Big question: How long clueless Asantha De Mel will ‘Repeat’ Non-performer Lahiru Thirimanne?

Written by Rohit Pawar

In last one decade, many things have changed in Sri Lanka cricket. Self-proclaimed messiah of Sri Lanka cricket Thilanga Sumathipala has been bared from entering Maitland Place, on match-fixing charges. Sports Ministers like Dayasiri Jayasekera, Faizer Mustapha came and gone, after using SLC for their political campaigns. Harin Fernando tried to change Sri Lanka cricket and overwhelmingly succeeded. Now, Shammi Silva rules SLC and has stamped his authority with some bold on-field decisions (like removing manipulative Chandika Haturusingha and Asanka Gurusinha from the national setup). On field, Angelo Mathews has settled in his role as a player, giving up captaincy dreams. Sri Lanka’s greatest spinner ever Rangana Herath has retired! Lasith Embuldeniya, As Herath’s successor, has given an early hope for the future.

One thing, however, has not changed in Sri Lanka cricket as yet – the countless returns of Lahiru Thirimanne! He made his international debut in 2010 and played first test a year later. Since then, he did only one thing perfectly – wasting every given opportunity at international level.

A so-called stylish left-hander, whom Legends like Kumar Sangakkara and Aravinda De Silva backs unconditionally and openly says he must feature in every squad, every format Sri Lanka plays, has still not fully prospered in any of the format in last one decade, even after gifting close to 200 International matches in all three formats. In test cricket even, where he should have prospered like Sir Don Bradman according to these former legends, he carries a miserable average of 22.63 after 35 tests with a solitary century, that too against Bangladesh.

Sangakkara, only because he resembles one of his stroke, calls him a free-flowing, gifted striker of the ball. In reality, Thirimanne has a habit to goes back to shell, whenever the opposite side brings pressure, even in test cricket (his painful strike rate of 37 proves it). For him to handle the pressure is all about blocking the balls. He doesn’t even bother to rotate the strike and take singles here and there. Even after these sort of below par statistics, not only test cricket, he has managed to play 127 ODIs and 26 T20Is also (and many more to come with the blessings of people like Asantha De Mel and powerful bargaining capacity of his manager, who shamelessly hides himself but continue to control everything from behind the scene!). Asantha is the sole responsible, also because Shammi Silva administration doesn’t interfere in selection.

On the other hand, more deserving players in Sri Lanka are continuously been thrown out in wilderness.

Roshane Silva, coincidentally plays his first class cricket with Thirimanne’s at Ragama,  had emerged as a solid test player, especially in home conditions. His statistics in the early phase (close to 40 average, with 1 hundred and 5 fifties) promised for a long international career.

However, he was thrown out in the wilderness, only after few low scores. Now, Asantha De Mel has completely forgotten even that a player named Roshane Silva exist in Sri Lanka cricket!

Lahiru Udara is another player, who deserves a national call-up. At 26, he has prospered big time in domestic cricket. A healthy FC average of 37 and a highest score of 290 proves his batting prowess. This season, particularly, he was in form of his life during the Premier League tournament, aggregating 1039 runs, with a Bradman like average of 86. Moreover, his FC strike rate of 74 proves that he is a free-flowing batsman.

Sadly, Asantha De Mel doesn’t like performers! He can’t be impressed either with Roshane Silva like Solid technique, or mesmerizing FC season like Lahiru Udara had.

To impress Asantha De Mel, you need to be Lahiru Thirimanne!

To impress Asantha, you need to have a political CV! To impress Asantha, you need to have a manipulative manager, who has no ethics!

Thirimanne has all these qualities!

Team India’s current captain Virat Kohli also made his test debut in 2011. Today, he is considered as one of the greatest batsman of all time, even though he has still at least 6 years of cricket left in him! Steve Smith played his first test in 2010. Initially started his career as a leg break bowler and a handy lower order batsman, he rewrote the history be becoming the greatest test batsman of the modern era, with a gigantic average of 62.

Thirimanne also could have become like Kohli or Smith. Sadly he was busy all these years in pushing his manager to bring International matches for him, politically strengthening himself and placing hoarding in front of his house!

The ultimate loser is the Sri Lanka cricket, for investing an entire decade on a player, who was not committed to earn a place, earn a reputation for himself, through his batting!

So, the simplest answer of the question that how long clueless Asantha De Mel will ‘Repeat’ Non-performer Lahiru Thirimanne, is – the incompetent chairman of selectors has already booked his flight for forthcoming South Africa tour! Some love stories never ends!


About the author

Rohit Pawar

An Independent I.T. Security Expert, Geek, Blogger & Passionate Programmer.