Thursday, 18 July 2013

Old faces, same problem

Two weeks ago we saw the revival of the international career of Dilhara Lokuhettige, who played an ODI after lapse of 5 years. Some of you may argue he in fact was playing a Test, and not an ODI, at least that's what it looked like from the the way he batted. Sri Lanka's need for an fast bowling all rounder in the mid 2000s was once again highlighted, when Mathews had to bat up the order, Kulasekara split his webbing and Thisara was given an abrupt vacation. Dilhara stepped up to the plate, as he did in 2005, and shined in patches, a good spell here and there, but failed to make use of the opportunity. Old faces, same problem.

 And this week on Mummies Alive, SLC has decided to resurrect the  career of Jehan Mubarak. Yes, the very Jehan Mubarak that once almost broke the record for the fastest T20 50, and smashed Brett Lee so far out of Nottingham, that he had to take the flight back to Australia. But this was two moments of glory in a career that spanned over 7 years. Undoubtedly, like Dilhara Lokuhettige, Jehan too has talent. And potential. The only thing they lack, are the performances on the big stage when they are given the floor. Sri Lanka's mid 2000s problem of having a fragile middle order have come to light again. Many were tried, and many had failed. Until the so called young brigade stepped up. The Chandimals, and the Thirimannes and the Mathews had given hope for a depth in batting order that Sri Lanka once boasted of in the 90s. But, they've started to falter and the Commander has called for back up. And Jehan Mubarak is it. He is the back up. Old faces, same problem.

A failing middle order, pressure on seniors, irresponsible youth;
maybe being thrown in to the deep end is just what Jehan needs to show his true colours.
If Jehan fails, although even if he doesn't he's got only about another 3 years left in him, maybe next we will see Thilina Kandambi, trying to impress us with his resemblance to Arjuna and the similar agility in the field, or the lack of it. Then we will see Chamara Silva. He will defend out another world cup semi final until Andy McKay bowls him through the gate and Mathews will hit a six and a four and all will be well. We might even see Chamara Kapugedara. And Ashish Nehra. Just so Chamara Kapugedara can hit a six off him the last ball, and save his place for the next 6 games. Old faces, same problem.

Well, moving on, Thisara Perera's holiday VISA has expired and he's had to return to the team, and in the absence of Kula and even Angelo for the first two games, Thisara's place would be safe and secure. Dilshan also makes a return, at the expense of Kusal Perera, who needs to go back to Colts CC and remind him self that you are not given out of your strike rate drops below 100. He'll be back though. Dilshan's only another 3 games away from injury, and worst case 2 years away from retirement, anyway.

Angelo Perera has been named in the squad again. From what I remember of him, he is a SOLID bat, although Maneesha would be a better judge at it having played against him in the age group circuits, and Maniya considers him one of the best he's seen. He'll be hoping he gets to do more than bowl 1 over of off breaks for 17 runs, this time around. Nevertheless, new faces are always good to see, because when new faces perform, they put much more pressure on the seniors than any of the old faces would. New faces add security. Make us feel that there is someone in line who is actually willing to take the job after the seniors call it a day. Let's hope they play him.

All in all the squad looks all right. To manage with what we have is something Sri Lanka have learnt over a long period of international cricket. This series won't be any different. Old faces, same problem.

The 1st game starts on the 20th.
Catch you then,
Kumma and Maniya

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