5 December, 2020

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Another Cricketing Debacle – A Repeat Of 2011!

By Nimal Chandrasena –

Dr. Nimal Chandrasena

Dr. Nimal Chandrasena

In 2011, when Sri Lanka wantonly capitulated to India in the 2011 World Cup final, I wrote a piece (“Cricketing Defeat – should be an eye opener”) asking why the Chairman of Selectors – Aravinda De Silva, one of our greatest cricketers – made four changes in the final team, which gave Kumar Sangakkara no chance of winning.

Dr. Google says that the word ‘déjà vu’ literally means “already seen”; it is having the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has been already experienced in the past, regardless of whether it has actually happened. What happened at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 18th March was certainly a “déjà vu” for millions of Sri Lankans, who tuned into see the game via TV, and for the thousands and thousands of Sri Lankans who actually went to the SCG to witness the event.

Once again, our selectors have DONE it! It would be remiss of us not to talk about it – from the point of view of passionate fans. The Chairman of selectors – I hate to mention the name – was talking about “sticking to basics”! An uneducated man like him? does he really know what basics are? and where in hell did he learn them? I bet he meant only: “bowl, bat and field as best as you can; play your natural game; enjoy the game” kind of motherhood nonsense! Tony Greig used to take the mickey out of him every time they sat together at the Commentary Box; this brainless fellow is a blight on our cricket! He simply is not sophisticated, and the quicker we send him packing, the better it is! But that looks like wishful thinking on my part.

CricketHe made several changes that were illogical, reckless, foolish, and contributed heavily to our defeat and early exit. Many Australian friends of mine laughed at me for Sri Lanka’s unwarranted implosion, and asked me what were the Sri Lanka selectors thinking? They asked me the same question four years ago! Therein lies the “déjà vu” My answers have been full of invective and expletives – they cannot be repeated here.

Muttiah Muralitharan – probably our greatest-ever bowler – has already written a piece expressing his displeasure pointing the finger at incompetent selectors; and there is not much point in repeating the glaring errors. Briefly though, an ‘out of form’ man Kusal Perera was asked to be a pinch hitter! He had hardly faced a ball in Australia; the knowledgeable Lankan fans were dumb-founded when he walked out to open the inning! The omission of Sathithra Senanayake, already an established spinner, who also has big-hitting, late-order credentials, in favour of a new ‘mystery’ spinner Tharindu Kaushal, who had just arrived in Australia, beggars belief! What happened to Sekkuge Prassana, who was in the original squad as a spinner?

The same can be said of the medium pacer, new arrival Dushmantha Chameera; what happened to Dhammika Prasad and Suranga Lakmal? If these guys were not good enough why were they in the original squad? Lakmal bowled beautifully in a previous match; and I had hoped he would play instead of Kulasekera, who has lost pace and sharpness of his bowling in the last 12-months or so. Whatever happened to Jeevan Mendis and Upul Tharanga?

Promising cricketers mis-led by a bunch of clowns; These are questions burning in the minds of the millions of fans, not just Sri Lankans. The selectors should be ashamed, and sack themselves, or be sacked; that would happen in most countries, but not in our ‘paradise isle’.

The biggest disappointment is the sad farewell Lankan gave to two of the greatest batsmen the Nation has ever produced, or is ever likely to produce – Sanga and Mahela. Both were damned from the start. We, the tragic fans, can’t stop wondering whether these veterans had any say in the selection process? They are too intelligent, and they are not in it for the perks; these ambassadors of the Nation have repeatedly proven that over nearly two decades. The same cannot be said of the selectors. In our assessment, and there are many who share my views, it is time to get more intelligent strategists to take over cricket in Sri Lanka.

Recriminations aside – when the pain has dulled – the essential question for the future is – when will Sri Lanka learn? Is cricket, which is a part of our national, sporting pride – to be continued to be run by a bunch of incompetent mediocrity? Much has been already written about the general malaise of Sri Lankan cricket, the corruption, nepotism and politicisation that allows mediocrity to run the establishments.

When the country continues to have a brainless and laughable Selection Committee, lacking in strategy or plan, beyond planning how to travel business class and getting their own perks – what else do we expect? More of the same, I guess. Angelo Matthews – even with his lion heart – cannot win all the games alone, this being a team sport. One also cannot blame cricketers for looking around for opportunities, and signing up for overseas stints.

In 2011, I wrote that planning is such an essential part of the modern game. One cannot plan without a proper education, and I really mean education, not just in the cricketing field, but also beyond cricket. Sadly, as fans, we see no evidence of a truly knowledgeable lot running the show in Sri Lanka. Selections on merit have never been our forte; more important has been ‘patronage’ political or otherwise – who knows who, and who supports who.

Although, my critique is not a political analysis, I submit that those with financial power wield sufficient influence within our systems, suppressing merit through the sharing of privileges – this is a well-known sickness in non-egalitarian societies. Cricket in Sri Lanka suffers from it, at the behest of a few, who enjoy the perks. Otherwise how can two families (I desist from mentioning names here) only vie for the Board President’s Job?

Over the years, dud selections have been masked by the individual brilliance of a few. All of us know that this cannot continue. In a country that is re-building after the passing over of a ‘tsunami’ of pollicisation, nepotism, corruption and thuggery, which affected every facet of our lives, this will be a crucial time. Re-building confidence must begin at club level. Political patronage must be replaced by a system that recognises merit; national selectors should be far removed from politics, and must be people with solid educational backgrounds, who are astute and globally-oriented to see what the future holds. Let us see whether the new leadership has the courage to start this process.

There are many aspects of cricket in Sri Lanka that need fixing, if one approached it with a futuristic, professional view, and understanding the nature and competitiveness of the modern, global game. It involves the system that produces well-rounded players with natural talents, and/or acquired/coached skills; and ethical administrators, as well as externalities, such as venues, pitches, travel, education, fitness, and others. Given that the objective of my rant was to primarily record and let the selectors know that we – the cricket fans – are not fools – I will also resist the temptation to reflect on methods by which Sri Lanka’s cricket may be improved, over the next few years. I leave that to many highly-qualified professionals in Sri Lanka, who may want to take up the challenge. However, this is not the time to remain silent, and allow our Nation to be diminished by half-wits!

Here, down under, on a Sunday afternoon, as I write this piece, venting my displeasure, I console myself – as Andrew Fidel Fernando wrote on 19th March after the defeat – “A lifetime of grace trumps one stinging night”. The contributions of Sanga and Mahela are legend; their deeds are much talked about around the traps. Even Aussies, who cannot, or will not, pronounce my name correctly after 20 years in this Country – adore these two giants, and amazingly, with slight accents, still manage to pronounce get their names right!

But, I cannot and will not forget and forgive the Selectors for shaming our Nation again. The proud lion was put down on that day not by the players, but by dumb, half-wits called “national selectors”; Please don’t tell me – “it’s only a game” – it’s a lot more to me than a game; it is my Nation’s pride; and by extension – mine too!

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Latest comments

  • 9
    0

    As Arjuna has stated May times and as Sanga said in his famous Cowdrey speech the worst thing that happened to Sri Lanka cricket is wining the 1996 World Cup. A cash poor Sri Lankan cricket board till then started to see there coffers filling up with millions of dollars with that came greed for power and position. As Sri Lankan brand cricket became internationally acclaimed the administrators became corrupt, and greed and politically motivated. Sri Lanka entering QF or SF or The finals was a political event and not a sporting event.
    Who knows if we were a beaten finalist in 1996 we may have been world champions since then.

  • 3
    4

    Dr. Nimal Chandrasena

    RE: Another Cricketing Debacle – A Repeat Of 2011!

    Yes. It is an interesting game where 22 grown up (stupid) men, take turns in battering a leather ball, chasing and howling, being supervised by two “Umpires”, giving entertainment for spectators in the arena and elsewhere.

    “The Chairman of selectors – I hate to mention the name – was talking about “sticking to basics”! An uneducated man like him? does he really know what basics are? and where in hell did he learn them? I bet he meant only: “bowl, bat and field as best as you can; play your natural game; enjoy the game” kind of motherhood nonsense! “

    “He made several changes that were illogical, reckless, foolish, and contributed heavily to our defeat and early exit. Many Australian friends of mine laughed at me for Sri Lanka’s unwarranted implosion, and asked me what were the Sri Lanka selectors thinking? They asked me the same question four years ago! Therein lies the “déjà vu” My answers have been full of invective and expletives – they cannot be repeated here.”

    “But, I cannot and will not forget and forgive the Selectors for shaming our Nation again.”.

    Very Interesting observation. Would you forgive the 5,700,000 voters for Voting for Medamulana Mahinda Rajapaksa and Shaming the Nation? Do they need an Education? I mean, the Selectors and the Voters.

    So, the stupid men, are not only in the field also outside the field, and these stupid men outside make the selection of the stupid men, to be in the field.

    • 1
      9

      amare fool, how about 6.2 million idiots who elected a puppet for the presidency?

      • 8
        2

        hikz

        “amare fool, how about 6.2 million idiots who elected a puppet for the presidency?”

        The 6.2 Million with Common sense were helping the 5.7 Million Modayas, Mootals, Fools with IQs less than 79 on getting rid of the Medamulana Mahinda Rajapaksa Regime and Family Dynasty, just like the American did with King George in 1776.

        http://www.photius.com/rankings/national_iq_scores_country_ranks.html

        National IQ Scores – Country Rankings

        Sri Lanka IQ = 79

  • 4
    0

    As far as to my conjecture the results of these matches are also decided by those who wants to decide the political and psychological course of the country and thus the world.

  • 9
    1

    Nimal,
    Get your facts right. Dammika Prasad, Jeevan Mendis, and even Suranga Lakmal were all injured.MJA

  • 4
    1

    Very well said, Nimal! Kudos to you. It was abject failure on Lanka’s part on that fateful day at the SCG, and sad to see how the team lost its way. I hope those who sit above the selectors and administrators in Lanka’s cricket will take heed and start blooding a new team with a total focus on the next ICC World Cup in 2019.

    It has been said in these same columns that those members of the winning 1996 team have and continue to conspire to jinx the team by making foolish, inexplicable selections in order to protect their unique status of being part of the only winning team in history of the ICC World Cup, and several of those at whom you point a finger do in fact belong to that coterie. The rot started a long time ago and must be stopped for good now.

  • 3
    0

    While totally agreeing with the writer I remember the words of Geoff Boycott and Greg Chapel during the world cup of 2011-they stated that Sri Lanka was missing one good bowler and even after 4 years we have not be able to produce a bowler to partner Malinga. Thissera Perera who played in the world cup in 2011 continues to be in the side mainly as a bowler has failed in this department and with his physique and speed should have by now been developed as a front line bowler,as a batsman his highest has been 69 after been in the national side for over 5 years.Sri lanka should move away from the bit and pieces players and take a cue from South Africa,New zealand and Australia who go with 6 batsman and 5 bowlers and have genuine all rounders.

  • 3
    0

    One has to blame the Minister of Sports for letting this dictator selector remain in New Zealand/Australia with the team. He should have asked him to come back to Sri Lanka and let the team Manager and Coach decide on the final team.

    The ideal team for the 1/4 final would have been the team that played against Scotland.

  • 0
    3

    If Kusal has scored a quick century, the Selectors would have been hailed as brilliant. Such is the life of a selector.

  • 2
    2

    “”…it is my Nation’s pride; and by extension – mine too!…””

    Chandrasoma, master-blaster? what a load of tosh! Crocodile tears by someone who chooses to serve an alien community that does not afford him the basic courtesy of getting his name right.

    • 2
      0

      why are you jealous of him being in Aussie mate?

      if you say he chooses to serve an alien community what do you say about Basil and Gota who are US PR holders andBasil running to alien USA as soon as the elections were lost,spring koha your a really stupid as you just made you look a fool with your comments!

      • 0
        0

        1 Nobody gets jealous of an Aussie – especially one who is an Aussie by choice.

        2 You’re damn right about Basil, Gota, et al who can get back, pronto, to their adopted homes where they are nonentities – G R O B R. There are far too many cuckoos and cowards fingering in our business long distance. The sooner we Sri Lankans who fight the good fight at home are allowed to get on with matters without interference from the ‘do-good’ diaspora, the better.

        3 Cheers to the millions who have chosen to stay at home and continue the struggle to build a better Sri Lanka.

  • 2
    1

    I will mention the name. He is Sanath Jayasuriya. He is a moron.

    • 3
      0

      and let me remind the other two names

      Darmadasa brothers and Thilanga Sumathipala .

      Sanath J , Marawan A , Chaminda V and the rest of top management must tender their resignations ,nothing less will be accepted , Period !

  • 2
    0

    A brave article to call spade a spade. Yes, 2011 Finals, then selectors made blunders and awarded the world cup to India. Some stupid inclusions for the finals from nowhere. Then President Rajapakse went on to say that though 20 million Srilankans were made to feel sad he and Srilankan nation have made 2 billion people happy. What a tragic statement from the so called head of state! This time the chief selector and his team have made changes so much that Kusal Perera and other debutants were made mince meat by the Proteas. The worst ever exit from a Q/F encounter to a country who have never won a game at knock out stage. Entire selectors and the Manager must be asked to resign without delay.

    I wonder whether new Minister of Sports has played cricket at national level though his father would be revered for sacrifices made to win the test status back in 1981. It is high time that Cricket and other Sports in Srilanka areis to be cleansed from politicians and appoint Administrators who have knowledge of cricket at grass root level and have no political affiliations. Enough is Enough. Start action right now.

  • 5
    2

    I totally agree with the writer. There is just one fact missing as regards the 1996 world cup win. It is the name of Mr. Whatmore who was the coach of the Sri Lankan cricket at that time. When there is a foreign coach he does not allow politicians and other higher ups to interfere in the selection of the team. This paves the way for Sri Lanka to present the best team available and it will never happen so long as we retain local coaches.
    Leelaratne

  • 22
    0

    I agree with many of the points the writer has highlighted. But as an educated man harping on other’s lack of education, he must do a little research and get his facts right. As MJA has already stated, most of the players he lists as that should have been in the team were injured.

    Sure, the whole SL cricket establishment is nothing but shameful mess, but that should not prevent us from seeing the truth for what it is. We lost the match because we were not good enough; that’s it. We could only score 133 runs! It’s not the sole fault of the selectors or Kusul Perera. What happened to our other talented batsmen with years of experience, Mahela, Dilshan, Angelo and Sangakkara? They just couldn’t get going. We were just not up to the mark and no amount of education would have helped us. That’s it. In cricket you win some and lose some.

    As a nation, in our disappointments, we have a grand capacity to throw accusations every which way and blame every one. Shouldn’t we be a little more objective in our criticisms and check our facts?

    As an educated man, Dr Nimal Chandrasena may not agree with me, but I believe education, religion and culture is nothing but a gang-rape of our minds from infancy which smothers independent-thinking and prevents us from thinking for ourselves and seeing the simple truths.

    • 15
      0

      Nimal Fernando, I am angry with you, but in a friendly way. You have taken out of my mind what I wanted to write. Now I have nothing more to say as every word
      has been taken out of me by you. Thank you for reading my mind and penning the practical comment. Well done and nothing more to add.

  • 3
    0

    [Please don’t tell me – “it’s only a game” – it’s a lot more to me than a game; it is my Nation’s pride; and by extension – mine too!]

    Get over it get a life go visit a Physiatrists if you need to get over your depression if you are married and have children take them to park and have picnic enjoy life don’t hang you pride in eleven well paid entertainers are chasing after piece of dead animal skin in a arena. Beauty is if you want to sulk like A halfwit its you choice. Think of your achievement as Kennedy famously said think of what you can do for the country not the other way around. Biggest of all don’t be a defeatist and visit on others performance.

  • 2
    0

    The reference to SL’s chief selector as ‘an uneducated man’ and not being ‘sophisticated’ is as puerile as it is irrelevant, and does not do the writer proud.

    Yes, Muralitharan also had a say about the 2015 team selections but that seems a bit rich coming from him, considering his own selection for the 2011 Final when he declared himself fit to play when he was visibly hobbling. The fellow could hardly walk, let alone bowl or field that day. That cost SL dearly.

    There were clearly some bizarre changes made to the side for the Quarter Final against South Africa, but what this game highlighted (again) is a long running problem which has not been properly addressed, i.e. – apart from the obvious weakness of the bowling – the inability of the middle and lower order players to score enough runs.

    In this regard, it is instructive to compare SL’s performances in the 1996 Semi Final with what happened in the recent SA game. In the 1996 game, SL lost the first two wickets in the very first over and was 3 down for 35. In the recent game SL was 3 down for 69 (doing better than in 1996). In 1996 SL was able to fight back thanks largely to an audacious innings from Aravinda. This time, to his credit, Thirimanne tried to counter attack similarly. But the crucial difference between the two games is that in 1996, when the SL innings closed (with 8 wickets down) they had added 216 more runs. Of these, Chaminda Vaas batting at number 9, made 23. In the game against SA, when the innings closed (with all out in 37.2 overs) after being 3 for 69, the rest only added 64 runs. So, whilst in 1996 SL was able to recover from an initial set back, in 2015 they went down like nine pins.

    SL needs to take a leaf out of Australia. Time and again we saw in the last Ashes series how England would have 5 Australian wickets for not very much only to find the wicket keeper Haddin come in at 7 and together with the other lower order players, turn the game around, sometimes even doubling the score, and secure an Australian win. The current Australian teams bat down to the last man. This used to be the case with earlier SL teams as well; not now. I recall during SL’s last tour to England, how some commentators were saying that when playing against SL, you had to try to get only the first 5 wickets and after that the others simply followed.

    Apart from the bowling where the weakness is so very obvious, there is then also this problem with the batting and that needs also to be properly addressed.

  • 1
    0

    To be selector in Gamay at least you need to get educated for coaching.

    To be a national selector you have to have passed all the cricket coaching exams and need experience of coaching a division one team.

    In addition country need selection policies and procedures for important events. Training is required for the administrators as well.
    If these things established this type of mistakes will not happen aging.

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