Sri Lanka Chief selector Asantha De Mel talks big. Very big. But when it comes to selecting a proper playing eleven for different formats, he and his fellow selectors falls flat. As a result, even after historically winning test series 2-0 against Proteas, Sri Lanka were comprehensively whitewashed in ODI and T20I series.
Here are few selection decisions, that went horribly wrong for Sri Lanka against a far too superior and skilled South Africa shorter formats unit :
Confused mindset over Dhananjaya De Silva : During Graeme Labrooy time, Dhananjaya had prospered big time and announced himself as next big thing for Sri Lanka cricket. Asantha De Mel and Co. killed that momentum by shuffling Dhananjaya up and down in the batting order. Even after almost a year at office, Asantha De Mel and his fellow selectors are not sure about his batting position. In ODIs and in the first two T20Is, Dhananjaya battedvas low as at number seven. Technically correct and classic batsmen like Hashim Amla, Kane Williamson, Joe Root bats in top three in shorter formats knowing that they are not power hitters. Dhananjaya falls in the same category. Unfortunately, Asantha De Mel doesn’t know this simplest fact. As a result, in order to put him here and there in shorter formats, they are destroying his test career as well.
Putting Kusal Mendis in shorter formats hustle : It is more than visible that like Dhananjaya De Silva, Kusal Mendis is also still not ready for shorter formats. Already considered as one of the most exciting young batting stars in test cricket who can cross 12,000 test run mark, Mendis should play only the longer format for at least next two years. However, Asantha and Co wants to put him everwhere, even in T20s! He was in brilliant form in tests against South Africa, tried hard to carry that form in ODIs as well, but soon started to falter. After failures in first two T20Is, he was dropped for the third match. That’s the thing Asantha De Mel selection committee is doing over and again : Select an inform player for the wrong formats and destroy his confidence.
Curious Case of Angelo Perera : One month ago, Angelo Perera had created history by becoming only the second batsman in the history of the game to score twin double hundreds in a first class match. Asantha selection committee instantly picked him. But instead of playing tests, he ended up playing T20Is, where he looked a complete misfit. By putting Angelo Perera in the wrong formats, Asantha and Co have virtually ended his international career!
Sidelining Sadeera Samarwikrama : During Graeme Labrooy time, Sadeera had started to prosper as an opener. Against India, he opened the innings and looked solid. Despite being one of the most technically correct batsman and a fine stroke maker, Asantha and Co have reduced him to a water boy. He could not find place in a single match during South Africa tour, even though he was in blistering form in domestic cricket. It seems, Asantha De Mel wants to bring his most favorite Lahiru Thirimane for the world cup, thus not giving chances to Sadeera to cement his place.
Continues persistent with Niroshan Dickwella: He is playing since last two years, still has no test hundred and just one half century in T20Is to his credit. Still, Dickwella finds place in all the squads in all formats. To hoodwink cricket fans, Asantha selection committee dropped him for ODIs, but immediately brought back for T20Is. In order to promoting Dickwella, selectors are ignoring Sadun Weerakoody, Sadeera Samarwikrama as potential wicket keepers. On a tour, where Asantha selection committee fielded all rookies, they didn’t bother to put a new wicket keeper.
Fear of dropping Thisara Perera : When Sri Lanka can drop Dinesh Chandimal from the tour, Upul Tharanga from the side, then why not Thisara Perera? Just because, he belongs to St. Joseph College? He played in all eight games, including ODIs and T20Is, but couldn’t produce a single match winning knock. With the ball, he was ordinary as always. But, by fearing his godfather, Asantha selection committee could not drop Thisara. More worryingly, it looked like for some mysterious (not that much) reasons, Thisara was not that much focused during these matches. Probably, he was busy in drafting another letter to SLC CEO Ashley De Silva!
With all these selection blunders, Now Sri Lanka to enter into world cup without a single inform batsmen, bowler or allrounder (except for Isuru Udana). Will big talking Asantha De Mel will take the blame for this misery, that he has messed up everything before the world cup?