Critical Selection Choices by SLC’s Think-Tank

Ravi Ladduwahetty,  in Daily News, 8 August 2011

Pic courtesy of AFP

Sri Lanka T 20 Cricket skipper Tillekeratne Dilshan, hot on the heels of winning the Man of the Match Award againstAustraliain the T -20 tour opener at Pallekelle on Saturday night, said that posting a huge total was the team’s priority and not his personal landmark century. Skipper Dilshan after a whirlwind and unconquered 57- ball 104 inclusive of twelve belligerent boundaries and five towering sixers, said that he was elated to return to form. The ecstatic skipper, laced with all smiles and humility, told the post match news conference, that it was team effort which won the game forSri Lanka, albeit himself, almost single-handedly guiding the team to post its maiden T- 20victory at home over Cameron White’s Kangaroos. Dilshan cracked 67 runs in the final 23 deliveries inclusive of twin sixers and a boundary to reach his century.However, what he described as the turning point of the game, was when his gestured to the dressing room at the fall of Kumar Sangakkara’s wicket with the total at 94/3 and beckoning for a left hander, implying that he wanted all rounder Jeewan Mendis ahead of the right handed Deputy Skipper Angelo Mathews, a passionate request which was acceded to by Batting Coach Marvan Atapattu. Mendis also rose to the occasion scoring an unbeaten 29 in 19 balls where he put on an unbroken 104 in 45 balls for the fourth wicket with his skipper to seal the curtain raiser for the home team. Responding to a question from the ‘Daily News’ about his personal sentiments about both beatingAustraliain a T-20 for the first time and also his hurricane innings, he said that he was elated about the performance. I was a little too slow at the start but I capitalized in the last six to seven overs. We were targeting a total of around 160 plus, which we truly surpassed , he said.

He also said that he started playing his favourite Dil Scoop on Saturday after a lapse of one and a half years which he did after discussing with the team management. Asked why he did not play it all this while, he said that he did not see the need for it as he was consistently among the runs. I discussed with the coaches and decided to play it, he said while quipping to journalists: “You will see a lot of it from now!” One of the reasons which prompted him to play his trademark shot was the absence of the fine leg fielder. He also said that the adjustments made to the Australian fielding to counter the Dil Scoop was also instrumental in his playing his natural strokes to the rest of the field as well. He also said that he exploited the advantage of the inability of the Aussies to bowl on flat wickets

Asked whether he would have opted to have batted first had he won the toss, he said that he would have opted for a bowl first, being oblivious to the way that the ball would turn in gloomy and overcast conditions and also not knowing how the wicket would react to spinners after breaking up following the seamers. “It was drizzling slightly and I was in two minds. So, losing the toss was a blessing in disguise!,” he quipped

Asked whether he sees a significant changes after taking over the reins of captaincy, he said that what he and the senior players- Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara were wanting was to groom the youngsters as the trio believed that their cricketing lives were limited. When asked why Dilruwan Perera was opted for, over Suraj Randiv, he said that Dilruwan was among the top bowler in the Provincial T 20 tournament and that was the reason for him to be afforded the opportunity. He was given the opportunity and he lived up to that (3/26), he said.

Commenting on Jeewan Mendis vis a vis Rangana Herath, he said that Mendis was played yesterday as a batsman and that he could bowl his spinners later as well.

He also said that he too decided to bowl himself as Australiahad plenty of left handed batsmen. Dilshan was also hopeful of Angelo Mathews in a speedy recovery. I hope that he could bowl in the ODIs, he remarked.

 

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