Chris Dhambarage, in Daily News, 8 Jan. 2011
The national cricket selectors yesterday left out veteran Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas while naming the final 15- member squad for the ICC 2011 World Cup which will be co hosted by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka from next month. Both players who had retired from Test cricket were tipped to make it to the final 15 after been named in the preliminary 30-member squad earlier.
But the national selectors headed by former Sri Lanka captain Aravinda de Silva decided to omit the two senior players thus probably bringing an end to their illustrious careers. The only surviving member from the 1996 World Cup winning team is off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan who also retired from Test cricket in July this year but continued to play in the shorter version of the game and Twenty20 cricket.
In fact Muralitharan will be the main spin bowler in the Sri Lankan bowling attack with Rangana Herath and Ajantha Mendis set to provide the back up support. Thirty-two-year old Herath of course was a surprise selection ahead of the more established Suraj Randiv who had been a regular member of the one day team in the recent past. Meanwhile, mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis also makes a comeback into the Sri Lanka one day team after having experienced mixed fortunes in the last few outings.
The pace attack will be once again spearheaded by Lasith Malinga who will be one of the key players in the side. The new ball will be shared between Nuwan Kulasekera, Thisara Perera and Dilhara Fernando who has retained his position due to his ability to exploit the seaming conditions when playing under lights. All rounder Angelo Mathews is another contender to share the new ball but he is likely to be considered more as a specialist middle order batsman. In fact the Sri Lankan middle order is studded with some attacking stroke makers apart from the two regular openers Tillekeratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga.
Skipper Kumar Sangakkara will have the services of former captain Mahela Jayawardena as his deputy with Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedera and Thilan Samaraweera all vying for a place in the middle order.
The ICC 2011 World Cup will commence on February 19 and will be concluded on April 2 with the final in Mumbai.
Comments in Dilmah Cricket Forum, courtesy of David Colin-Thome and Dilmah
Lanka Lion: “Over all, besides the Randiv’s exclusion and Chamara Silva’s inclusion, we don’t see any major surprises in this 15. I think Aravinda likes the Chamara’s stroke play as most of them are identical to Ara’s own footwork and strokes. But, what Ara is not getting is that, even with many chances given at International level, Chamara hasn’t done anything significant to deserve a place in the squad. For instance, Chandimal has a century, but Chamara Silva doesn’t (I mean lately, not counting the one he scored before 2007 WC)….Also, Chandimal has batted intelligently, but Chamara has gotten out to some very foolish shot selections recently (remember in Australia?).
We have to wait and see where Mahela is going to bat on. If he opens with Dilshan and Tharanga comes at no. 3, I might have an interest to watch our matches and have some hope of going all the way. Actually, Sanga-Thilan-Angelo combination in the middle, is my only hope!
I can see the selector’s decision to drop Randiv; because with Murali to play in the playing 11, a similar off-spinner of Randiv’s calibre is very much unlikely to be included. But, Rangana has some good batting skills (like Malinga does!)….however, what Ara and his club have forgotten is that, in the recent One-Day matches (at Dambulla and even in Bangladesh and India) the powerful Indian batting lineup (Dhoni, Yuvi etc.) struggled to score runs against Randiv’s line and length off spinners. Even Ravi Shastri spoke about Randiv’s effectivness. Our selectors had to hide Ajantha Mendis from the Indians, but they bravely put Randiv out (in most times he did better than even Murali) against the Indians.
If the Indians had struggled, then we don’t have to worry about the other teams!
So, I keep my fingures crossed as two to three selections have gone wrong, in my opinion!
However, I applaud Aravinda for having the balls to drop our MP Sanath. Lets see if he would be able to stick to this decision until the WC starts”
Ajith Fernando: “In my opinion, Kandamby should be taking Chamara Silva’s place. Randiv should have been in for either Herat h or Mendis.
Vaas should have made it as he did a lot to try and make a mark and he certainly did. Whilst I can also that the selectors may have wanted a bit of sting to support to Malinga in choosing Dilhara. I would still say that Vaas in these conditions and in this kind of form must be feeling aweful. Kulasekara is a hard man to drop too and to me it may have been a tussle between the 2 and while I don’t blame selectors for choosing Kulasekara over Vaas, I personally would have gone for Vaas as he was taking wickets upfront and if he was to partner Malinga, that would have been a real combination.
Whilst Tharanga as expected and deservedly as well is in there, I would like to see Dilshan and Mahela open the innings, with Tharanga one drop or being benched in certain games. Chandimal had a pretty ordinary premier league, but also seem to be the only guy whose Premier league performance was counted for the decision on him. I mean Vaas could have made it on his performance and the rest of the team seems like what they anyway had in store before the premier league was played.
Mendis did have a v good tournament, but then he has been exploited by most of the international teams and Randiv was the hot thing in international for us. I would surely have put him second to Murali and then chosen the other spinner between Mendis and Herath.
The team is still good, but I really regret missing Randiv, Vaas and Kandamby in the 15 member pool.
Niranjan: “Randiv missing out for Herath was the surprise. But if it is one offspinner Murali gets the nod. Vaas was competing for the all rounder spot with Tissara and Angelo so he missed out, There is no left arm pace bowler, probably why Herath got the nod.”
Parakrama: “So the final 15 is chosen and SL is the first country to do so with the deadline 11 days away on Jan 19th. What more has Vaasy got to do to be seleted. Thats the real surprise. We dont have the varity in our pace attack without a left armer. Kulasekeraa & Vaasy can be termed as being smilar in style but the similarity ends there with one a right armer and the other a left armer.
I am surprised at the dropping of Randiv as well but was Herath picked for a specific reason. If the opposing teams batting line up are full of right handers, Herath might come in to contention but his limited overs record is not anywhere as good as his test record in recent times. Even in the current L/O tournament, Herath took just 2 wickets for 186 runs in 5 games, economy rate of around 4.5 RPO. To be fair to the selectors Randiv’s form also dipped in the tournament, though he took 6 wickets in 4 games, his economy rate was a high 5.71.
The two Chamara’s who have had a charmed life for a while has continued to do so with neither doing anything to warrant selection either in the domestic tournament or in recent international matches. I cant see them being in the final eleven unless its against Canada or a similar team.How come Chandimal was not considered. While he had a ordinary L/O tournament his record against international opposition is much better than both Chamara’s. I dont understand why Chandimal opened the batting for NCC when in reality he is fighting for a place in the middle order. There were so many contenders for the openers spot, (and Dilshan & Tharanga/Mahela were certainties) it was only logical for Chandimal to bat in the middle order for NCC and I think that suggestion should have come from the selectors. I would have also considered Kandamby ahead of the Chamara’s. Maybe its the lack of agility on the field that went against Kandamby. I also cant see Dilhara playing any match with Malinga & Kulasekera probably the main pace bowlers with Mathews & Thissara to support.
If for some reason Murali does not fire, we are going to be in deep trouble in the spin department with Mendis & Herath undependable and we are going to miss Vaasy in the pace attack.
My playing eleven : Dilshan. Mahela, Tharanga, Sanga, Thilan, Mathews, Thissara, Kulasekera, Malinga, Murali, Mendis/Herath.