As a limited over specialist, Akila Dananjaya used to bowl leg spin and googlies. After forcing him into test cricket, Sri Lanka’s head coach Chandika Hathurasingha and bowling coach Piyal Wijetunge insisted him to bowl more off spinners and that brought his suspension from the International Cricket Council (ICC).
In last one and half year, Akila Dananjaya had emerged as Sri Lanka’s number one spinner In shorter formats. With his variations and attacking mind set, he rattled much famous Indian bowling line up on their own backyard in December last year. Then in August, Proteas danced on his tune, as Akila registerd his best ODI bowling figure of 6/29.
Then he was brought into test cricket. And that’s where problems started! Around 2015, when Akila first hogged the limelight, many had reservations about his bowling action. But he remodelled his action with perfection and added leg spin and googley in his arsenal.
However, the ICC has banned Akila for his controversial ‘Doosara’ and thus Sri Lanka’s bowling coach Piyal Wijetunge must take the responsibility for this unfortunate incident.
According to insiders, Piyal forced Akila to bowl more off spinners, that caused his downfall.
“It was an open fact that Akila action could bring his downfall. Even before his debut for national team, the domestic coaches were aware about this. With Akila, the domestic coaches worked hard to remodel his action. However, when he came under Piyal supervision, he messed up things” an national team insider told Cricket Age.
For any national side, the video analyzing session provides the shortcomings/strength of bowlers and batsmen. During the video analyzing session, the bowling and batting coach gets an idea about players.
However, Piyal did nothing to avoid the inevitable suspension of Akila. As a spin bowling coach of a national team since last six years, Piyal should have sensed Akila’s issue with ‘Doosara.
During the second test at Galle against England, a Sri Lanka legend was present in the family enclosure to witness the farewell match of bowling wizard Rangana Herath. As soon as that Legend saw Akila’s bowling, he predicted that he would soon be banned by the ICC. He is a batting great, even then he saw it coming after watching Akila’s few deliveries. Piyal, being in the national setup since last six years, couldn’t see it.
And, then there is another culprit – Sri Lanka’s head coach Chandika Hathurasingha. Insiders says that Hathurusingha wanted to play Akila in all three formats at any cost, sensing the fact that he is an outright match winner and could bring victories. So, Hathurusingha risked with Akila to save his floundering record as Sri Lanka’s coach!
“In Sri Lanka, everyone, except for Hathurusingha, knew that Akila will be suspected. Sri Lanka’s domestic coaches knew it, former players knew it, but Hathurusingha didn’t” the team insider added further.