When stats don't mean a thing

Was Dinesh Chandimal the right choice?
By Nuwan Peiris | March 21, 2013

PhotoThe intent was to silence critics who questioned Dinesh Chandimal's place in the T20 side and his selection as T20 skipper by presenting his T20 stats. If you have seen his stats, you can imagine how quiet I had become after pondering over them.

After making his T20 debut in April 2010, Chandimal was picked for the ODI side a month later, and he completed the trifecta with his Test debut in Sri Lanka's historic Boxing Day Test victory in South Africa in 2011, in which he scored a fifty in both innings.

While we most certainly must laud his accomplishments, acknowledge his potential and admire his exciting stroke play, as well as take into consideration the fact that he can contribute both with a willow in his hand and behind the stumps, the fact remains that Chandimal's T20 record is poor. In 14 matches, he has made 178 runs at an average of 14.83, and possesses a career strike-rate under 100, which can be considered unacceptable in the T20 format for a batsman taking up a crucial top-order position. If you detract his lone half-century, his average drops to 11.

Chandimal does however bring excitement to the game with his dashing strokes, and T20 cricket is often thought of as a young man's game. It is an energetic, action-packed format that has served as a testing ground for younger players. It is therefore fitting to have a young captain in a form of the game that will most likely to be dominated by younger players.

With a young skipper, fresh ideas may well be ushered in, and going by the way Chandimal bats, it is plausible to expect him to be unafraid to take risks, while at the same time being fearless to trying out new tactics, which is why picking him as T20 skipper could well be a wise move.

The recently concluded Test series against Bangladesh underscored the importance of seniors in the side and that they are still good enough to hold on to their places, yet there is the inevitability of a batting order that will not include the seniors in the near future. Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dimuth Karunaratne and Chandimal are likely to form the backbone of Sri Lanka's batting line up in all three formats at the very latest by 2015. Given this, there is a need to start placing more responsibility on the shoulders of these four. Merely expecting them to play more responsibly is insufficient and imprudent. They must take on leadership roles too, and there is no better time to do it than now. When not one, but three former captains are still playing, the guidance that a young and inexperienced captain will receive will no doubt be in abundance.

When one subtracts those who do not want captaincy (Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan), and then takes away others who aren't thought of as captaincy material (Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera), the selectors are left with the obvious choices: Chandimal and Mathews.

Division of labour is the in thing these days. Everyone is doing it. From Australia to England and South Africa to Pakistan; split-captaincy appears to be the way to go. It is indeed logical from a sanity point of view. 'Burnout' is a buzzword in the cricketing world of late, and with so much cricket being played, it makes no sense for one individual to be burdened with the pressures of captaincy for all three forms of the game, all year round. It is a decision that had to be made for the physical and mental wellbeing of the captain.

The opportunity to prove himself will arrive in less than a fortnight, but with not many T20 fixtures on the horizon thereafter, the next opportunity is many months away. If given the time to adjust to his new role, his mediocre T20 stats will improve and he will justify his selection as Sri Lanka's new T20 captain.

© Island Cricket

Comments

Sulaimaan's picture
Member since:
3 December 2010
Last activity:
2 years 11 weeks

With Chandimal as T20 captain, does it mean Sanga's T20 international career is over?SL cannot afford to have both in the playing XI at the same time.

(Last edited by Sulaimaan on March 21, 2013 - 04:25)
Perrygee's picture

(Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan) do not want captaincy....??? What a funny thing to say..

RPG's picture
Member since:
7 December 2008
Last activity:
3 years 40 weeks

@Perrygee: They all quit captaincy they dont want it.

Nu's picture

@perrygee: I'm fairly sure they have all explicitly said that they don't want the captaincy.

@sulaimaan: I don't see why Sanga and Chandimal can't both stay in the side. As long as have guys like Angelo, Jeevan, Dilshan in the side, I think we can afford a few "Classical" batsmen to make sure the runs keep flowing without slogging sixes every over.

CGI's picture
Member since:
25 May 2012
Last activity:
2 years 42 weeks

Personally I want to keep Chandimal & Thirimanna away from T20s. I'm afraid that we may loose our best test prospects due to this T20 exposure. We can find more than enough T20 players within our domestic setup.

Theekshana Somaratna's picture
Member since:
14 April 2012
Last activity:
5 years 21 weeks

@Sulaiman : i agree with you. but then i also see that KS strike rate is actually 120 which is quite decent for his role.

@CGI : i share your concern with how T20 will affect the young players but i actually dont think that we have enough T20 talent of international calibre to have a different squad. case in point Munaweera.

@Author : i respectfully disagree on the title :) stats mean that Chandi has to work on his short form batting including looking for singles and rotating strike and more selective stroke play. agree though thats its an incomplete picture. good points btw :)

(Last edited by Theekshana Somaratna on March 21, 2013 - 06:50)
CGI's picture
Member since:
25 May 2012
Last activity:
2 years 42 weeks

This might be a pretty stupid idea :) but I really want to keep Sanga, Chandi & Thiri away from T20s.

My T20 Squad
T.M Dilshan, Kushal Janith, Mahela Jayawardana, Angelo Perera, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Jeewan Mendis, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Shaminda Eranga, Schithra Senanayaka, Ajantha Mendis, Akila Dananjaya,

The list above includes 4 batsmen, 3 allrounders, 3 seamers, 3 spinners and all together 13. I'm sure we can find few young talents who can stand with these guys(Kithruwan, Niroshan Dikwella, etc.). So I think we can tryout a T20 squad without Sanga, Chandi and Thiri. What I want is to keep proper batsmen away from T20s and help them to focus on their main challenge.

UppercuT's picture
Member since:
19 October 2011
Last activity:
2 years 4 weeks

Keeping aside the 'workload' fact for a moment,,,
In my view for a player to be considered a 'true great' he MUST adapt and excel in ALL 3 FORMATS! Am sure if Viv Richards, Gary Sobers played T20, they wud be as good as they were in Tests and ODIs.

So, should Chandi play/captain T20? Yes he HAS TO, if he s to prove he s next 'Mahela/Sanga'! A player's 'technique' deteriorating due to T20 is MYTH! Best examples are Kallis, SRT, JAYAWARDENE! They play technically correct cricket and still are succesful in T20.

Should Sanga give up T20? Yes, NOT because he s bad at it, but to make way for a younger batter. T20 matches are the ideal experimenting grounds for letting new players to find their feet.

Theekshana Somaratna's picture
Member since:
14 April 2012
Last activity:
5 years 21 weeks

@Uppercut machan do you hold that player technique deteriorating due to T20 as a myth even for young cricketers? note that Kallis, SRT, MJ were all at least in their late twenties with well developed technique when the T20 "craze" started. i would say that we dont have sufficient data to decide one way or the other right now :)

UppercuT's picture
Member since:
19 October 2011
Last activity:
2 years 4 weeks

@Theekshana, sorry bro, i do think it's a myth, just like in the case of spinners(we talked abt in earlier blog), it's really up to the batsman to adjust his mentality.

If we are looking for a young cricketer example; we can look at Shaun Marsh; he made his IPL debut, BEFORE he made his Oz debut, and if u can remember him batting, i dont't remember single 'slog'. He just played within the 'V' and became the 3rd highest scorer that season.

Now if a batsman is makes a start to his cricket career, IN T20, without a decent first class record;(sloggers) Richard Levi, Dilshan Munaweera, Keiron Pollard, then of course players like them will struggle to cope with the demands of Test cricket and ODIs, cus they NEVER HAD THE TECHNIQUE in the first place.

On the other hand players like Chandi, Marsh, who ALREADY have a decent FC record and good technique to go along with it, will NOT be affected by T20 as long as they adapt without changing their style of play.

besides if do this segmentation of ; Test players; T20 players; ODI players;, wudn't we create more Samaraweeras? Still believe Sam cud've been someone like Jonathan Trott in SL ODI side, he never got the opportunity tho.

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