New Selectors, Same Mistake

May 5, 2006
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New Selectors, Same Mistake

Sri Lankan Cricket Team, Which is in a Turmoil at the moment, is getting ready for a two-match test series against Pakistan starting on 28th of September 2017. After resignment of the heavily criticized Sanath Jayasuriya led selection committee, Sri Lanka Cricket finally announced their squad, Picked by the Newly Appointed Graeme Labrooy led Selection Committee for the Test series against Pakistan on 20th of September, Just a week before the first test match starts.

However, like in the term of the Ex-selection committee, Even this squad seems to have few Surprises.

Pros -

Introductions of Sadeera Samarawickrama and Roshen Silva are the highlights in this squad. Sadeera Samrawickrama, the elegant right-hand opening batsman, had been the most prolific scorer in last domestic season, was knocking on the door at least since the Bangladesh tour of Sri Lanka, 2017. He was unfortunate to miss out on Bangladesh test matches, Which had been played at home, having just smashed a 186 against Touring England Lions a few weeks ago. He is likely to open with Dimuth Karunaratne, who is in good form recently. If not, Kaushal Silva, who is making a comeback into the Test squad will take his usual position.

Roshen Silva, Gritty Middle-Order batsman, is maintaining a First Class average of 48.19 over 101 on matches in Sri Lankan Domestic circuit. A record, which is comparable with great Sri Lankan middle-order batsmen like Mahela Jayawardena and Thilan Samaraweera. Don't forget the fact that He has maintained this good average in one of the lowest scoring First Class Systems in the world.

On the bowling front, It is good to see Sri Lankan opening fast bowling combination of Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal back in the squad after suffering minor injuries during recently concluded Indian Tour. Also, World's top Left Arm Spinner Rangana Herath, who is back after missing the last test match against India will boost Sri Lankan spirit.

Cons -

Malinda Pushpakumara, who had done decently against the world's best players of spin in his debut series, has been dropped from the squad. Although he had a forgettable debut match, He did come back strongly to pick up three wickets for 82 runs in the final test match against India.

Dhananjaya De Silva, Man of the series a year ago when Sri Lanka whitewashed Australia, has been unfortunate to miss out once again. Despite averaging 38.21 in Test Cricket including Two Hundred's in 10 Test matches, he was consistently in and out of the team. De Silva, has also picked up Five wickets in his career and four catches were dropped off his bowling only in 2017.

Other surprising omissions from the squad are Sri Lanka's two young Fast Bowlers, Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera. Both are still young and raw fast bowlers, but knowing Pakistani batsmen's weaknesses, having at least one of them would be handy. Instead, they added Lahiru Gamage, another right arm medium pacer who had not played a First Class game since February 2017 to the squad.

Injury Woes -

Sri Lanka had more than enough share of injuries up to now in 2017. At least On 12 occasions, Sri Lankan players had to miss matches due to injuries this year, Including latest injury to Angelo Mathews, which will prevent him from playing the first test match. Asela Gunarathne, Who fractured his thumb and Kusal Perera are still unavailable for selection due to injuries. Also, another pace spearhead of Sri Lanka, Dhammika Prasad, who has started bowling recently after a long injury break, has not been able to break into the squad.

Curious case of Vice Captaincy -

Lahiru Thirimanne, who had played his last Test match as long as 15 months ago, has been appointed as the Vice-Captain. This decision came mainly due to the form he has shown in ODIs against India.

It is not a secret that Sri Lankan selectors known for blunders when selecting captains. Sri Lanka failed to groom someone into the captaincy role in the last few years. Many reasons like injuries, consistent changes in line-up and vice-captaincy, and not having a vice-captain at all during some of the tours in 2014 did not help this matter. While we admire Lahiru Thirimanne's ability, temperament and recent form in ODIs, It is better if selectors will be mindful about where his test career is right now. It will be better for him and the team if he can secure a place in the team before getting any more responsibility.

All in all Sri Lankan selectors have picked a solid 15-men combination for the Test Series barring an express fast bowler. Hopefully, the new selectors will learn from the mistakes they have done after the series and will select a better squad for the ODIs.

Here is the squad :
Dinesh Chandimal – Captain, Lahiru Thirimanna – Vice Captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrema, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Rangana Herath, Lakshan Sandakan, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishva Fernando, Lahiru Gamage.

Standby: Dhananjaya De Silva, Jeffery Vandersay, Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Kumara, Dasun Shanaka.