The long standing problem with Sri Lanka Cricket since last one decade is that they have wrongly been mesmerized by useless players like Lahiru Thirimane and Dinesh Chandimal. Few former players (in order to fulfil their own agendas) have also established the myth that these two are the best batsmen of this generation for Sri Lanka. By doing this, Sri Lanka have failed to identify and back outright match winners like Thisara Perera and Kusal Perera. However, as the world cup is around the corner, the two Perera’s have proved their worth. More importantly, they have given a hope for a better show in the world cup.
Kusal Perera is a top order batsman, who likes to bat in the mould of his idol Sanath Jayasuriya. Rated highly as one of the most destructive shorter formats batsmen of modern era, Kusal can destroy any bowling attack on his day. In t20 cricket, he has more man of the match awards than Virat Kohli and is a complete nightmare for the bowlers.
Thisara is an allrounder, who relies on his brutal power hitting. A monstrous hitter of cricket ball, Thisara has unbelievably maintained a ODI strike rate of 113 after playing more than 147 matches! In t20 cricket, he is even more dangerous, as his strike rate of 154 is only second to Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch.
Unfortunately, Sri Lanka took ages to realize and accept their talent and worth. Entire world cricket knows that Kusal and Thisara are two best match winners in shorter formats, except for Sri Lanka!
Reason is quite simple. Sri Lanka have wrongly been mesmerized by players like Lahiru Thirimane and Dinesh Chandimal. It’s disgusting to think even that Thirimane and Chandimal have played 26 and 54 t20 matches respectively. Sri Lanka collectively wasted 80 t20 matches on these two players, when entire world cricket knows that both they can’t play ODI cricket even!
There are obvious reasons to project these two as Sri Lanka’s best! Thirimane has just one shot in his arsenal, but accidentally that shot reminds of a former player. That former player himself has been regarded as one of the greatest batsman of modern era, but unfortunately he praises an utter failure like Thirimane. He, and few other former players like him, have forgotten a simple fact that in an era where even Jason Holder and Ravichandran Ashwin have multiple test hundreds, Thirimane could score a solitary century in his almost ten years long career, that too after being considered as a top order batsman.
Chandimal’s case is even more complicated. For some mysterious reasons, everyone in Sri Lanka still believes that he is worth in all three formats. Just few months ago, he was the captain of Sri Lanka’s shorter formats teams! Fortunately for Sri Lanka test Thirimane has been discarded, but Chandimal is still playing shorter formats. Even his last two innings against New Zealand proved that he is a complete misfit in shorter formats. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka haven’t realized yet!
The two Perera’s are not that much lucky like Thirimane and Chandimal. They never got the sort of support, which is permanent with Thirimane and Chandimal. Two years ago, Thisara’s career was going nowhere, while Sanath Jayasuriya was the chairman of selectors. As Jayasuriya never missed a chance to discourage Thisara, he had started to suspect on his own abilities.
Fortunately for Sri Lanka, Thisara didn’t give up during the worst time of his career and as soon as Jayasuriya departed, he reestablished himself as one of the premier allrounder of world cricket.
Like Thisara, Kusal is also making his own way, without getting that much backing from the team management. Danushka Gunathilika is playing test cricket, but there is no room for Kusal, who has proved to be one of the most matured player in last two years for Sri Lanka! This fact proves that team management has still not realized his full potential.
However, as world cup is around the corner, both the Perera’s have decided to re-announce themselves once again. Kusal’s innings in the first ODI against New Zealand was a reminder for Sri Lanka’s team management once again that how much he has matured as a batsman. His power hitting is still there, but now he also knows when to change gears.
Thisara’s brutal hundred in the second ODI was probably the arrival of world’s most destructive allrounder in the truest sense. In last two years, Thisara’s shorter formats statistics have improved by leaps and bounds. Most importantly, now, like Kusal, he also knows when to change gears!
The 2019 world cup is approaching fast. Now, it’s up to Sri Lanka team management whether they wants to back their two best match winners or failures like Chandimal and Thirimane. Mind you, there is currently a Chief selector (Asantha De Mel), who is also a big fan of Thirimane! So, he will try his best to bring him in the setup again! There will also be plenty of former players (with their own agendas), who will start their campaign to keep Chandimal into the world cup plans!
However, the two Perera’s have proved their worth! And if they keep their momentum, then Sri Lanka will definitely be a team to watch!