour and Sri Lanka need to look ahead.

Why won't Kumar Sangakkara accept captaincy again, does the team feel he should retire soon?Manjula Matin

No, but I think the best way forward is to look to the future with a young captain who will bring in a new energy and attitude.

I'm a young fast bowler, and I would like to know where I can learn how to swing the ball both ways, control the swing, bowl reverse-swing and learn more fast-bowling variations? Also, what is the average speed for a 15-year-old fast bowler?Dananjaya Perera

Pace alone will not help you. Variations with control, and learning to use those variations at the right time, is the way to go. The basics should be learnt at your home club. You need to use your imagination for variations, and keep working hard to practice the execution to perfect your variations. Speaking to senior bowlers, and picking their brains helps heaps.

Ask Russel Arnold a question »

© Island Cricket


Confused's picture

These Q & A columns from Russel are really invaluable. Well done IC for facilitating his input.

Stormy's picture
Member since:
15 January 2011
Last activity:
1 day 11 hours

Tharange is a concern as he was on the last Aus your where he was dropped down the order and the same factors are showing up again. That weakness outside the off stump is too easily exposed by the bowlers and I wonder if 2015 Aus is an option for him.

I have little idea about the fast bowlers advice but one thing I will highlight is the importance of the action and wrist position. It is critical the role the wrist position plays in controling the movement and swing. Put it this way if you dont have control over the wrist position you will have very little idea or control of what you are doing.

Confused's picture

With the number of centuries that Tharanga has scored, one would have thought that he should have been an automatic selection. That he is not however, Tharanga alone has to shoulder the blame for.

These days, especially in the short formats, there is simply no room for one dimensional players and they do not come more 1D than Upul.

There are two aspects that hurt his cause. The first is his fielding, in which Upul remains average at best. He has been the same standard throughout his career which is an indication that he has either never attempted to improve in this area, or has been incapable of doing so.

If you take the top players who contribute only with the bat, the vast majority of them have also been cracking fielders or at least very good fielders. So you know that even if they fail with the bat, which is always going to be more than they succeed, they are still capable of contributing in the field. Think Warner, Kohli, Mike Hussey, de Villiers, du Plessi, Mahela, Umar Akmal, Morgan etc. Then take those batsmen who also contribute with the ball a bit and who are also top fielders: Dilshan, Pietersen, David Hussey, Clarke, Raina, Pollard and the list goes on. It is a list that Upul will not make.

The other big minus point is his strike rate. In the instances that he has gone on to make big scores, Upul's strike rate has been quite good. The problem though is that his SR improves greatly only in the second half of his innings. So if he was to get out in the 10th or even 20th over, he effectively would have used up a lot of balls for very little contribution. In other words, he can often hurt the team cause in those instances where he doesn't go on to make a big one, and or where he does not get dismissed early in the innings before eating up too many deliveries.

On top of this, one has to only look at the new kids on our block who appear to be all energetic fielders, which means that Upul is in danger of becoming an endangered species at age 27.

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