'Relieved to see the back of Sri Lanka's dimwit cricket selectors'

By Thiwanka Nagahawatte | April 12, 2015

The outgoing selection panel headed by Sanath Jayasuriya was appointed by the previous sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage and served for more than two years. © AFP PHOTO

Sri Lanka's outgoing selection panel was responsible for many peculiar selections and unusual omissions during their tenure, and a recent interview with a former selector, Pramodya Wickramasinghe, has provided much needed insight into their actions, which lacked any sense of intelligence.

Upul Tharanga, an experienced opening batsman with 13 ODI tons, was allocated just five ODI matches in all of 2014 because he supposedly has a weakness outside off stump. Tharanga was not good enough because of an issue with his technique, according to the former selectors.

Tharanga's replacement, Kusal Perera, failed miserably despite repeated opportunities. How is his technique? Perera's repeated failures has not been connected to a technical issue — why is that?

Interestingly, the selectors seem to suggest that they know plenty about batting technique and other coaching aspects, enough to not give players a fair opportunity to perform and prove their worth. Wickramasinghe, who reportedly has earned a reputation for being a thug, and the former chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya could focus on coaching jobs next. Would you hire them as coaches?

The claim that any batsman with as many centuries as Tharanga needed to be sidelined because of a weakness outside off stump should be ridiculed. It is an unacceptable excuse, especially when the selectors experimented and failed with a number of openers in ODIs yet could not provide Tharanga with more opportunities, and all because of their biased and distorted personal views of his technique. They gambled with their opening combination even at the World Cup 2015 quarter-final when they turned to Perera again, giving him another chance to open and bizarrely pushing Lahiru Thirimanne down the order.

The number of absurd decisions taken by this panel are many.

Soon after they took over, they chose to deprive Angelo Mathews of captaincy in all formats and appointed Dinesh Chandimal T20 captain. They axed Chandimal from the T20 side and stripped him of captaincy not long after. They chose to discard the player that they had felt was good enough to captain Sri Lanka at the World T20 in the middle of that tournament. Not only did they appoint a player who was not a regular in the T20 side as captain, but they changed captains in the middle of the T20 World Cup. Then, how can one forget the decision to pick Dimuth Karunaratne for the 2015 World Cup squad, which appeared to be entirely based on one knock — Karunaratne's Test century against New Zealand. That too was an embarrassing failure.

Apart from this, Wickramasinghe also admits in his chat with the Sunday Times in Sri Lanka that Jayasuriya's selection panel discarded a fast bowler from the national set up because the selectors felt he was "faking injuries".

"There is a fast bowler who is among the wickets and is alleged to be faking injuries," Wickramasinghe said. "When we found that out, we kept him out. He was out of the side for a while because of that reason. Then Sanath had a chat with him and brought him back.

"That is not the only instance, there have been several cases of this nature where we intervened and straightened things out."

One can only hope that the selectors relied on more than their perception to come to such conclusions. They could well have deprived Sri Lanka of a bowler that the team needed badly, simply because they felt he was "faking" an injury.

The dimwits the corrupt politicians from the previous regime picked as selectors lived in a bubble and got away with anything — even the selection of politicians' sons to national squads. Former cricketer Hashan Tillakaratne, a politician now and a selector in the previous panel, was able to see his son play for Sri Lanka Under-19, while the former defence spokesman and later media and information minister Keheliya Rambukwella's son too made it into preliminary World Cup squads.

Advising the new selectors in his recent interview, Wickramasinghe also insinuated that there is no quality talent in Sri Lanka to replace the retiring seniors. Only Angelo Mathews, according to Wickramasinghe, can hold a permanent place in the side amongst the junior players. And in a post-World Cup press conference recently, former chief selector Jayasuriya blamed Sri Lanka's inability to qualify for a World Cup final for the first time since 2007 on fitness. The former selectors have left Sri Lankan cricket in a mess and are making farcical excuses these days to cover up their incompetence.

There is plenty of talent in Sri Lanka. What Sri Lanka has been deprived of is competent individuals to manage that talent.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. Click here to submit your own opinion articles.

© Island Cricket



Anonymous's picture

ah another one from a Tharanga-fan boy... lol... u know there were 14 other players apart from Tharanga in that squad no? LOL

Tharangapalana's picture

Yep. Another Tharanga mate trying his level best using selectors ineptness as an excuse to put Tharangas case. What a load of baloney. Tharanga's inclusion will not bring success. He will let more runs through his best fielding. He won't even make a tangible contribution with the bat. Like someone said before. Upul has gone past his use by date.

Anonymous's picture

^^'Tharangapalana' :D :D :D

Anonymous's picture

Don't post unnecessary comments lad the writer said the truth tharanga is one of the best player that Sri Lanka products... he has lot more to give for motherland... very strange to see that some people doesn't know the value of some good players.. new odi rules enable batsman to increase their strike rate.... so we should give a consistance run for a person who played so many match winning knocks for Sri Lanka... at present in domestic circuit he is been good form.. danushka gunathilake. milinda siriwardane. kithruwan. chamara Silva. kapugedara. gihan rupasinghe. banuka rajapakshe played some brilliant knocks...

HumbleBee's picture
Member since:
9 March 2011
Last activity:
2 weeks 1 day

Completely agree with author's opinion, similar to what I have repeatedly stressed in many occasions in the long sequence of failures seen at the top, ran up to WC-QF, (started with the initial flop at ICC-CT-2013).

There are two types of posters commonly visible in these forums meant for public to express their views & opinions, with valid substance to back up their writings.

Also, clearly there is another set of people or individuals, who seem to have nothing else to do other than trying to call names, accuse writers who prick their illusive fan-bubble & threatening them with gutter-scribe and so on.

it is not hard to understand, why they idiotically engaged in such a desperate comical act. Obviously they have nothing in substance to counter any of the opinions expressed, as clearly seen in all those postings (commonly appear in a few names), limited to just hollow words generating from shallow minds.

No need to tell what is their illusive fan-bubble is. As we all know, there was only one such doom-destined dream-floater existed during the past 2 years, thanks to Jayasuriya's regime.

Just Ignore them, keep writing constructive ideas/criticism & let the readers decide what is right & what is wrong.... as seen in many such postings endorsed by readers exceeding well over 1,000 hits.

Anonymous's picture

what is more pathetic i do not understand:

creating a fake account and congratulating his/herself on some irrelevant stats?


a Tharanga-fanboys club resembling the blind teenage girls following justin beiber?


Neil Weerasekara's picture
Member since:
10 July 2011
Last activity:
2 weeks 17 hours

Article is not about Tharanga you fools!

Gonson's picture

I also thought Tharanga had a weakness both outside the off stump. But so did most of the Sri Lankan team. More relevantly he seemed to have problem in bouncy or seaming pitches.

Anyway, none of the younger generation have been consistent other than Mathews, and to some extent Thirimanne. So whoever was picked there would be a group that agreed and a group that disagreed. In hindsight, if Dimuth, Kusal and Upul were all dropped is there any guarantee their replacements would have succeeded?

One thing that was peculiar was the batting order in the WC Quarter finals!

Andrew Silva's picture
Member since:
15 February 2015
Last activity:
2 weeks 1 day

There were numerous logic defying sudden selections of bowlers, so called all-rounders & especially openers in the batting department were seen during SJ's autocratic 2 years as a selector. The inevitable end-result at the WC was clearly predicted long before.

Good to see a new selection panel with some neutral people. Hope they will mainly focus on achievements based merits & vast experience from now onwards. One of their prime tasks, should be the re-stabilization of SL's ODI Opening spot, with SL's most experienced Number-One Opener (151 ins), who did a fantastic job in the previous 7 yrs up to 2013, with very productive record batting in that position (151 in - 4902 runs -34.27 Av- 74.01 SR - 174* HS -13 x100- 25 x 50). Unfortunately, his (UT just 30 yrs) career was put on hold for more than 2 yrs by the previous selectors, causing major problems to the entire side until WC QF flop.

Can ANYONE deny this fact or ANSWER how Upul achieved this career record as number ONE opener facing 6623 balls in the initial phase of new ball movement in conditions around the globe if he has a major flow in his batting technique? (151 in - 4902 runs @ 34.27 Av- 74.01 SR - 174* HS -13 x100- 25 x 50). NONE of the critics had ever answered this question.

No need to say, If anyone trying to point a finger at UT's technique without answering this most logical question, has no credibility or validity. This is simple logic crystal clear to anyone with an iota of commonsense.


Why such an opener was laid-off for more than 20 months without allowing any reasonable window of opportunity (beyond just 5 scattered ODIs) was never answered or justified by selectors or critics to date.

UT & Dilly holds the 8th Ever-Best World Ranking for Openers (67 ins - 3,052 r @ 46.24 Av). Currently WORLD's Most Experienced Number-1 is Upul Tharanga (151 in) & Number-2 is Dilly (134 in). Hope the new selectors will consider the facts & utilize the resources without wasting any more time.


Stormy's picture
Member since:
15 January 2011
Last activity:
2 days 1 hour

I must agree the current selectors made several blunders which in my opinion had an unsettling effect on the fringe players. The only guys who played regularly in their same spot did well in the recent past but the fringe players struggled. Thiri and Chandi were pushed in and out of the side, up and down the order and couldnt really settle. Their replacements (including Kandamby!!) also kept failing and in the end it was a crazy mess - at the end of the day it was probably 2 batting spots that caused us so much grief in the WC.

Cant really blame the selectors too much for the bowlers as there appears to be a lack of bowling stocks. You can never win a horse race with a pony.

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