Tharanga Paranavitana, the 38-year old Sri Lanka batsman, has announced his retirement from international cricket. Known as an old-school opener, he played 32 Test matches for his country, scoring 1792 runs including two hundreds and 11 fifties.
Andrew Fidel Fernando, in ESPNcricinfo, where the title reads
I = The Test series win in South Africa
Kusal Perera, who had only made one previous century against Zimbabwe, produced one of the most spectacular Test innings of all time as Sri Lanka chased down 304 for victory. But as ridiculous as that innings from this player was, the remainder of that series was no less outlandish. Dimuth Karunaratne had been thrown the captaincy just days before the Durban Test, following Sri Lanka’s nightmare tour of Australia, in which a small hospital’s worth of Sri Lanka players were injured. Thanks to those injuries, Sri Lanka’s frontline attack consisted of a spinner on debut, and two fast bowlers who had played fewer than five Tests. Sri Lanka’s most reliable batsman, Angelo Mathews, was also missing thanks to injury. Continue reading →
Andrew Fidel Fernando, in ESPNcricinfo, August 2019 where the title runs “Sri Lanka are winning, but it’s in spite of the system”
ri Lanka have won another Test, their third in a row chasing a tough score. Their captain dug in for a tenacious fourth-innings hundred. The victory has yielded 60 Test Championship points – an excellent start to their campaign in that competition. Away from Tests, they have comfortably won their most-recent ODI series, against Bangladesh, and performed better than expected at the World Cup, finishing sixth. With young players suddenly coming through, and a capable captain at the helm, it is tempting to believe Sri Lanka have begun to recover following a several-year lull.
Andrew Fidel Fernando in ESPNcricinfo, 17 August 2019, where the title runs “Karunaratne, a cool captain for Sri Lanka’s high seas”
The selectors are making strange picks, the board is trying to sack another coach, the sports minister is making serious overreaches, the XI changes from series to series, but from amid this chaos, which to many has seemed like the wreckage of a once-was cricketing power, Dimuth Karunaratne has eked out a small but significant patch of stability.
Hathurusingha has been under substantial pressure in 2019, with Sri Lanka’s sports minister in particular suggesting that the team is not producing results consistent with the size of Hathurusingha’s remuneration package. That pressure has been ratcheted up since the end of the World Cup, with minister Harin Fernando repeatedly casting aspersions on Sri Lanka’s win record under Hathurusingha. Essentially, he has stated publicly that Hathurusingha does not deserve a salary that according to Fernando amounts to “$40,000 per month”.
Sri Lanka exceeded my expectations at the 2019 World Cup — a winless exit was a strong possibility. Dimuth Karunaratne’s men overcame the challenges set by their own camp to end the tournament with three wins. There is no criticism of this team for not making the semis. Not losing to Afghanistan is a praiseworthy accomplishment today for a nation that once won the ODI world title and were for many years considered strong contenders to enter the final stages of any ICC tourney.
Sidharth Monga, in ESPNcricinfo, 16 June 2019, where the title reads “Dysfunction, hope, more dysfunction; Sri Lanka’s World Cup rolls on”
The wife of Sri Lanka’s once-captain has accused – on Facebook – one of their players of being a political appointment made by the sports minister of the country. That captain – one of the seven ODI captains tried by Sri Lanka since the last World Cup – is not the captain anymore. He has been accused of picking and choosing games, and has been forced to switch between IPL and domestic cricket in Sri Lanka, and is eventually here at the World Cup. Barely.
Andrew Fidel Fernando, in ESPNcricinfo, 17 April 2019, with this title “How Sri Lanka’s search for a World Cup captain ended with Karunaratne”
Where most teams are merely working out which of their fringe players will make the trip to the World Cup, Sri Lanka had a bigger question to answer: who will captain the team? Over the past two years, the captaincy has changed hands at a dizzying rate, with Angelo Mathews having had it in two stints, Dinesh Chandimal also helming the ship twice, Lasith Malinga getting the job in late 2018 (after having been stand-in captain once, in 2017), while Thisara Perera and even Chamara Kapugedara have also led the team. It’s been like a game of spin-the-bottle, except instead of embarrassing teenage consequences, Sri Lanka have had embarrassing losses. Since the start of 2017, they have lost 41 and won only 11 ODIs.
I am venturing bold and proceeding to select fifteen players without the ‘data’ issuing from the trial matches taking place in Sri Lanka. I have taken serious note of Asantha de Mel’s provocative and thoughtful media session and been assisted materially by comments from a pal in Lanka who keeps a close eye on events within the island, but wishes to remain in the background. He will feature in my essay as ‘The Ghost’.
Of late, Mangala Samaraweera has been in the news. That is not strange given the colourful character he is. In a parliament that is progressively getting stuffed with those who are boringly similar, it is not surprising those who dare to be different from the herd hardly get any noteworthy mention. Mangala does not fear to be different. And he does not make any bones about it.
The chief reason why so many Sri Lankan batsmen suffered blows on their heads was the absence of proper technique when playing short pitched bowling. On each such occasion they transgressed two cardinal rules applicable to the issue. They failed to get inside the line of flight, and they took their eyes off the ball. In short, they appeared sitting ducks to get hit.