Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Worcestershire swoop for Jayasuriya

Sri Lankan allrounder Sanath Jayasuriya has signed with Worcestershire as their overseas player for five Twenty20 matches this summer. He will replace allrounder Steve Smith, who was called-up to Australia's limited-overs squads for the forthcoming tour of England.

"Sanath will bring a wealth of experience to the squad during a critical part of the forthcoming T20 campaign gained from playing all around the world, including the IPL and the recent World Twenty20 in the West Indies," Steve Rhodes, Worcestershire's director of cricket, said. "His left-arm spin and powerful batting can only benefit our efforts in this competition and there is no doubt he is still one of the most exciting cricketers in world cricket. He is a proven match-winner and I have no doubt he will prove to be a great entertainer for our supporters." 

Jayasuriya will depart for England after obtaining a clearance from Sri Lanka Cricket. At 40, Jayasuriya is one of the oldest international cricketers on the circuit, having played 110 Tests and 444 ODIs since his debut in 1989. However, he hasn't been able to hold his place in the Sri Lankan limited-overs teams recently after hitting a rough patch with the bat. With the reputation of being a destructive opener, his inconsistency has led to him dropping down the order to No.7, and being used primarily as a bowler. 

He recently entered politics and won a parliament seat in the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. 

Worcestershire failed to make the semi-finals last year's Twenty20 Cup, finishing fifth in the Midlands/Wales/West Division.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jayasuriya to play for Worcestershire

All-rounder Sanath Jayasuriya, who has been the subject of much criticism in recent weeks, will represent Worcestershire in the upcoming English county season

Jayasuriya, has been heavily criticized for his failure with the bat in the recent T-20 World Cup. While the former captain is expected to play only the T-20 tournament in England, Vaas is expected to play a bigger role in Northants campaign. He’s expected to join the county in a few days time.

This will be Vaas’ fourth English county having already represented Worcestershire, Hampshire and Middlesex since the turn of the new millennium. Jayasuriya, meanwhile, has had short stints with Lancashire and Somerset.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

We need Eleven Sanath Jayasuriya's

Sri Lankan cricket rankings have been fluctuating like Japanese Yen currency, for the past several years. This is a reflection of our teams overall performances in all forms of cricket. It is sad to notice that the team hasn’t got the “killer instinct”. On a good day, the team is extremely good and on a bad day, they are like wooden spoons.

In contrast, teams such Australia and New Zealand have maintained consistency in their performances in all three departments of bowling, batting and fielding. Australia did suffer series of set backs during past 2 years, yet they grouped themselves quickly and adapted to the situations. It is an amazing team, their tactics are by far the best in the world. They never press the “panic” button, placing confidence on all batters. Even in a worst case scenario, Mitchell Johnson can be relied upon to score runs and reach the target. Loss of early wickets is not a worry for Australia in most matches. They do not rely on few “big names”, everyone in the team is a “big name” in all three departments.

Sri Lankan teams main weakness is lack of patience and too much reliance on big names. If big names are back in the shed, the rest of the team becomes extremely exposed and vulnerable. Our strengths associated with the “big name “ players have become our weakness. They all come in a queue one after another, and they all go back to the shed with fewer runs on the board. The batting order is not blended with experienced players and young players. In the most recently concluded T20 semi final, Sanath, Mahela, Dilshan and Kamar all came into bat one after another and they all went back to the pavilion in disgust.

With the world cup of ODI only a year away, we need to build on our strengths and reduce weaknesses. The comments before the commencement of a match by the Skipper shows a glorious picture but without deliverables.

Since the appointment of Trevor Bayliss, Sri Lankan cricket team has performed just as badly as some of the other minnows. Trevor Bayliss in his days was never an elite player in Australia, compared many other top class performers. Never played a test match or an ODI. Since his appointment in August 2007, Sri Lankan team has been struggling to win matches. When compared with the tenure in office of Tim Moody and David Whatmore, Trevor’s performances have so far been a disaster.

Today Sri Lanka is ranked No. 6 in ODI, followed by Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Kenya.
Moving to 2011 world cup competition for Sri Lanka is an uphill battle. The current coach need to be replaced immediately, if David Whatmore is available, he is the best candidate. David prefers Sri Lanka, he loves our country. He should be recruited, not just for World Cup, but for a longer duration.

Finally, our current squad is quite capable of delivering the goods. Though some people are bashing Sanath Jayasuriya, I think we need not just One Sanath Jayasuriya, but we need 11 Sanath Jayasuriya’s.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

On the field, I’m a cricketer, not a politician - Jayasuriya

Gros Islet (St Lucia): “On the field, I’m a cricketer, not a politician, so there’s no conflict,” is how Sanath Jayasuriya responded to calls from some quarters that he end his career as a sportsman.
The 40-year-old, who started his Sri Lanka innings just weeks after Sachin Tendulkar’s November 15, 1989 beginning, got elected to Parliament last month.

“I’m thankful to the people of Matara... I was busy with cricket, but they stood by me... My mother (Breeda) and brother (Chandana) did all the hard work... They did the campaigning on my behalf,” Jayasuriya told.

Jayasuriya, who won on the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance ticket, is the second cricketer in Sri Lanka, after the 1996 World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga, to enter Parliament.
They haven’t met after the elections, though.

“It feels good to be in Parliament... This, obviously, is a very different pitch... But, then, I’m passionate about everything I do,” Jayasuriya said.

Having quit Test cricket after 110 appearances (6,973 runs, 14x100), Jayasuriya is now focusing on the ODIs (13,428 runs in 444 matches, 28x100) and T20 Internationals.

“I’m looking to play till the 2011 World Cup, let’s see how things go... I don’t take my place for granted and, so, I’ll have to keep performing and stay fit,” Jayasuriya pointed out.

Laughing, Jayasuriya added: “The people, in fact, want me to play till the World Cup... One reason, perhaps, being that Sri Lanka is one of the hosts... It’s going to be a big event for us and, yes, the expectations will also be big.”

Once through with cricket, what exactly will he do?
“Give all my time to the people... They expect me to deliver and I can’t let them down. I think, through my cricket, I’ve given joy to the people... As a Parliamentarian, I have the chance to actually work for them,” Jayasuriya maintained.

Jayasuriya, incidentally, refused to stick his neck out and predict who’d win the ongoing World Twenty20. “In this format, any team can beat the other... It’s hard to even guess,” he signed off.
The veteran should know — his franchise, the Mumbai Indians, topped the league stage of IPL III, but still lost in the final, to the Chennai Super Kings.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Jayasuriya tipped to open in today’s encounter

Sri Lanka, who emerged as runners up in the 2009 ICC T20 World cup in England, has not been impressive in the Caribbean this time around. Mahela Jayewardene has been the only player who has caught the eye of all international commentators, experts, pundits and even the general public. The rest of the players have not lived up to expectations so far.

The old cliché “Form is temporary class is permanent,” let’s hope this comes to pass, since most of the senior players barring Jayewardene look rusty, tired and out of sought. Let’s hope the toll of the recently concluded IPL is not playing her part with the players.

If Sri Lanka has to live up to her reputation, she needs a one hundred percent turn around in all three departments of the game. Jayewardene seems to be the sole bread winner in the batting department. He needs support not only at the top of the order but also in the middle and to some extent, extended support in the lower order as well. Living with past glories does not help at this level. The bowling must get tighter and the fielding must get disciplined both in catching and at ground level.

West Indies are an improved out fit with the likes of Chris Gayle, Chandrapaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Kiron Pollard looking in great nick. Darren Sammy has showed clear signs that he is a utility all rounder. Sri Lanka must take into account that Dwayne Bravo and Jerome Taylor put their hands up when it matters. The challenge for Sangakkara and his men this evening will be awesome.

Muttia Muralitheran bowled at the nets yesterday. This is good news from a Sri Lankan perspective. He, one reckons will be rested today, most probably the selectors on tour will play him in the next game against the mighty Aussies this Sunday. It is envisaged that Sanath Jayasuriya will open the batting, with Mahela Jayewardene. Jayasuriya will be given a free license to go after the bowling and this spells danger from a West Indian point of view.

Sanath has nothing to lose now; his mantle of being the sole run accumulator at very quick pace which he did so successfully in the yester year has changed hands now. It’s high time he goes out their bat with his instinct and enjoys the game that brought him so much glory. If Sanath succeeds he will not only quench the thirst of his countrymen, but also will silence those who were critical of him being selected for this tour.

Dilshan will need to get back to the drawing room. He had an excellent 2009, but 2010 has not been a bright beginning for this talented cricketer. “The darkest hours of the day are before dawn”, hope Dilshan will keep that in mind and not lose hope.

Sri Lanka will decide on the playing Eleven after looking at the pitch at Bridgetown Barbados today. Barbados has more bounce and carry, unlike rainforest Guyana where the wickets were sluggish and slow.

Sanath singled out for humiliation?

With the Sri Lankan cricketers losing to New Zealand and then having to thank batting star Mahela Jayawardena, the rain in Guyana and Duckworth and Lewis for their victory against Zimbabwe it is time to ask questions.

From what every cricket fan can see everything does not seem to be tickety boo with the squad in the Caribbean.

Why this has to be so is inexplicable. One can’t understand the stepmotherly treatment meted out to Sri Lanka’s cricketing elder statesman Sanath Jayasuriya.

In the game against the Kiwis he was sent at the fall of the fifth wicket and then against Zimbabwe he was slotted in at number eight.

Now this is inexplicable considering that he was going to be a vital cog in the team’s attempt to win the ICC Twenty20 this time round after having been runners up in the previous tournament in England.

According to cricket fans it is apparent that Jayasuriya has been singled out for humiliation and ridicule. Cricket fans base this argument on the fact that the master blaster has been in pads, looking to come in to bat early, but having to cool his heels as wickets continue to fall and he is pushed back as far as possible in the batting order.

It must be hurting inside although the great man who has done wonders for the game and country continues to suffer in silence, though not making it public. What wrong has he done to suffer this ignominy? Leading TV commentators doing their thing before and during the game were non plussed and were questioning as to why the Matara mauler is being held back and not being batted at the top.

One can’t also understand why the Lankans are going in with two right hand batsmen as openers. Need we tell them that if a right hand-left hand combination takes strike, the bowlers will be cursing as they will find it difficult to bowl line and length?

Jayasuriya’s slot is at the top and not in the middle order or the tail they, quite rightly say. The commentators know what they are talking about and they are spot on in their questioning.

Sri Lanka Cricket will do well, instead of watching the comedy that is being enacted in the Caribbean in silence, but question the authorities there as to what has prompted this comedy to be enacted in Calypso land.

Cricket fans are convinced that the team seems to be lacking in team spirit that is so very vital for a team to succeed.

They reckon that there is an ‘iron hand’ behind the comedy that is being enacted and they insist that this “iron hand” has to be manacled if the team is to do better than the lackadaisical manner in which they are playing at the moment.

It must be understood that how ever indispensable an individual or a player, he will be of absolutely no use if he thinks he is greater than the game and the team.

Those who matter at the scene of action must not remain deaf, dumb and blind to the ugly scenes that are taking place, but act without fear if the good name of the country is not to be sullied.

The ‘iron hand’ or the one attempting to be a tin pot dictator must be told that cricket is a team game and not a one man show.

If he is refusing to realize and accept this then the authorities there should not hesitate to fly him back in the earliest flight available.

Jayasuriya faced a sorry plight

Needless to say, luck plays a big role in Twenty20. A dropped chance or a missed run out can tilt fortunes. And that's what happened in the first match of the Twenty20 World Cup between New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

A thrilling finish is what cricket fans look forward to from the start of a tournament. It lures everyone into the game and encourages them to follow the fortunes of all teams in the event.

Needless to say, luck plays a big role in Twenty20. A dropped chance or a missed run out can tilt fortunes. And that's what happened in the first match of the Twenty20 World Cup between New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Lasith Malinga missed two run out chances as the Lankans failed to lift their game at the right time. Despite their good bowling attack, they failed to grab chances that came their way.

Sri Lanka's history of victories in instant cricket reveals that a whirlwind start is what guides them to victory in most occasions. Their 1996 World Cup triumph was mainly due to the hurricane start from their openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana. The first 15 overs were a treat to watch with both playing unbelievable shots.

But in this match, Sri Lanka mustered only 35 runs in the first six overs with out-of-form Tillakaratne Dilshan consuming 19 balls to score three runs.
Captain Kumar Sangakkara is fully aware that Dilshan managed only 44 runs from six innings for Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League and was even dropped from the team. So he should have asked Dilshan to bat down the order or ensured some of his lower order batsmen went for their shots to accelerate the run rate. It was a sorry plight to see their hardest hitting batsman, Jayasuriya, left with no balls to play and remain unbeaten on zero.


Short and quick knocks are vital in a Twenty20 format. And New Zealand did just that. They too had their star batsman Brendon McCullum falling for a duck but sprightly knocks from Jacob Oram and Nathan McCullum titled the match in their favour.
For Sri Lanka, this defeat can be an eye-opener. They must realise that being good on paper is not enough and that everyone must chip in with some powerful shots if a long innings is not possible.

Let's not be surprised if, from the next match, we get to see their old war horse Jayasuriya open the innings again. Time and again he has proved that old is gold and if he glitters with the bat now then all his opponents may have to run for cover.
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