Getting rid of non-performer seniors like Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne and Thisara Perera from the shorter formats (ODI and T20s) and forming a core of new players is the right way in moving forward for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). As Pramodaya Wickramasinghe led selection committee has taken this courageous decision, they needs to be applauded, along with Technical Advisory committee chairman Aravinda de Silva, Cricket Director Tom Moody and Sports Council chairman Mahela Jayawardene. For their survival, elected bodies at Maitland Place always surrendered against non-performer players. Now, it’s time to kick them out from the shorter formats permanently and take decisive step in forming a core of Sri Lanka shorter formats squads, by giving preference to young players.
In the middle of a test series on the home soil, Sri Lanka players (especially some non-performers) were more concerned about possible pay cut in their annual contracts than winning the game! As a result, there were dozen of reports stating that the players are disgruntled that they are going to lose out a significant portion of their pay in the central contracts. Now it has also reported that the players have decided not to sign annual contracts and the deadlock could have a serious impact on the sport.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), however, denied the reports, stating that nothing untoward is taking place.
“There is no such dispute or a deadlock between SLC and the players over contract negotiations. SLC will attempt to conclude the negotiations (with the players) and arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement between the parties once the Bangladesh tour of Sri Lanka ends”, SLC had said in a media statement.
However, the reports of a disagreement are keep floating, especially as now the selectors have decided to get rid of Mathews, Karunaratne, Chandimal, Perera and Nuwan Pradeep this week in a major revamp as they focus on the future of Sri Lanka cricket. Pramodaya’s main argument is that Sri Lanka needs to look beyond the misfiring seniors and prepare a team well in advance for the 2023 World Cup, as England did in the run-up to their World Cup victory in 2019.
Since the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2015, Sri Lanka have heavily relied on these cricketers to bring about a change in the game but with little success. Sri Lanka is currently ranked 8th in tests and T20Is and 9th in ODIs, the lowest the former World Cup and T20 World Cup champions have fallen into.
Obviously, the blame for these disastrous rankings goes to these seniors, as they were the mainstay of Sri Lanka across all formats in last one decade. They all not only failed to justify their talent at fullest, they wasted an entire decade of Sri Lanka cricket as well!
Among these non performers, Though, Mathews maintain an average of above 40 in ODI cricket, he has become a liability in last few years, due to his injury issues and decline in form. Chandimal, with nearly 150 ODIs under his belt, has an average of below 33. Dimuth was, anyway, never a shorter formats player, but kept playing (and captaining) due to political reasons! The same applies on Thirimanne, who was the biggest misfit in shorter formats in last one decade.
“These players need to be kept away from Sri Lanka cricket shorter formats now. Sri Lanka has already paid the price for showing faith in them. Even when they were at their prime, they couldn’t perform consistently. So now, when they all are above 30, they are not going to add any value in shorter formats. Pramodaya and all others have taken the right decision and they must stick with this, even if Sri Lanka lose few matches and series with young players” a cricket expert in Sri Lanka told Cricket Age.
Under the revamp, Kusal Perera has been appointed captain of the ODI team with Kusal Mendis as his deputy, ending Karunaratne’s 17-match stint as Sri Lanka skipper. Now, as the shorter formats dreams have faded away, the non-performers are fighting for the annual contracts.
‘Forget contract negotiations, Mathews, Chandimal, Thisara, Dimuth, Thirimanne doesn’t deserve place even in shorter formats. Before shouting against this pay cuts, these players need to look at themselves in the mirror. They are lucky, that Sri Lanka Cricket is offering them contracts in first place. On the basis of their performances, they don’t deserve even these contracts with significant pay cuts. They didn’t cry when Sri Lanka dropped below Bangladesh and Afghanistan in Rankings in all three formats. Now, when their pocket are going to be affected, they are making these meaningless noises” the cricket expert added.