Irony is that Sri Lanka Cricket has slipped to such low standard, that a consistent under performer like Bhanuka Rajapaksa blames everyone in this universe for his removal from the national team, instead of standing in front of a mirror and introspecting himself.
In last 10 Innings, Rajapaksa’s scores reads: 8,7,11,8,22,NB, 0,1,1,40. With only 3 double digit scores in last 10 Innings, he managed 98 runs, with a dismal average of 9.8.
Just for comparative analysis, In the last 10 Innings across all formats – Pat Cummins (Australia) scored 112 runs, Ravichandran Ashwin (India) scored 156 runs, Jason Holder (West Indies) scored 179 runs. Its quite evident, that even after being universally known for their bowling, they all have outscored a so called proper batsman Rajapaksa in last 10 Innings.
However, before launching a scathing attack against Sri Lanka’s selectors and coaches, Rajapaksa didn’t bother to go through these statistics. Since his U19 days, he was tipped as next big thing of Sri Lanka cricket. A decade later, he has still not fulfilled those promises through his performance. His junior during U19 days Kusal Perera has just been appointed T20 captain! But, he is nowhere near in the race. Just 7 International matches to his name (that too T20Is) suggests he is still not developed as a player and has remained only a bits and pieces cricketer. Rajapaksa, though, didn’t give any importance to these facts!
Instead, in a YouTube interview, he just blamed ‘universe’ for his own downfall!
“When you run on the gym or work out on the gym, I don’t think you can improve your performance… For 12 years I have not suffered a major injury or broken down during a game. I have been given step motherly treatment. The board sorts out my visa and everything to go on tours, but in the last moment I am told that I can not make the tour because my skin folds are high,” Rajapaksa said.
During the Interview, he looked frustrated (maybe because he was not offered annual contract), angry (maybe, he has been discarded from national setup). In his frustration and anger, he murdered facts and tried to apply his own theories.
Rajapaksa said he has been informed that although he passed the 2KM test, his skinfold levels are high so he will not be picked.
Just last month, BCCI dropped Prithvi Shaw, India’s most promising young batting prodigy, from World Test Championship final against New Zealand and the five-match Test series against England. Reason, wrold’s richest cricket board was not happy with the 21-year-old’s fitness and asked him to “shed a few kilos”.
“Prithvi is still very slow across the turf for a 21-year-old. He needs to shed a few more kilos. He also had concentration issues while fielding in Australia. Shaw has been working hard since he returned from Australia. He has the example of Rishabh Pant right in front of him. If Pant can turn things around in a few months, Prithvi too can do it,” a BCCI source told Cricket Age.
So, even if BCCI is dropping players on fitness and skin fold criteria, then is there any logic of Rajapaksa making useless noises and pointing fingers towards the fitness criteria for the selection, instead of proving himself? Forget, Prithvi Shaw even. Is Rajapaksa unaware that his own teammates Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando and Dilruwan Perera were also dropped from the team due to same reasons (skin fold and 2km test). But instead of blaming the system, both Kusal and Avishka worked hard, improed their fitness, passed the tests and returned to the team! Also, being the International cricketer, doesn’t he know that not only Sri Lanka, majority of cricket playing nations, including BCCI, have adopted this 2KM test and Skin fold parameter as mandatory criteria for the selection?
“Instead of questioning the standard fitness criteria for the selection, he should have focused on improving his weaknesses. Also, he should have been grateful to Sri Lanka cricket and team management, that they shown trust in him and kept giving chances and facilities to prove himself” a cricket expert in Sri Lanka told Cricket Age.