Sri Lanka in Bangladesh 2013-14

Chandimal's reckoning looms

Test cricket is Dinesh Chandimal's best format, but his position doesn't look as secure, due to competition from other batsmen and inconsistent scores. He needs a big innings in Chittagong to revive his confidence

Andrew Fidel Fernando

February 2, 2014

Comments: 54 | Text size: A | A

Dinesh Chandimal participates in a training drill, Abu Dhabi, December 30, 2013
With the World T20 coming up, Dinesh Chandimal must prove he is more than just a passenger-captain © AFP
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Series/Tournaments: Sri Lanka tour of Bangladesh
Teams: Sri Lanka

Though the 'bromance' in the Sri Lanka camp has now built to near cringe-inducing levels, two young batsmen disagree vehemently on one thing. One, a 22-year-old, has hit an unbeaten ton and a fifty in three innings at Test level, all against Bangladesh, mainly on generous decks. The other, 24, has had 26 completed innings across all internationals in roughly the last 10 months, and has only crossed fifty twice. Of the remaining 24 innings, he has been dismissed for 15 or fewer, 14 times.

Kithuruwan Vithanage, who smashed a maiden ton off a tame attack in the first Test in Mirpur, feels there is no huge leap from first-class cricket to Tests, aside from mental adjustment. His description of Sri Lanka's domestic circuit as "good" is a rare positive assessment of those tournaments.

But then perception, is everything. He has not faced Dale Steyn in South Africa, on Test debut, or stared down Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle in Australia with only the tail for company.

Dinesh Chandimal had done both and emerged with his reputation embellished, and yet, he has spoken of - not the gap - but the vast, gaping chasm between the demands of Sri Lanka's first-class cricket and internationals. But of course, he would say that after the stretch he has had. Forced to bat lower in limited-overs cricket than he is comfortable with, Chandimal's form has been the most conspicuous individual struggle in the national team in the past year.

Few have wished to admit that, however. Chandimal is not only popular with his team and its selectors, he is also admired by the media and the public. Earnest and friendly, with a reputation for hard work and a willingness to learn, he has a past that reads like a superhero origin story. Chandimal's family lost their modest home and belongings in the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, which he and his mother only barely escaped with their lives. Shortly after, he was scouted by one of Colombo's top colleges, whose team he would go on to lead to a record number of outright wins in one of the most competitive school cricket tournaments in the world.

He has endeared himself in other ways. Last year, he had not been picked up in the IPL auction, but when a franchise later made a soft offer - probably to do little more than warm benches for less-than-life-altering money - Chandimal turned it down, opting instead to work on his technique at the time. He has declined to enter the fray this year as well, perhaps aware he is an unappealing cricketer in that format. Stranger things have happened in IPL auctions, though, where young men have made fortunes trying their luck.

As the Chittagong Test approaches, Chandimal's place in the team is largely founded on his situation. Beyond the goodwill bred by his promise and his attitude, Chandimal is set to lead Sri Lanka in the WT20 in seven weeks' time. Tests are by a distance his best format, so to cut him there would be an injury the selectors will be wary of inflicting to his already-fragile confidence.

His perch is made more precarious now by a scrum of competition for a middle-order place from other young guns. Vithanage's ton revealed him a positive, self-possessed batsman. Ashan Priyanjan has arrived as a replacement player in the squad, having recently impressed on ODI debut and freshly struck a first-class ton. Chandimal's clubmate Angelo Perera did even better, belting 244 from 204 balls in the most recent round of matches. Kusal Perera is also capable of batting in the middle order, and has a fine first-class record himself.

The selectors have invested too much in Chandimal to set him loose now, but unless a bold batting statement is forthcoming, pressure will mount on them as much as on the batsman himself. Within a month, Kaushal Silva has almost cemented his place in the side, so Chandimal can no longer fall back on his wicketkeeping either. A score of 40 in the last match does not suggest his situation is all that desperate, but then, no other batsman failed to cross 50, and the team declared on 730 for 6.

"I've been watching Chandi bat and the one thing I know is that he's hitting the ball well," Kumar Sangakkara said. "He's watching the ball and middling it. His intent is spot on. He's looking to dominate the bowlers and reverse pressure. He's just got to stick to that plan and adjust from bowler to bowler and understand that each ball can behave differently - especially when there's a bit of turn on the wicket. In the last Test, he probably wanted to avoid getting out lbw, but left enough space for the ball to turn away from him. Those things happen in cricket.

"The real thing for him is not to lose focus, not to think about other things, but to enjoy what he's doing, because he's batting really well. For Chandi, the great example is in Angelo Mathews - especially over the last tour. All he's got to do is stick to his guns, stick to his strengths, and he's going to score a really big one. That I know."

Sangakkara knows Chandimal better than most, and like so many others, he will be eager to see his trust vindicated. Having retained their top Twenty20 ranking for 16 months, however, Sri Lanka deserve to give themselves the best chance of lifting the trophy in April. If Chandimal is to prove he can be better than a passenger-captain in that campaign, good scores must flow, ideally beginning with runs in his best format, in Chittagong.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Zainnajam on (February 3, 2014, 13:52 GMT)

Well he is just learning at this Level, you cant expect him to bring up a Century in every next innings? Though he might be Struggling a little on his Defensive side, he can not be First class each Game, he just only need a bit more Confidence and he can Bring you the 'Greedy fifty' you are talking about,

Posted by ca2ca on (February 3, 2014, 9:43 GMT)

People who still ask for Kapugedara should watch WC 2011 final. He is one of the persons who presented the cup on a silver platter to India. Chandimal is a natural test talent and not bum bum cricketer. Unfortunately SL is not playing enough tests.

Posted by Udendra on (February 3, 2014, 9:39 GMT)

Chandimal's inclusion in the T20 team is an utter waste. Ideally Angelo should captain the T20 side too!

Posted by mainul079080 on (February 3, 2014, 8:34 GMT)

A bad game, a bad performance is not the end of the world. Bangladesh can bounce back. I have faith in them and every Bangladeshi should have. I request all the Bangladeshis not to demoralize our players by making negative comments.Just ignore the bashing and one sided comments of other country's fan. Your team needs your support the most during bad patch.Sakib, Tamim, Nasir, Mushfique,Robiul, Shohag...u are one of the best.Keep believe and faith in yourselves.Inshallah Allahpak will help you.

Posted by sachinssnn on (February 3, 2014, 8:33 GMT)

SL should give Angelo Perera more chances..he looks aggresive..just the type SL requires in their middle order...This guy has been given many's time for SL to sack him to improve...

Posted by ms2000 on (February 3, 2014, 7:25 GMT)

Chandimal should be replaced by Priyanjan. Defintely Chandimal lacks concentration on test cricket. He has been given a fair amount of chances where he did not prove himself. Even for T20 I think Chandimal should not be included leve alone the captaincy. There are many good younsters who are much better than him. Chandimal is only a passenger in the test team .

Posted by MelbourneMiracle on (February 3, 2014, 5:48 GMT)

If this bad run is about Mathews', I can imagine about this article how it would've been written. Chandimal is admired by media and the public? Really? Media and Public of which country? Because I've never seen SL media or a fan talks positive about Chandimal. "He has declined to enter the fray this year as well, perhaps aware he is an unappealing cricketer in that format" so then why does he stay as T20 Captain in the SL team if knows that he's no suitable for that format? If he thinks as country 1st, then he should drop himself from T20 side since he's aware that he's an unappealing cricketer in that format. Simple as that! Cricinfo please publish!

Posted by Sinhabahu on (February 3, 2014, 4:42 GMT)

@warneneverchuck, do some research first instead of spouting nonsense. Chandimal's Test average abroad is actually better than his Test average at home. He is the complete opposite of your over-rated flat track bullies.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (February 3, 2014, 4:13 GMT)

If SL can afford to keep Chandimal out of the Test XI, then it must have one heck of a batting line up.

Posted by kohli_kuttu on (February 3, 2014, 3:55 GMT)

@warneneverchuck I don't agree with u. I think sl players are way better than our flat track legends. Look at the way our legends are getting humiliated by the world no 8 ranked NZ team. Also don't forget i know u r also an indian fan just like me waiting to see our team win JUST ONE match outside of our backyard after getting thrashed every where we go. Currently we have a 0-12 losing streak.Absolutely Pathetic

Posted by ajithabey on (February 3, 2014, 3:28 GMT)

A talented player like Chandimal needs to play more matches in the longer version. After all, he has a test average of 47 and has played in only 11 test matches. I cannot understand why people are gunning for him as some of the more senior players had a lower average when they started their careers in as many matches. This test team has the right combination and selectors should not tinker with it as long as the players are performing at optimum level. Media should also look at the statistics before embarking in a tirade against talented young players and adding more pressure on the eve of a match.

Posted by Afta on (February 3, 2014, 3:21 GMT)

I am not sure whether all the comments suggested here are constructive. If you watch Chandimal batting, he definitely has a technical problem along with a mindset not so clear. What's the point only in hitting the ball hard when your timing is not right. He should be sent to England for a full season to play county (club) games where definitely he will learn and improve his batting. Ask Aravinda, he will tell you his experience at Kent. In the meantime the selectors should not miss the opportunity to give Ashan Priyanjan the benefit of playing for Sri Lanka. He looks the next Mahela in my opinion.

Posted by Kelum_w on (February 2, 2014, 23:44 GMT)

With Flower leaving the English coaching job (or director of cricket) I've been reading articles on coaches and there seems to be 2 different types. One that works on technique and another that works on mind set and approach. The SL coach said in his first interview how Vass has been invaluable not just as a coach but also as a mentor to the young pace man has he has helped develop their mindset and concentration when bowling for long spells in a test match. I think Chandi needs someone like that mentoring him, either a coach or a senior like Sanga, Mahela or even Angie. Marvan is brilliant as a technician as will help players who have a know technical deficiency (Dimuth outside the off stump). Chandi however doesn't need that, also he scored his fighting fifties batting at no 7 where as now he's at no 5, to the layman this may seem non important but your batting position in a test will dictate the approach you take. Chandi needs some mentoring on how to approach an innings at no5

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 22:08 GMT)

He's still young, he's proved himself he can be worthwhile in foreign pitches. Even Sri Lanka's some senior players still suffers hard with pace. Chandimal consistency is the only problem. I'm sure he'll COME BACK in the next round. Since he has declined the most lucrative money making play in the present world , the IPL, he's definitely shown that he's ready to steady himself. So please please stick with him.

Posted by C0l0mb0 on (February 2, 2014, 19:59 GMT)

its simple.. chandimal need to stop playing ODI s and T20s... SL has better talents than him in those formats.

Posted by 3rd_man on (February 2, 2014, 18:33 GMT)

On same point mentioned earlier, to reinforce it, one would wonder why chandimal doing well in pacy bouncy pitches. he did well with his own technique. it is just because those pitches he could use the pace of the ball much more than low slow sub continent wickets. that s why he should learn to use his wrists much more. then he should able to find good timing and generate bit of momentum to the ball. with rigid hands very difficult to do that. I think he should learn to adjust his batting technique different conditions. but singles are very important to control the pressure.

Posted by 3rd_man on (February 2, 2014, 18:24 GMT)

In my opinion what chandi needs to do is try to rotate strike bit more. Then you will see no issue with the technique. it just that in ODI cricket he had string of bad failures, got in to his mind and lost his confidence. he is a good striker. I would like to see him using wrists bit more and that could help him to find the gaps. Look at Amla & Kholi. both of them are very wristy players, and ball raises from their bat to the fence and they often find the gaps in the field.Kholi and Amala scores lot of boundaries, so bowlers find very difficult to tie them. chandi should learn how to maintain srikerate to pace his innings. Bottom line is with his rigid hands his defense or block do not make much momentum to the ball and fielders easily stop the single. if he can add bit of wrist to his strokes then he will find the gaps and more boundaries. he is just one big inning away bring back his confidence. he is the most intelligent young batsman with very strong mind set for Sri lanka.

Posted by barryrichardsfan on (February 2, 2014, 18:08 GMT)

He looked very good down under and scored two 50s in their win over SA in Durban. He looks one of the rare sub continent players whose game is more suited to good seaming pitches. SL should persist with this guy.

Posted by PrasadGunawardane on (February 2, 2014, 17:56 GMT)

Chandimal has a potential in TEST Cricket as a middle order batsman, purely because of his mindset to tackle bowlers under pressure situations! So SLC must give him TEST chances for couple of more series! However picking him as the vice captain for ODIs and Captain for T20Is is a real joke! Chandimal should be in neither of the shorter formats! He becomes a real waste of a position in shorter formats of the game, where he does not have a fluent technique to milk the ball under pressure while keeping the scoring rate without taking any risk. The guy hits one or two odd sixes which is not the only required factor from a fluent limited over middle order batsman! He should be removed from coming Asian cup and T20I world cup. Instead he should be asked to play domestic Cricket and A tours, in order to become a solid middle order batsman for coming TEST series against Englighmen in England!

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 17:35 GMT)

from this side if prasanna is available he is definitely going to take the glows .real problem occers when thirimanne is fit.two it would be either dimuth or chandimal.then it would be chandimal because we do not want to rattle a opening partneship which just started to gain in confidence.

Posted by warneneverchuck on (February 2, 2014, 17:28 GMT)

He is no better than ordinary batsman but since sl has never found a batsman who can perform outside subcontinent chandimal can be assure of his place

Posted by warneneverchuck on (February 2, 2014, 17:28 GMT)

He is no better than ordinary batsman but since sl has never found a batsman who can perform outside subcontinent chandimal can be assure of his place

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 17:27 GMT)

rest ranga for the next test.Lets see our newly formed pace attack suranga,eranga and pradeep run through bangladesh.good luck

Posted by CricketLoversRuleTheWorld on (February 2, 2014, 17:10 GMT)

Chandimal's problem is with his mindset .. He is seems very confused during his innings... He is naturally gifted, and can be successful in any condition if he clears his mind ( He played very well in AUS couple of years back).. SLC needs to be very careful with him..

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 17:05 GMT)

This man is a jewel in the rise. But the problem is he has lost his confidence at all. He is a much better cricketer than all the other team mates .He has the talent of moving the ball through any gap.he has done so and we all hope he will do so in the future. Many argue about his capability in T20 format. and they should not forget he had been the leading run scorer in domestic competitions over the last few years. the only this he lacks is confidence. But a one good knock in a spinning pitch will make it visa versa.let's see. I don't see a bradman within him.but He will pocess something within him that all the other international player's couldnt. that's his eagerness to succeed.the same reason which he didnt accept IPL contracts for 2 years.

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 16:58 GMT)

Kithruwan's body language tells that he has a greater potential in him. He is one rare Sri Lankan player who can stand tall and hit the ball down the ground.

Posted by shuhailyoonus on (February 2, 2014, 16:30 GMT)

People tend to forget very fast.. just recently he played a match winning knock against pak in the 5 th one day.. he scores really well in bouncy tracks rem the knocks in aus,sa,eng .. his problem has been spin.. he has some what rectified that problem.. he was the leading run scorer in the recent one day series against pak.. our top batsman take some time once they gt the grip their is no stopping.. take the case of sanath aravinda mahela sanga dilshan to name a few..later they became legends..chandi will defa a legend in the making..

Posted by KavindaSalgado on (February 2, 2014, 16:23 GMT)

Good one Andrew... It is always better to shed some light on what's up in the hidden agenda of invincible lords , behind the scene! By the way... what news about Thirimanne? Is he really not recovered from the injury yet or indefinitely pushed away, making a permanent injury to his career? happened to many good players before. You have indicated Chandimal & Thirimanne as earmarked players facing EXIT, in a recent article... as you did just before Upul Tharanga's UNJUSTIFIED exit. There are too many PETS (Not the Best) in the Nest, eyeing for the Slots!

Posted by PradeepX on (February 2, 2014, 16:19 GMT)

Absolutely well said 668590!! As much as Chandimal must be appreciated for his focus for national duty instead of IPL $$$, his position cannot be cemented in the team over number of other young talents who equally deserve an opportunity. Very valid timely artical Andrew.

Posted by 668590 on (February 2, 2014, 15:42 GMT)

There is an exciting crop of young batsmen in the local circuit such as Roshen Silva, Angelo Perera, Bhanuka Rajapakse, Ashan Priyanjan, Niroshan Dickwella, Kithuruwan Vithanage who are in the same age category as Chandimal but they find it hard to get into the team while Chandimal is part of the team in all 3 formats by default. How fair is it by these yougsters to keep playing Chandimal when he is not performing of late? Unless these players are given chances we won't know how good they are and whether they are better or worse than Chandimal. Chandimal is given an extended run instead of these players. The selectors need to draw a line somewhere and be fair to the other youngsters who are performing in the domestic league.

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 15:27 GMT)

BTW Andrew had published an article on Chandi's issue ,I guess before the 2nd test in UAE vs Pak last month, and Chandi scored 80+ in the 2nd test. Who knows if Andrew's articles count for Chandi :D Let's see....

Posted by stormy16 on (February 2, 2014, 15:16 GMT)

Yes his numbers are good and yes he made a impression in Aus and yes he has made his only two hundreds against Bangladesh and yes he needs to do a bit more to take the presure off. His limited over cricket has been a shocker for a while now while his test records is much better. As the T20 captain he really needs to put this records straight in that format. Ahead of the t20 WC he needs to get some runs on the board so he goes in the WC with some confidence. Its obvious he is very talented but he needs to make it count with runs. He did well in the AUE one dayers but didnt do much in the tests and must cash in now.

Posted by flowersintherain on (February 2, 2014, 14:52 GMT)

Undoubtedly Chandimal is a fine batsman, with a good record against top opposition. But his performance over the past year has been substandard.

In the meantime, as the article points out, there are several younger batsmen who have earned their right to show their colours. Is it fair that a place be reserved for Chandimal at their expense?

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 14:43 GMT)

I am with *Praveen and *abyrao. Chandi is amazing to watch when he is in form. Killer instinct... elegance... morale... all is there on his day. Quite strange offering him with the T20 captaincy where he is more of a test and ODI player. Logic behind must be grooming him to leadership. But if that is the case, we have enough evidences that this is not the time for that. Since he can become an asset for SL if taken care of intensively, His captaincy back pack must be removed. May be (bearing mid and long term goals in mind) taking him out of the team for a few matches and providing him with a fresh start before fixing him in the engine would work as he is now mentally in an uncomfortable zone having been not up to the expectations for a while. Since Mathews has proven his mettle he can take over the captaincy role of all formats without any doubt whereas Chandi can be mentored under Mathews - Sanga co that would make him perhaps to be a resource of Mahela's mould in the course of time.

Posted by TheKeeper on (February 2, 2014, 14:41 GMT)

Absolute rubbish! Chandimal must stay! Go check his stats, there is nothing to worry about, and comparing one single innings from Kithruwan does not seem like a exercise in intelligence. Chandimal is just going through a lean period like every star batsman does, but he will bounce back soon and then he will break all records. Guaranteed! If you cannot see the level of talent in Chandimal, then you don't know anything about batting.

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 14:32 GMT)

Chandi should be able to cash in . If he has faced the best and done well this would be like taking candies from a baby

Posted by DreamCricketer on (February 2, 2014, 14:18 GMT)

Dreamcricketer: He should be dropped not sure why SLC is still having him in the team. This is a numbers game if you do not perform the doors are open and their are a lot talent knocking at the door. Mathew's should lead the team in all formats and Chandimal should stick to domestic club cricket.

Posted by Molligoda on (February 2, 2014, 14:07 GMT)

i think chandimal is not batting freely nw,havig seen chandimal from u19 level he has changed his techniques in last few months..i think mr attapattu is trying to create a carbon copy of him out of chandimal.he is like a robot now.not playing naturally

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 14:04 GMT)

I just had a look at his recent stats... what is all the fuss about? the author himself agreed upon chandimal s talent by quoting the series against SA and aus abroad... centuries against Bangladesh are by no way a measure of one s talent... he s still got an avg of 46+ which s more than decent... and then he will succeed in t20 in due course...give the guy some time!

Posted by abyrao on (February 2, 2014, 13:55 GMT)

Chandimal is a promising youngster but I feel that Angelo should lead SL in all 3 formats.

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 13:48 GMT)

chandimal need more chances , compare with sanga and mahela in their early days

Posted by Blade-Runner on (February 2, 2014, 13:38 GMT)

I agree with some comments here. He has so far been a Fast Track Bully. A bit of unusual for a SC batsman, isn't it ? :)) I think its a good thing coz he's got a plenty of time to improve his home record.

Posted by Blade-Runner on (February 2, 2014, 13:28 GMT)

Its quite strange for a subcontinental batsman to struggle on slow, turning tracks and do extremely well on fast bouncy tracks in Aus,SA n Eng. Chandimal's best records have all come in SA, AUS n ENG. I think he is working very hard to learn the art of batting on slow tracks. Anyway, He is gonna be one of our biggest assets for England tour 'n 2015 WC campaign.

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 13:20 GMT)

Chandimal should not play T20, there are better players for that type of cricket. He should focus on tests and ODI's as a quality batsman and a keeper as well

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 13:07 GMT)

Let him be a fast track bully ... thats fine with us :-)

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 13:06 GMT)

chandimals performance in SA and AUS was great, chandimal cant bat on flat tracks @priceless1 chandimal was the hero in the historic durban test!we cant call him as a FTB. he always failed @home and Sub continent. not in SA and AUS!

Posted by jinath on (February 2, 2014, 13:03 GMT)

Chandimal is our new aravinda

Posted by Uppercut07 on (February 2, 2014, 13:02 GMT)

disagree a bit with Andrew here; as a matter of fact Chandi can fall back on his secondary skill wicket keeping BECAUSE Kaushal is OPENNING the innings. There s no way Kaushal can keep wickets and open the innings. So when Prasanna Jaya calls it a day, Chandimal will be the middle order keeper basman.

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 12:56 GMT)

priceless1 - isn't it a good thing ? very rarely you find ' fast track bullies' lol

Posted by priceless1 on (February 2, 2014, 12:48 GMT)

only fast track bully in SL team

Posted by asiacricket1234 on (February 2, 2014, 12:46 GMT)

Should not be hard for him to get some run. I have full faith on Bangladeshi bowler and fielder to do half the job for him lol

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 12:37 GMT)

I like Chandimal and although his recent scores haven't been good, I am sure he will come good and his experience counts in favour of him. Give the guy a few more chances...

Posted by   on (February 2, 2014, 12:35 GMT)

this ia a final chance for chandimal in the team if he not scored only 50 he can not save the place in all form the cricket for srilanka his poor battting negative thimking is like a in the team place saving contest

Posted by KingOwl on (February 2, 2014, 12:34 GMT)

I certainly would not want to see Chandimal dropped from the test team. I think with the tours of the faster, bouncier, seaming nations coming up, his services will be needed. But T20 is another matter all together. I do not understand why he is the T20 captain, a format for which he is ill suited. Kithruwan certainly seems a confident player. But then, it is easy to be confident when you are very young and have no real pressure. When you are captain, it can be very different. Chandimal too was a very confident at the beginning. He will have to come to grips with the tough job he has. He certainly has the talent (no more proof needed, given his performances in SA, Aus, etc).

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Sri Lanka won by 6 wickets (with 13 balls remaining)
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Sri Lanka won by 59 runs
England v Sri Lanka at Chittagong - Mar 27, 2014
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