The focus in this article is on those whose spot in the Sri Lankan Fifteen can be questioned by attention to potential challengers. There is no questioning of Angelo Matthews’ place as a genuine allrounder and captain. Nor can one challenge Tillekeratne Dilshan’s spot as a batting allrounder. While Nuwan Kulasekera’s selection was in doubt after the recent bowling performances in India and Sri Lanka, the Selectors wisely chose to adhere to his potential qualities in the climatic and pitch conditions in New Zealand.
Since this investigation will be pursued in a separate posting, I introduce the descriptions and images of certain players that have been compiled by ESPNcricinfo. This enables us to have fun as well: by asking how Ritchie Benaud would have coped with a name such as Narangoda Liyanaarachchilage Thisara Chirantha Perera or, for that matter, with a surname such as Ridigammanagedera. Benaud will not be gracing the commentary box, but this is an opportunity for Russell Arnold and Andrew Fidel Fernando to explore the capacities of their mates in TV box and Reporters’ Corner. Chaminda Vaas is not an isolated case. These names are among the ones they can play with
Full name Narangoda Liyanaarachchilage Thisara Chirantha Perera
Full name Balapuwaduge Manukulasuriya Amith Jeevan Mendis
An attacking allrounder, Thisara Perera began his schooling at St Anthony’s, Wattala, before accepting a scholarship to join St Joseph’s College. It turned out to be a productive move as he teamed up with Angelo Mathews and produced many noteworthy performances in the thriving schools cricket scene. Perera played a key role in helping his school break the hoodoo in the Battle of the Saints (against St Peters College) that lasted more than 35 years. Perera received his maiden national call-up during Sri Lanka’s tour of India in 2009 as an emergency replacement, ironically, for Mathews. It quickly led to an IPL contract when he was bought by Chennai Super Kings for $50,000. Perera is fast establishing himself as one of Sri Lanka’s key ‘impact’ players, capable of clearing the ropes and breaking partnerships with his nippy seam bowling. During the home one-dayers against Pakistan in 2012, he became the fourth Sri Lankan bowler to take a hat-trick in ODIs.
Jeevan Mendis comes from a cricketing family, with his father Jagath and brother Tharindu also playing for his school, St Thomas’ College. As a youth cricketer, Jeewan won several prestigious awards, including the Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 2001, the Man-of-the-Tournament awards in the Under-17 Asia Cup in Pakistan and the 2001 U-19 World Cup in New Zealand, where he bowled a record-breaking spell of 7 for 19 against Zimbabwe. However, during his six years for SSC, he hardly got an opportunity to bowl his legspinners, but his move to Tamil Union in 2008-09 opened the doors for him to display his all-round talent.
Seekkuge Prasanna worked his way up through the ranks by bowling legbreaks and broke into the Sri Lanka Army team in 2006 as a 21-year-old. He made an immediate impact, taking 3 for 23 in 10 overs on his domestic one-day debut against Lankan Cricket Club. He built an outstanding List A record over the next five years, picking up 73 wickets at 18.38 in 45 matches. He was selected in the Sri Lanka A team that toured England in 2011 and took a six-wicket haul while opening the bowling against England Lions. The Sri Lankan selectors immediately took note, asked him to fly back home for the final two ODIs against the touring Australians, and immediately gave him an international debut.
Mohamed Farveez Maharoof … Farveez Maharoof is a young fast-bowling allrounder of exciting potential, and bowls lively seamers from an upright, open-chested action. Sri Lanka’s selectors, impressed by his performances as under-19 captain, fast-tracked him into the national squad for the Zimbabwe tour as they looked towards the future. Faced with a weak opposition, Maharoof picked up a bunch of wickets, but then came up against better competitors during the Asia Cup. He performed reasonably well, and made a mark with his swinging deliveries when South Africa came visiting. He had worked his way up through the representative ranks, playing for Sri Lanka under-15, under-17 and under-19, and led the under-19 team on four tours, including the 2004 Youth World Cup in Bangladesh. He enjoyed a prolific school career for Wesley College, with a highest score of 243 and best bowling figures of 8 for 20. Opportunities in the Test team have been limited but in the one-day side he has started to cement a permanent spot. A mean display during the ICC Champions Trophy in England, when he exploited the end-of-summer conditions expertly, suggested he could be especially useful when Sri Lanka play in seamer-friendly conditions. His batting has taken longer to click for the senior team but his talent is obvious and a middle-order position for the under-19 team suggests that with time he has the raw ingredients to become one of Sri Lanka’s finest allrounders. Most importantly, he has also indicated that he is comfortable under pressure, the traditional Achilles Heel of Sri Lanka’s recent fast bowling allrounders. A useful series with bat and ball against Pakistan in early 2006 suggested he was ready to push on, but his bowling failed to impress on the tour of England – in conditions that should have suited him. Then came an astonishing display at the Champions Trophy in India when his 6 for 14 skittled West Indies for 80. He performed creditably with bat and ball for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL’s first season. A regular in the one-day side, he’s yet to cement his place in the Test side (charlie Austin in 2003 forEspncricinfo.
Thisara in action –Pic from www.espncricinfo.com
Thisara on way to a hat-trick vs Pakistan — Pic from www.onlanka.com
Maharoof celebrates a wicket — Pic from www.friendskorner.com