Thursday, January 07, 2010

Leave Jayasuriya out at your peril

Sanath Jayasuriya is the icon of Sri Lankan cricket.

When the swashbuckling left-hander first came on the scene it was clear he would develop into the colossus the rest of the team would be built around. The quick pace with which he scored was thrilling for its technique and grit.

As the years went by the way in which he wielded the willow brought recognition and triumphs at the highest international levels. His team, and it was his team, was something to be reckoned with.

The World Cup win in 1996 will go down in Sri Lanka history and it was Jayasuriya – who rose to global prominence at this time – who led the way with his dashing stands as an opening batsman.

Sri Lankans go crazy whenever the “Matara Mauler” walks into the pitch but there is a fear creeping in that, comparative to the glory days, he is failing to show as much drive as he once did.

There are two things it would appear to be: either age or, as all cricketers go through at some point, an extended bad patch that he must surely turn around in the near future? But the burning question, and one that burns brighter by the day, is whether this Sri Lanka cricketing idol should be overlooked for the 2011 World Cup?

With so many young cricketers either in the team or knocking on the door, the Sri Lanka selectors must start to get clear in their minds just who they will task with bringing back the trophy.

Jayasuriya was always the all-rounder they could depend on. A spin bowler, a remarkable power batsman and a brilliant fielder: this was a men who you would never leave out of a line-up.

His failure during the recent one-day series and Twenty20s is of grave concern but should it really matter? Would the responsibility of leading the way at a world tournament not bring out the best of him and the team? On one side of the coin, his retirement from Test cricket did not make a dent in the overall performance of the team. The flip side is that even his biggest critics would admit that when he is not plating well he stil brings out the best in others. This is vital in the short form of the game.

There is no doubt Jayasuriya hasn’t been his usual self in T20s and ODIs for a while.

The slippery slope began when he was demoted from the opener’s slot to play as a middle-order batsman.

It is not just with bat and ball. In a recent T20 againt India, Jayasuriya misjudged a high catch off Virender Sehwag, which cost Sri Lanka dearly. India won by successfully chasing a score of 206.

He has made no significant contribution with the bat in the last few months and has been in and out of the side.

But there is nothing that any retiring sportsman wants more than a decent farewell and it is my opinion that Jayasuriya will be so determined to make that happen he should be given the chance to go to the 2011 World Cup.

Even if he makes 30 with the bat it will be done so rapidly it will lift the side. These emerging cricketers need experienced leaders to help them along and he has done it all.

Some of the class of ‘96, including Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva, faced scorn from fans and the media for their subsequent performance and the same fate shouldn’t befall Jayasuriya

At 40 he is the oldest of the gladiators in the cricketing world and he could solve the selection problems by retiring before the World Cup.

But I’m sure none of his fans would thank him for that and them, and myself, are hoping he will be the anchor of the side from this year and into next.

( Article by Amith Passela - Source)


Loved Ever said...

nice post keep blogging .
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