Lankan cricketers must take it from here
Sri Lankan cricketers did well to beat India in the Idea Cup final by
four wickets with nine deliveries to spare in Dhaka, Bangladesh on
On the whole the cricketers can feel proud that they downed the much
stronger Indians after losing an earlier game to them. But while they
are basking in the glory of this victory, they must remember that one
swallow does not make a summer.
The selectors and Sri Lanka Cricket led by two former champion
cricketers Ashantha de Mel and D. Somachandra de Silva too can blow
their trumpets now that the cricketers have succeeded.
Like in life in sport too, team work is essential for success. The
cricketers, selectors and SLC worked together in harmony and with the
game at heart and the final product was success. GREAT.
No cricket till November
But sadly the cricketers will not have any cricket to give continuity
and build on this success. The cricketers will not have any cricket
until Chrys Gayle's West Indians arrive here in November later this
Some of our star cricketers will have the opportunity of playing in
the Indian Premier League and the counties, while the youngsters who
showed great promise will be kicking their heels playing in the local
Sri Lanka Cricket will do well to probe all avenues and try and get
the youngsters to play some international cricket where ever possible.
They must use their influence with their counterparts in other countries
and get the youngsters playing.
Before going on to comment on the final that Sri Lanka won, we would
like to tell those who matter that the Lankan cricketing cupboard is
full of promising material and it is now up to them to give it
continuity to further develop it.
Also we must reiterate that the limited over games requires that
young blood be fielded if success is to be achieved. The youngsters who
were showcased in Bangladesh proved this in no uncertain terms and need
we say more.
But as earlier stated and in reiterating I would be earning the wrath
of his detractors by saying that the 'Matara Mauler' Sanath Jayasuriya
is an exception and a phenomenon and he should be included to guide the
youngsters when the next edition of the limited-over World Cup is held
in the sub-continent.That is my opinion.
Youngsters of the calibre of Chanaka Welagedera, Suraj Randiv,
Thissara Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Mahela Udawatte, Pushpakumara and
Lahiru Thirimanne are all cricketers with exceptional promise and must
be guided and nurtured to give of their best.
Welagedera was forgotten for far too long until he shone in the
Twenty20 playing for Wayamba in the Indian league. As a left arm pacie
he has the ability to move the ball both ways and extract the bounce
that makes him difficult to face. The delivery he got to lift and move
to befuddle Yuvraj Singh was a beauty.
Randiv and Pushpakumara proved that they can be a adequate
replacements for Muttiah Muralitheran who has said that he might
consider retiring before the next World Cup.
While Pushpakumara was unfortunate to suffer injury, Randiv grabbed
the opportunity and with his wily off spinning had the Indian batsmen
guessing. In addition he shows promise of a being a solid batsman and
could bolster the middle order.
Thissara Perera is an uncut gem. It is up to the coaches to cut and
polish this gem and see that he shines. Critics in their eagerness are
tagging him the Lance Klusener of Sri Lanka cricket. While I have
nothing against the critics who want to tag him the next Klusner, I
don't think Perera is aware as to who or what Lance Klusner is or was.
He was a big hitting all rounder who was a big draw and who contributed
immensely in the rise of South African cricket.
Perera has the talent. Let him develop and once he gets going in the
big league, we will then couple him with Klusner.It must be remembered
that former Australian cricketers such as Ian Craig and Doug Walters
were tagged as the next Don Bradmans. But what happened to them?
Bradman tags were too heavy for Craig and Walters to carry with them
and they came a cropper. We hope that calamity would not befall Thissara
Perera. Perera will do well to play according to his abilities and not
get carried away with attempts being made to tag him with a great like
Klusner. I am sure the critics would understand.
My former colleague Mohamed Vazir Muhsin whose fair comments and
wonderful incisive writing was enjoyed and lapped up by readers during
the 'Times of Ceylon' and 'Daily Mirror' days did an excellent piece
titled ' Thissara Perera a class act' in the 'Daily News', complimenting
Perera's demoralizing match winning batting act against India in one of
the games.We recommend it to our readers. To the final that Sri Lanka
won in Bangladesh and it must be stated that like in life even in sport
too LUCK is essential for success. In this aspect while not wanting to
belittle the Lankan success, it must be stated that skipper Kumar
Sangakkara was lucky to win the toss and ask the Indians to bat.
Demoralising dew factor
In winning the toss and fielding first, the Lankan bowlers were
spared the agony of bowling with a wet and slippery ball once the dew
set in. Dew was a telling factor throughout the tournament to the sides
bowling second and we hope the organizers and the International Cricket
Council have learnt.
There is no point in conducting a tournament for the sake of
conducting it. Sadly cricket has been made to play second fiddle to the
money that floods in. Any tournament has to be competitive. Once the
competitive or the cutting edge is lost the cricketers would be singing
that Freddie Fender perennial 'Wasted days and wasted nights'.
It was demoralizing spells by pacemen Chanaka Welegedera and Nuwan
Kulasekera that broke the back of the Indian batting. Welegedera and
Kulasekera bowled life threatening spells intelligently making use of
the pace, bounce and movement which the wicket was providing and they
had the Indian batting paralyzed at 60 for 5 with the batting big guns
Sehwag, Gambhir, Koli, Yuvraj and Dhoni all silenced.
Had it not been for the blistering century by Suresh Raina 106 and
Ravindra Jadeja 38 who put on 106, the Indians would have been in a
sorry plight and would have been no competitors. Then in the victory
chase Tillakaratne Dilshan 49, Kumar Sangakkara 55, Mahela Jayawardena
71 unbeaten with useful contributions from Samaraweera 27, Kandamby 18
and Randiv 17 took Sri Lanka to a famous victory by four wickets. When
the young team took wing to Bangladesh, not many gave them a chance.But
( More on it in the 'Daily News' on Tuesday)