August 28, 2009

How good is Samaraweera?

Thilan Samaraweera has taken his batting average to over 50, the magic number that used to confer greatness on Test batsmen, but is he a great?
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With his second successive hundred against New Zealand, Thilan Samaraweera has taken his batting average to over 50, the magic number that used to confer greatness on Test batsmen. He now stands 29th on the all-time averages list, and if the list is restricted to batsmen with a minimum of 50 Tests, he jumps to 18.

Samaraweera, of course, deserves his success. In March this year he was hit by a bullet when terrorists attacked the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore, and he feared he would never play cricket again. He had just hit two back-to-back double-hundreds then. You can argue that his returns have been halved now. But as S Rajesh tells us, Samaraweera has had a cracking couple of years, averaging over 76 in his last 15 Tests.

Still, how good is he? We perhaps don't know yet. He averages 31.22 against Australia, 24.66 against South Africa, 28.87 against England. In Australia he averages 22.66, in England 4.25, and in India 10.50. He has played 30 of his 54 Tests at home, and averages nearly 60 in them. Seven of his 11 hundreds have come at home, and his career average has been massively boosted by his five Tests in Pakistan, in which he scored 633 runs at 90.42 with three hundreds. His other hundred came in the West Indies.

Scoring big runs is a special ability. And given that Samaraweera started in the Sri Lankan team as a bowler who could bat, his achievements are huge. If he were to retire today, he would forever remain in an elite band statistically. But the numbers will lie because if we drew up a list of top 50 batsmen of all time, Samaraweera will not feature in it. Not even in a list of the top 100.

Niether will, say, Michael Atherton. But Atherton averages 37.69. He will never be called a great batsman. He was nowhere near being picked in Cricinfo's all-time England XI. But it can be suggested that his average did not do him justice. He opened the innings in a bowler's era. He had to survive and score runs against Wasim and Waqar, Walsh and Ambrose, Donald and Pollock, and Glenn McGrath. Each run scored in the '90s meant more than one scored today does. Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara were the kings of that age. An average of over 50 then meant you were great.

At 21 Tests, Michael Hussey averaged 80.22. At 42, he averages 52.65. Samaraweera can perhaps be better judged after 100 Tests, which he could well end up playing. But even then his average might not reflect his true worth. Batting is unlikely to get tougher in the next five years.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Pavel on June 28, 2012, 0:33 GMT

    jeevantha kulatunga is the best ever . try to get a ceuntry as u did in last interprovincial matches ..this will be the best chance you get . if u play well definitly you must play for srilanka specially t20 and as a middle order batsman for 50 overs we wait and see what will happen (0)

  • Shane Perera on March 20, 2010, 11:52 GMT

    Shamal Jayakody is correct. Samaraweera never played well in Australia. He is scoring mainly in Sri Lanka. He is not a "great: batsman.

  • Ravi Chandra on January 22, 2010, 17:37 GMT

    Samaraweera is probably the best "FLAT PITCH BATSMAN OF THE DECADE". Period. He has huge scores in the flat and placid pitches of the sub-continent. Once he gets set, he is difficult to dislodge. But does it really help Sri Lanka. Lanka has better classy batsmen like Sanga, Mahela and Upul Tharanga. Samaraweera is over rated.

  • Vikram Maingi on October 19, 2009, 7:23 GMT

    Samaraweera has performed a great a job in the test matches in SL/Pakistan, but he deserves to be given opportunity to prove his worth on different kind of pitches in England, Australia and South Africa. Even in India, his credentials do not speak for his capability. Let us see how does he perform during Sri Lanka's forthcoming test series in India.

  • Kasun on October 4, 2009, 14:40 GMT

    he he...how about ur man 'Dhoni' who included for world XI test team...hehe..and remember 'Sanga ( world no 1 test batsman ) and Chanderpaul not included

  • Ranjith on September 8, 2009, 18:53 GMT

    Samaraweera has found a new form. His 100 in NZ one day match is further evidence. Before this he was almost a waste of a selection in one day matches. Why not wait till he plays other countries at home and away to re-evaluate his new form. Even if he does not perform outside SL, it doesn't matter. SL can use him to win matches at home. My bet is that he is going to be a different player altogether. He will perform outside SL too. Go Samare!

  • Nileshkumar on September 7, 2009, 16:45 GMT

    Samarweera averages 83+ in tests in 2009. The question is: Is he equally good? I had the same doubt regarding Hussey.. and we all know how it has turned out to be. The main problem here is that the guy has already played 50+ matches but no prominent cricketer/commentator in world seems to take a note of him! Most of the players are acknowledged when they have played 50 test-matches...

  • Amit on September 4, 2009, 18:06 GMT

    Apart from Sangakara I don't see any batsmen in Srilanka worth shovering praises at.Samaraverra will be forgotten in couple years as his feat in Lankan dead pitches will not count. We all know what's his average is against the top 3 teams in the world. Look at Jayawardene's record against Oz. One hundred(In SL pitch) in something like 16 inns, and then compare his record against other nations. It's not a coincidence.He only hits his centuries against Ban'desh,Pak,Zim,NZ,WI. Even if he hits 30 centuries 28 out of those are in dead sun-contenetal picthes.Would that be considered "Great". Same is the case with Samaraveerra.

  • Nissanka on September 3, 2009, 12:26 GMT

    I am a Sri Lankan cricket fan and have followed Thilan career since his schooldays. He was always considered a good batsman and was not put in the same class as Jayasuriya, Sangakkara, Aravinda and even Mahela in terms of natural talent-we Sri Lankans tend to not give defensive batsmen as much prominence. Given his background, he should be commended for what he has achieved.

  • Karthik on September 3, 2009, 11:52 GMT

    Sambit, Benchmark is different now. Through the 90s there were just 3 or 4 people averaged 50 plus. Tendulkar topped the average with 58 followed by Lara 52. In 2000s atleast about 20 people average 50 plus. Presence of so many weak teams, flatter surfaces have enabled batsman to maintain average of 50 plus.

  • Pavel on June 28, 2012, 0:33 GMT

    jeevantha kulatunga is the best ever . try to get a ceuntry as u did in last interprovincial matches ..this will be the best chance you get . if u play well definitly you must play for srilanka specially t20 and as a middle order batsman for 50 overs we wait and see what will happen (0)

  • Shane Perera on March 20, 2010, 11:52 GMT

    Shamal Jayakody is correct. Samaraweera never played well in Australia. He is scoring mainly in Sri Lanka. He is not a "great: batsman.

  • Ravi Chandra on January 22, 2010, 17:37 GMT

    Samaraweera is probably the best "FLAT PITCH BATSMAN OF THE DECADE". Period. He has huge scores in the flat and placid pitches of the sub-continent. Once he gets set, he is difficult to dislodge. But does it really help Sri Lanka. Lanka has better classy batsmen like Sanga, Mahela and Upul Tharanga. Samaraweera is over rated.

  • Vikram Maingi on October 19, 2009, 7:23 GMT

    Samaraweera has performed a great a job in the test matches in SL/Pakistan, but he deserves to be given opportunity to prove his worth on different kind of pitches in England, Australia and South Africa. Even in India, his credentials do not speak for his capability. Let us see how does he perform during Sri Lanka's forthcoming test series in India.

  • Kasun on October 4, 2009, 14:40 GMT

    he he...how about ur man 'Dhoni' who included for world XI test team...hehe..and remember 'Sanga ( world no 1 test batsman ) and Chanderpaul not included

  • Ranjith on September 8, 2009, 18:53 GMT

    Samaraweera has found a new form. His 100 in NZ one day match is further evidence. Before this he was almost a waste of a selection in one day matches. Why not wait till he plays other countries at home and away to re-evaluate his new form. Even if he does not perform outside SL, it doesn't matter. SL can use him to win matches at home. My bet is that he is going to be a different player altogether. He will perform outside SL too. Go Samare!

  • Nileshkumar on September 7, 2009, 16:45 GMT

    Samarweera averages 83+ in tests in 2009. The question is: Is he equally good? I had the same doubt regarding Hussey.. and we all know how it has turned out to be. The main problem here is that the guy has already played 50+ matches but no prominent cricketer/commentator in world seems to take a note of him! Most of the players are acknowledged when they have played 50 test-matches...

  • Amit on September 4, 2009, 18:06 GMT

    Apart from Sangakara I don't see any batsmen in Srilanka worth shovering praises at.Samaraverra will be forgotten in couple years as his feat in Lankan dead pitches will not count. We all know what's his average is against the top 3 teams in the world. Look at Jayawardene's record against Oz. One hundred(In SL pitch) in something like 16 inns, and then compare his record against other nations. It's not a coincidence.He only hits his centuries against Ban'desh,Pak,Zim,NZ,WI. Even if he hits 30 centuries 28 out of those are in dead sun-contenetal picthes.Would that be considered "Great". Same is the case with Samaraveerra.

  • Nissanka on September 3, 2009, 12:26 GMT

    I am a Sri Lankan cricket fan and have followed Thilan career since his schooldays. He was always considered a good batsman and was not put in the same class as Jayasuriya, Sangakkara, Aravinda and even Mahela in terms of natural talent-we Sri Lankans tend to not give defensive batsmen as much prominence. Given his background, he should be commended for what he has achieved.

  • Karthik on September 3, 2009, 11:52 GMT

    Sambit, Benchmark is different now. Through the 90s there were just 3 or 4 people averaged 50 plus. Tendulkar topped the average with 58 followed by Lara 52. In 2000s atleast about 20 people average 50 plus. Presence of so many weak teams, flatter surfaces have enabled batsman to maintain average of 50 plus.

  • dilan on September 1, 2009, 18:26 GMT

    most indian fans just keep screaming that test rankings are flawed, and sri lankans dont deserve to be at no.2

    now, g.gambhir wass ranked no.1 test batsman currently, just ahead of sanga (he went ahead again after his 100 against nz)

    just checked gambhir's test record. has 6 hundreds from 25 matches, out of which, 3 are away from home - 2 against new zealand and 1 against bangladesh, and still hasnt played a test match in australia south africa and england, if you go by those stats and consider indian fans opinion regarding icc cricket ratings, gambhir doesnt deserve to be at the top.

    you can come to a conclusion that you can never take these indian cricket fans comments and suggestions that seriously, bcoz they are just blind supporters who dont have any knowledge in cricket or else, they are a bit shy 2 accept the truth.

  • Gaurav C on September 1, 2009, 2:35 GMT

    Dear Samit,

    In varied fields in life I have seen that no matter how much things change, the best guys always stay on top. Be it college or banking or cricket, I have seen that the best adjust to new situations better than the others and figure out a way to saty on top. Although I agree that batting in 90s was probably tougher, it might not mean that Sachin Tendulkar's record would have been significantly different had he started a decade later. Maybe it is our adloescent romance that makes my dad always talk about Gavaskar (over Tendulkar), you talk about Vishy (over Laxman) and believe that the players from yesteryears were somehow better.

    Gaurav

  • Chandima on August 31, 2009, 17:06 GMT

    Dear Sambit, Actually we should never take credit from any of them .To my understanding this matter of talent and application. Yes accept Aravinda more talented. But application wise I am not that convinced on him and further Aravinda now retired still Samarweera at half away of his cricketing journey .So time will decide who is the greatest what I honestly believe the greatness need to be decide not only by talent, have to consider application too. Otherwise some can say sir Viv Richards more talented than sir Don Bradman but we know who the greatest. Thanks Chandima

  • Indra Weerasooriya on August 31, 2009, 11:11 GMT

    Dear Sambit, Thak you very much for including my view regarding Thilan Samaraweera's Batting as a Test Cricketer,I think when you talk about the ability of a sportsman,we should only think of the individuals abilty in performing his skills in the relevant field,irrespective of the person's nationalty,and it is also unfair to criticise the Editor,who ever it is,and from which nationality he comes from.I think there should be some guidelines when making comments. Thanks,Sambit Actually I am a Sri Lankan now living as a permanent resident in UK.

  • Deb on August 31, 2009, 10:52 GMT

    spot on Sambit ! For all their achievements, the the stats of most present SL players are heavily skewed to their home performances. The players are not at blame,because its for the powers at the boards who plays whom and how often, according to their commercial viability. But the point is that these stats should be taken in perspective. Samarweera as indeed some other SL players are good without being great.

  • Gaurav on August 31, 2009, 2:42 GMT

    Sambit my friend, I appreciate your keen comments but I'm Indian and I know we feel a tinge of jealousy when we see our brothers from the subcontinent performing so well. Just come out with it and say what you really want to say, without sugar-coating and hiding behind your words. Now that I would say is a first for all of us as Indians. Our Lankan bros our much better in that regard.

  • Sameer on August 31, 2009, 0:06 GMT

    its futile to expect SL fans to accept criticism with pinch of salt. They are used to their batsmen being great in their home turf against the weaker teams.

    No wonder Mahela and Sanga have huge batting averages cos they have played 12 Tests against BD whereas no other team has played more than 7. Easy runs, easy wickets and inflated averages.

    And when they cannot digest this they leach Indian batsmen.

  • Shaheed Ahmed on August 30, 2009, 18:05 GMT

    I do not consider any current Sri Lankan batsman except Sangakarra asa great batsman. Sanga proves it again and again that he can perform home and away equally and play good bowling. While Samarveera is a good player but he can not be considered great. You know in this days so many I mean so many players have 50+ averages that its hard to distinguish and say who is great and who is not. But you also remember that scoring runs have become exceedingly easier these days because of the cheap bowling. That's why I do not rate ponting as highly as I rate Tendulkar or Lara, because Lara and Tendulkar scored tons of runs in an era where there were so many great bowlers around.

  • A.A.Ahamed Afker on August 30, 2009, 17:22 GMT

    For Sweta Sharma, First of all you do not know anything about cricket,As per you we never win a Test in abroad apart from one Eng and B'desh.First you correct your records,IND win after 28Yrs in NZ,but when we tourd last time to the below countries we draw the series NZ(1-1),in ENG(1-1),WIND(1-1)all the series we drew with them.How you say we never won Test matches in abroad.As per my knowledge IND's Test record is very poor in abroad.Apart from that last AUS win you achieve by the curtosy of Gilchrist who lost more than 8 catches.So far you win 1 in Aus and 1in SAF,1 in NZ that it in resent past. But no body want's to call SL batsman as a Great or Good or what ever.As long as we are winning that's it.We know our strengths and weaknesses.

  • Sid on August 30, 2009, 16:53 GMT

    I think this is beside the point...all Sambit is saying here is that averages do not tell the whole tale. Samaraweera has achieved a lot...the only question is whether an avergage alone is enough to take him to the pantheon of the greats.

    As far as asking Sambit to take a bat and achieve what he did, I would say a lot of the armchair critics of this column should ask themselves if they can achieve what Sambit has in the field of writing...if you had only the Gavaskars and the Chappells of the world doing all the writing cricket journalism would be very poor indeed.

  • nival on August 30, 2009, 16:12 GMT

    hey sambit,i don't know how qualified you are to do an analysis as above;but clearly you can never tell that thilan is not inside the 1st hundred,mainly because he's a lot to play and more importantly he's just got rid of his problem of 'scoring only against weak oppositions;and you are telling in the past batting's more difficult than now then you can tell to any player,no matter how well he plasys,that he's not as good as somebody in the past;that's total rubbish and an isult to the class of present day greats,may be you are stuck in a kind of a nostalgic feeling my dear friend;and please understand this;he's the best batsman in NZ series;and is he an all-time great or not? he needs time to prove it;and do not come to pre-conclusions and your article itself sounds like you've a certain hatred or jelousy towards him;an open minded proffesional writer would not call a batsman,who's going well at present,that he 'will not feature in it Not even in a list of the top 100" think again sir!

  • kamaldisa on August 30, 2009, 16:08 GMT

    I hope you'll get to experience what it is to get a bullet in your leg...then you'll know how good Samaraweera is ass hole...

  • Chamira Fernando on August 30, 2009, 13:46 GMT

    @sunil kumar - I think, you know the fact that Indian Cricket team had toured Lanka So many times and but still non of your player can't score a 300 in Sri Lanka soil.. If they are really good players why can't they do on flat lousy pitches in Lanka where lousy batman like Mahela can do??? don't talk nonsense... In fact they can't do it in their own backyard:D.I know for all Indians even bowlers are GREAT batmen :D :D ..

  • Viresh on August 30, 2009, 12:55 GMT

    How come you nor any of your Indian colleagues have analyzed Tendulkar in such a manner?

    For a player who has played more games than any cricketer, dead or alive, Tedulkar not surprisingly has the highest number of runs. But the record that is most astonishing is his number of losses. Tendulkar has lost more matches than any cricketer in the world, dead or alive. To be precise, his loss average is extremely high compared to players such as Jayasuria, Ponting , etc. This should be a great concern for BCCI and cricket historians. After all what is the most important stat in cricket,.. wins and losses. But guess what, this stat is hidden from all records in all the major cricket web sites, including the ICC web site. Quite astonishing isn't it.

    What I am trying to say is, Mr. Sambit Bal, it is easy to belittle any feet,.. especially if it is performed by an opponent countrymen. So why don't we appreciate these feet for what it is,... in the name of cricket.

  • Sudath on August 30, 2009, 12:02 GMT

    Samaraweera, -Be proud, people has started to talk about uo. The first sign that you are in THE SCENE, and they ARE concerned. AND u, Samaraweera, you have improved your striking rate as well. Indians are coming to play a few onedays as well. Ranatunga halted Sivaram's career. Jayasuriya, that of venkatesh. Samaraweera- whom.

  • Anura_Lanka on August 30, 2009, 10:19 GMT

    Dear Samit, If you want to start talking about 'worthless averages' of batsmen look no further than your beloved team (I presume its India)...minus Dravid and Sehwag....your team has been full of them for the past two decades...

  • Imag on August 30, 2009, 4:41 GMT

    It is always amusing to see that in REALITY it is not the Aussies or English who criticize Lankans. IT IS ALWAYS INDIANS WHO TRY TO PUT DOWN SRILANKA. I remember in 2007 WC when their precious indian team got knocked out in the 1st round they actually supported the Aussies in the final. Because their ego is so fragile they cant comprehend the success srilanka achieves. By the way we were runners up in 2 WCs in West Indies and England lately and semifinalists in another in SA! The bottom line is we are ranked 2nd yet we never get a 5 test series. This has to do with MONEY and not Talent. Why is India against the test championships? Because it will give equal opportunity to everyone and that is something they dont want. Until we get 5 test series in SA/Aus and Eng you can never measure Srls talent abroad! By the way unlike Tendulkar most of our batsmen play for the team and not for the stats! I will takw that kind of greatness over Tendulkars fake greatness anyday!

  • lukas on August 30, 2009, 4:28 GMT

    @shweta sharma-get ur facts right. LAst time SL played ZIm in a test was in 2004, and they beat NZ in a test in 2006. I think PaulusAmstelveen was spot on talking about Indian Ignorance. @shweta sharma - Indian's talking about Human Rights or freedom of speech is the biggest joke on this blog. I just cant imagine how Indians cant face reality. For a country with such a large population enthusiasm and infrastructure, you're grossly under-achieving. And exhibitions of ignorance by people like shweta sharma or Jagdeesan don't do ur country proud. I feel sorry for you guys.

  • Bimlesh on August 30, 2009, 3:42 GMT

    Lanka will tour India very soon.

    All the lankan supporters shouting here will get their answer.

    No 2 test team in the world right? Oh yeah in 2005 too, they were the no 2 team in the world, and what happened then? 2-0 and 5-1 in tests and odis and a fall to no 6 in the rankings..Welcome to India Lanka, get ready for a sudden fall.

    BTW Samarveera averaged 10 in the test series in 2005.

    Home bullies, eh!

  • abiran on August 30, 2009, 1:10 GMT

    Ever since you became editor of cricinfo.com why has ther been a very large increawse on articles on India? There sin't a day where I haven't seen the latst from Indian cricket or a article on some of their players...If nto India then the spotlight s on australia then engalnd and then south africa.I dont see much of west indies or sri lanka or pakistan or nz in the site y????? I htink you shoould change.why didn't you write a article on VVS laxman then y did u chose now to do samaraweera ..u just cant help keeping india safe can you...

  • Jack on August 29, 2009, 22:27 GMT

    @Jagdeesan: I'm an Indian living in Australia. Please dont degrade yourself Mr. Jagdeesan by talking about civilized countries. Do you know that Mumbai Mumbai fares the worst among five Asian cities in key human development areas like life expectancy, GDP per capita and literacy? And to the topic: Why dont we just settle the issue after Thilan gets an opportunity to go abroad and perform?

  • Jabed on August 29, 2009, 21:37 GMT

    Can't agree more with John Roberts. Get a life Sambit, I almost spelled damnit. In my opinion, you are saying all these because Samaraweera is not an Indian who achieved so much. Just remember one single fact: YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE AN INDIAN TO BE A GREAT PLAYER. Virender Shewag's is great against Pakistan, but not so against other countries, but you still don't seem to say anything against him. Oh wait, I remembered on thing: he is Indian, and I almost forgot that. GET A LIFE, dude.

  • yasir on August 29, 2009, 21:19 GMT

    i guess ,all those anti-samaraweera comments and replies above are posted by bloody indians just to support and defend this asshole'sambits article. pick your own gambhir and his average in test matches, every indian fan was screaming at how sri lanka were ahead of india in the test rankings saying they dont deserve it because indian team had won more matches away from home, and you indians call ganguly and laxman as 'great' players but they average 42+ & 45+ in tests -laxman:made his debut in 96, and '96 - '99 he had played 16 tests and not a single hundred. and made his first hundred in the year 2000 (so theres a valid point made by sambit, bcoz going by those laxman stats if the quality of bowling in the 90s were sustained afterwards, he wouldn't have scored any hundreds and wouldn't have been in the indian side for that long.

  • sunil kumar on August 29, 2009, 20:26 GMT

    mr chamira fernando i suggest you to start playing cricket in srilanka.even one idiot out of 20 millions like you can score triple century on those dead wickets.Mahela is Bradmensque in srilanka but is average outside srilanka.And paulus i also dont approve of throwing stuffs on losing bt dont generalise it with every indian,This is nothing as compared to the hoolinganism that english like you do for football.

  • Chamira Fernando on August 29, 2009, 18:08 GMT

    Personally I believe Thilan is a great batsmen! He knows what is Test cricket all about! if anyone doubts, go and watch last century scored against NZ, when he was in 99 he ducked all the short balls, the very next ball after got his 100, hooked for 6.. This shows how good he is.. and the temperament of the players.. Typical indians can't see anyone else than Sachin. To them best bowler is Harbajan not Murali :D

    Most ppl say bowlers arent g8 this era..IDIOTS. Now a days most Test matches (80%) would have a result.(I think everyone agrees with that).. If you know test cricket, to win a test match one side has to take 20 wickets? If bowlers are not good how matches would end up with a result?

    Someone said Sanga & Mahela are not g8 either..1 idiot out of 1.2 Billion. Mahela has the highest test score by a Right hand batsmen(374), Only indian to score a 300 i Shewag.. not Schin.. its shame that out of 1.2 Billion only 1 has scored a 300 where as, Sri Lanka 20 million,already scored 2.

  • paulusAmstelveen on August 29, 2009, 17:16 GMT

    @bismoy i do not argue tendulkar is a great batter, but the point is the way you indians over-estimate ur cricketers, it is because of people like you who firmly believe india is simply the best that countries love to have ur team playin in their backyards, because of the masses who come to witness them, and when India lose at home they start throwing stuff. as if they cant believe it could happen. How primitive is that? Do i need to talk more about ignorance? And BTW personally i beleive Lara was a much better batter than Tendulkar. But of course as the fiercely patriotic author Bal states, stats are misleading ...he he

  • Vinod Australia on August 29, 2009, 16:55 GMT

    I am an Indian living in Australia.upto me Thilan is doing a great job and handy for Lankan team.more over kudos to his mental toughness to recoupe from such a horrible experience.If he can perform like this even after such a back slash there are only chances for him to perform exceptionally well.To me thilan is a talented guy with an Australian mind set and sure will be remembered along with Dravid,Sachin,Yusuf,jayawardene for his greatness.Cheers sub continent teams.

  • Nash on August 29, 2009, 16:51 GMT

    Samaraweera has held the innings together more than once. He has guts and determination. He may not have Aravinda's eye or Sanath's bat speed but he's got plenty of determination and enough skill to do his job well. Is he a great? If we judge greats by averages alone, then yes. However, if we judge greateness by the fear he puts in the hearts of the best opposing bowlers, then no.

  • Jagadeesan on August 29, 2009, 16:36 GMT

    Iyanka - Sorry it IS Sri Lanka's fault that they do not play many tests in England,SA and Australia - Your country's miniscule population and lack of sufficient cricket consumer base on TV/sponsorship is to blame for that. It is not the other countries' fault that they have those. And if SL has achieved more than other countries would have in 27 years, it's certainly good for SL and for world cricket- all of us cricket fans welcome it. As far as Samaraweera goes, don't think Sambit has said anything conclusive and you are entitled to your opinion just as he is entitled to his. That's why there is something called freedom of expression - atleast its there in most civilzed countries of the world - Not sure about SL though.

  • Migara on August 29, 2009, 16:36 GMT

    @ Venkata Krishna Samaraweera is a very good player of spin. What he fails to score gainst is quality pace, which India lacks. Mark my words, he is going to give Harbhajan and Mishra a real set of headaches. If everything goes right, I expect him to score more than 300 runs in the Indian tour, in test matches.

  • sunil kumar on August 29, 2009, 16:27 GMT

    It seems that lot of Srilankans have been offended by this article.This is a realistic article based on facts.Mr Iyanka has gone over the top by his comments as if to suggest it is a fight between india and srilanka.Where does the performance of srilanka and india come into this analysis of individual player.Also I dont know which game true indian is talking about.He is comparing samarweera with tendulkar.I guess he has not been watching cricket which is played by bat and ball.And come on srilankans accept the fact that samarweera has done well in srilanka and against weaker opponents.The statistics is there for every one to see and this does not mean that he has not played well for srilanka.He has been doin quite well and is a good player.Sambit has not criticised him but has given his fair analysis.So there is no point in having a go at him for this article.His article are unbiased and he criticises indian players as well in case they are not up to the mark.

  • himanshu_v_gupta on August 29, 2009, 16:18 GMT

    The problem with most sri lankan and pakistani batsmen is of similar nature. They score heavily at home with the aid of favourable batting conditions and until recently dubious umpiring standards. Who can forget the likes of sri lankan and pakistani umpires who refuse to give their batsmen out. Comparing them to indians is unfair and that too including raina is a blunder as the bloke hasnt figured in a test. What has mahela and sangakraa for that matter achieve against australia and eng and africa. Playing less is laways the excusegiven but isnt it true that the likes of procter and other greats performed in the limited chances given > take the case of indians how little are they playing tests but doesnt gambhir performed appreciably in new zealand or for that matter sehwag scored heavily against all countries in their courtyard... It has become the practise to drag indians whoa re much better bats outside in recent times as compared to some of these so called greats.

  • ASK on August 29, 2009, 16:15 GMT

    my questions for Mr.Sambit.. 1.What made you to start a blog on samaraweera 2.Why are questioning Samaraweera, great or not?

    there are many players to wright about & you picked samaraweera! that's not A co-incidence. you know there's something about him, thats why you wrote this article. and yet you trying to make him look like just an average batsman, how pathetic!

  • Abhik Chakraborty on August 29, 2009, 16:09 GMT

    It is too early to judge Samaraweera at this stage. All I can say is that he is a man in great form at the moment and a batter with tremendous promise. True that his real tests will come in bouncy wickets down under or against better bowlers than the current NZ team has. But to stay focused and deliver consistently is a special ability, and this man has it. I can safely say he will be a vital cog in the SL batting for some time, it is up to him to prove how far he can go.

  • AA on August 29, 2009, 16:08 GMT

    We try to put too much emphasis on greatness. I believe comparing players from one era against players from another is not fair. what matters is if a player was considered great in the era they played in.

  • Rajitha on August 29, 2009, 16:07 GMT

    Thanks to srilankan cricket administrators, srilanka has been given only 03 test matches in 2010 though they have been ranked at no 02 by ICC at the moment.(some time it will be changed to no 1 tomorrow after winning the series against New Zeeland .).This is the main reason faced by srilankan cricketers for not achieving high average’s & scores ect.

  • Nilanka on August 29, 2009, 16:07 GMT

    OK, if statistics lie if a player has played too many home matched and scored a lot of runs, then remove all the batsman in the all time great list who have boosted their average on number of runs scored on home pitches. I think almost every batsman's average is far higher in tests because of home series. Samaraweera has performed really well in the Pakistan tour and that is enough to judge his overseas performance.

  • shweta sharma on August 29, 2009, 16:05 GMT

    wellllllll welllllllll a lot of opinions......

    the answer is simple neither any lankan batsman nor any lankan team can win a test match or series overseas .......they r LIONS AT HOME AND LAMBS ABROAD.....

    Sangakkara n Attapatu..........just hese two r clas acts who have class n technique to play n succeed overseas.....apart 4m dem no other lankan player can be termed a legend....... jayawardene n samarweera nad dilshan can only slam test hundreds in asian conditions or on a dead track........n this is a proven fact......also sri lanak plays most vs zim n bangladesh den ny oder test nation n dats a bitter fact........samarweera has to do well overseas to be even considered in list of gooood players as of now hez an avg player n a grt batsman at home conditions n apart from sangakkara all oder lankan batters r in same category....hav lanak won a single test overseas in last 10 years ny where........i remember only 1 vs severly depleted english side n oder den dat only bangaldesh......

  • shweta sharma on August 29, 2009, 16:03 GMT

    wellllllll welllllllll a lot of opinions......

    the answer is simple neither any lankan batsman nor any lankan team can win a test match or series overseas .......they r LIONS AT HOME AND LAMBS ABROAD.....

    Sangakkara n Attapatu..........just hese two r clas acts who have class n technique to play n succeed overseas.....apart 4m dem no other lankan player can be termed a legend....... jayawardene n samarweera nad dilshan can only slam test hundreds in asian conditions or on a dead track........n this is a proven fact......also sri lanak plays most vs zim n bangladesh den ny oder test nation n dats a bitter fact........samarweera has to do well overseas to be even considered in list of gooood players as of now hez an avg player n a grt batsman at home conditions n apart from sangakkara all oder lankan batters r in same category....hav lanak won a single test overseas in last 10 years ny where........i remember only 1 vs severly depleted english side n oder den dat only bangaldesh......

  • Guru Shenoy on August 29, 2009, 15:58 GMT

    I think this guy can develop into a great batsman! Anyway I fully agree with paulusAmstelveen.

  • ulg on August 29, 2009, 15:53 GMT

    give Sri Lanka more matches in AUS, SA and ENGLAND and they'll show wht they are made of. by the way, wonder how many australian or for that matter indian 'great' batsmen have performed in overseas venues? why is it only SL?

  • Amila on August 29, 2009, 15:50 GMT

    Hai,Mr.Shamal Jayakody, So anybody who scores in Australia is a great batsman, Wow, can't believe you are a Sri Lankan!

  • Randika Dissnayake on August 29, 2009, 15:47 GMT

    @Ashik Sali Do I sense prejudice in your comments? How do you expect to Judge Mahela or Kumar by the percentage of centuries scored at home? Matthew Hayden scored 21 of his 30 centuries as home. Mahela has 18 at home and Kumar 13 of his 20. So what do you suggest next, players not make runs at home?

  • Suresh on August 29, 2009, 15:40 GMT

    I dig what you are saying about Michael A and his average. But, if Samaraweera can perhaps be better judged after 100 Tests, why we are wasting time here?

  • Ranjith M on August 29, 2009, 15:26 GMT

    Samaraweera has cemented a place in the side now and he will be playing against different sides on different grounds in his newfound form. We should let his bat speak further before measuring his greatness. In press, SL team and players never get a break. Each century an SL player scores is reported with the number of dropped catches. Nobody cares about Murali when he is not doing well. But as soon as he wins a match for SL somebody gets his protractor out to measure angles between different parts of his hand. Remember the springs in Sanath's bat? Good news for SL fans is that SL stars are rising again. Sit back and enjoy good cricket, Sambit. After that please tell us why other SL players are not great players.

  • Mark on August 29, 2009, 15:17 GMT

    While the article correctly outlines why Samaraweera's average is misleading, it simultaneously feeds the myth about Tendulkar's greatness. Lara's 2nd innings heroics are legendary, however, yet even he, like Tendulkar, benefitted greatly from the bouncer restrictions.

    Here's Desmond Haynes on the subject followed by a comment by Simon Hughes taken from telegraph.co.uk:

    "The bouncer restrictions in our domestic cricket are to blame. There weren't any when we played, the bouncer was an essential part of Caribbean cricket. Sometimes you'd get four or five in a row and every West Indian batsman could hook and pull. Now that you're only allowed two an over, batsmen flinch at them, turn their backs."

    This is one reason Haynes and his all-conquering colleagues from the Eighties chunter at the mention of Richards and Lara in the same breath. Lara may have more runs, they'll say, but Richards's ability against fast bowling was in a different league.

  • Stuart on August 29, 2009, 15:12 GMT

    I feel that a dosage of stattage might be necessary to correct some perspectives on Samaraweera. The statistics indicate that he is superb in Sri Lanka, good within the subcontinent and mediocre elsewhere:

    Filter for outside SL: Av. 44.80 with 4 hundreds (three in Pakistan, two within the 2009 series).

    Filter for outside the sub-continent: Av. 31.50 with one hundred (against the West Indies in 2008).

    To my mind, this does not indicate any type of genuine renaissance, it indicates a batsman with a great deal of skill within subcontinental (particularly Sri Lankan) conditions, who, far from striking a purple patch, has hit two particular teams (Pak, WI) who are currently shaken by problems and hit them hard.

  • Venkata Krishna on August 29, 2009, 14:48 GMT

    exactly samit. though samaraweera has been scoring loads of runs the real test comes in the days ahead. he has a tour of india and it will be hard for him to improve the record. even ponting who has good overall avg. has not done well in India.He can be a good batsman only when he scores runs when touring Oz,england,S.A. To rate a player only with his performance in his home is something that will not work out well. Samara well done anyways. but the challenge has just started.

  • Jude on August 29, 2009, 14:28 GMT

    This article does have some merit but falls way short of the mark. I agree that Thilan is not really a great in the game but the article makes him sound like an average batsman. End of the day, he is the second highest run scorer this season and that says a lot. Also the article relies heavily on statistics and not samaraweera's game. The fact is Thilan is a vastly improved batsman over the last 2+ years and we should all refrain from judging him until he gets a second chance to play against Austrailia, SA & ENG.

  • Iyanka on August 29, 2009, 14:20 GMT

    Sambit,let me make it clear to u and u already know this.This may not be relevant to this article but Sri Lanka have achieved so much more than India did in their first 27 years in test cricket.It's not Sri Lanka's fault they don't play many tests in England,SA and Australia. India were never this successful this early and that's a fact.

  • janaka on August 29, 2009, 14:18 GMT

    It seems very clearly that this is a baised article. i havent seen many like you, compared western batsmen`s success on subcontinent grounds. Pls dont do this, every batsmen play every games they are given, no one select home grond matches and reject overeseas matches. If you really need, blame some one for not given overseas matches for any country. If Samaraweera plays good cricket in home grounds then that means your greats, Australian or South Africans, or England are weak on subcontinets. Then do you say they are not greats...pls dont these jalous evaluations.

  • Chinthaka Bandara on August 29, 2009, 14:11 GMT

    Does not matter what ever is said, samaraweera is going to be one of true legend of Sri Lankan cricket. He had few chances to play overseas cricket. Sambit ,did you consider that fact when you collecting your figures ?

  • prasanna on August 29, 2009, 14:09 GMT

    we need more games in AUS, SA, & ENG for our batters to improve their records, if it is said that sri lankan batsmens overseas records are poor, pls check so-called indian greats , it will be same story.however it is evident that SL record away home is far more superior to India who has been a major test playing nation for more than 50 yr, SL is still too young only 26 yr

  • dinush on August 29, 2009, 14:09 GMT

    Quality of a batsman cannot be judged that easily. It depends on what opposition they play regularly and under what conditions they perform best. If you think that all good batsmen should score well in Australia, SA n Eng isn’t that also true that the batters who regularly play in those sort of wickets should play equally well in the sub continent? That is why I personally consider Brian Lara to be the best batsman that I have seen in my lifetime. Look at his record against SL in SL. I may not call Samaraweera a great batsman. But his contribution has helped SL win many a match. Also how well he has adapted to the modern day demands of scoring quickly. In this day and age one has to score quickly to allow the bowlers to have time to bowl the opposition out twice in docile pitches that they get. So in that respect Samaraweera has improved so much. I'm sure that he has it in him to do well in faster bouncier pitches in the future.

  • Perfect star on August 29, 2009, 14:08 GMT

    Samaraweera is techincally perfect and the way he defends,strikes the balls through covers is a treat to watch.But when it comes to playing in overseas like england ,australia,south africa etc .,he stuggles becasue of late movement and swinging conditions.We have to wait and watch as how he goes about his batting in future tours to these countries as he has comeback strong now after being dropped from the side.He is also very good player of spin and has a threshold of patience to bat for hours and also scores quickly(nowadays).He cannot be considered as a great batsmen (atleast as of now)by viewing his average as most of his centuries have come in sri lanka.Its only when he retires from test cricket ,we will be able to assess that.Hope samaraweera plays well abroad and scores centuries .

  • Gihan Mallawaarachchi - Geneva Sri-Lankan Cricket Club on August 29, 2009, 14:01 GMT

    I am a little disappointed by this article. Thilan has been the back bone of our Test batting line up for a while now. I am sad to hear that "a 30 runs" from Mahela or Kumar is better than a century from Thilan. He has a style of his own, he grafts his was through time and works hard for his runs. Even though stats show that he performs well only on home turf. The important thing is that he performs well ? isn't it ? One shouldn't forget that he started to play for Sri-Lanka as an off-spinner and with Murali around there was no place for a second spinner. I wish that one day the public will see him becoming a great player. Cheers to all . Gihan

  • Amrit Wijesuriya on August 29, 2009, 13:57 GMT

    I totally agree with the last few comments. The scheduling of cricket these days is pathetic. To think that now Sri Lanka is ranked 2nd in the world but will probably never get a proper test series in south africa or australia in the neat future is crazy. If the rankings really mean anything then they should be reflected in the scheduling as well. Why not have no.1 and no. 2 play each other now? Or better yet make it an even playing field and give everyone a chance. We never get a proper series in Australia, England or South Africa, not on a regular basis anyway. Then you have pundits going on and on about how we can't be a good side because we don't perform well in these countries? How can any of our players or teams have any decent record with having a decent chance to play in these countries? How is cricket supposed to evolve in the future if nothing is done about this lop-sided test match schedule?

  • Insunanda kumar on August 29, 2009, 13:46 GMT

    At the moment the best cricket is played at the moment by sub-continent cricketers. For that reason so called big teams do not provide opportunities for sub-continent cricketers to play in their countries. SL has only three test matches next year. Give them a chance. They will show who is best.

  • Jey on August 29, 2009, 13:34 GMT

    here we ned to consider howmany matches Tilan played against Aussie's & England after his so called comeback, may be the avg would be higher than what it shows overall, Thilan is the technically most perfect stroke maker for srilanka after Marvan Attapatu & this keeps on improving over time periods. May be the precense of great middle order players like Marvan/Aravinda kept his chances away from the team for some time.Thilan was not born with silver spoon, he was a gold in mine which every one overlooked at as coal,we can say a late bloomer. May be sambits questions are right , but he could have put it out in a better way,, time will answer all his questions

  • Sampath on August 29, 2009, 13:24 GMT

    While I'm sure Samaraweera's absolutely devastated that some Indian fans don't think much of his achievements, as long as he keep scoring runs Sri Lanka keeps performing, I doubt anyone in SL will be too worried.

  • Abhi on August 29, 2009, 13:14 GMT

    As is obvious the whole tone of comments is purely along jingoistic and geopolitical lines. very conveniently ignoring the basic thrust of the article.

  • bunpeiris Moratuwa on August 29, 2009, 13:06 GMT

    Hi Sambath, It’s not relevant whether Samaraweera is viewed a great batsman in the history of cricket. We mustn’t lose the view of the cause of the team. Samaraweera is great batsman for the Sri Lanka cricket team: he fulfils the expectations of the team. That’s all we need from all the cricketers, & from everybody else in their respective trade, from the President to the street cleaner, isn’t it?

  • Manja Alu on August 29, 2009, 12:55 GMT

    It is very sad situation when it comes to indian pandits they always underestimate other subcontinant countries just look at there records They have won very few matches agenst so cold AUS & SA Take sachine for a good example he has scord very few match winnig innings that he has played he may be having all the records in the world what is the use if you can't win any matches with those records take for a example Arvind de Silva and amount of match winning innings that he has played only one thhing that i can say sri lankans all ways play for there country indians play for them self

  • Dr. Priyanga Ranasinghe on August 29, 2009, 12:54 GMT

    Why is it that batsman greatness is only measured on how well he play's in Eng, Aus, etc.. Isn't playing in turning subcontinent wickets a skill as well? How well have these so called GREAT aussies or englishmen batted in subcontinental conditions?

  • Manja Alu on August 29, 2009, 12:54 GMT

    It is very sad situation when it comes to indian pandits they always underestimate other subcontinant countries just look at there records They have won very few matches agenst so cold AUS & SA Take sachine for a good example he has scord very few match winnig innings that he has played he may be having all the records in the world what is the use if you can't win any matches with those records take for a example Arvind de Silva and amount of match winning innings that he has played only one thhing that i can say sri lankans all ways play for there country indians play for them self

  • Shamal Jayakody` on August 29, 2009, 12:43 GMT

    Samaraweera never played well in Australia. He is scoring mainly in Sri Lanka. He is not a "great: batsman.

  • Ashwinder on August 29, 2009, 12:42 GMT

    As a cricket lover (I'm Indian by the way), I dislike commentators who unnecessarily belittle achievements of one cricketer (Samaraweera here), and plug another cricketer (Lara & Tendulkar) in the process. If the point is about relative ease of achieving a 50+ average in recent times, why not also include Indians like Gambhir as well as batters averaging 50+ from every other country in the discussion? Or write a more comprehensive article discussing if the benchmark has now moved to 54 or 55 to be considered great.

    (PS: Peter Roebuck is already of the view that in contemporary cricket 55 is equivalent to the old 50. I see a lot of merit in that argument, personally.)

  • warna on August 29, 2009, 12:24 GMT

    Dear sambit, these type of conclusion are not required. no one told Samaraweera is the greatest batsman. if batting is that much easy why those great batsmen (should be indians) in your opinion are not averaging over 50? please explain?

  • Akshay on August 29, 2009, 12:23 GMT

    Sambit, . Has Samaraweera, or his SL teammates, or any SL commentator, claimed that he should now be recognized as a great batsman? Then why write an article punching holes in that contention? All that your effort has achieved is to create an unpleasant discussion, which ends up belittling the efforts of a cricketer experiencing well-earned success on the field. I see that you did try to make a broader (and very valid, in my view) point about higher batting averages in recent years...but by singling out one player, your approach becomes rather odious. Expected better judgment from you.

  • Perera on August 29, 2009, 12:19 GMT

    Thilan is the great player in test cricket. He proved his talent so many time..After the Lahore attack the way he came back and perform is the best example. Everyone can get the statistic and describe the individual performance but which cricketer is recover d such a terrible incident.? No dough Thilan is the best ..long life to him

  • Partyman on August 29, 2009, 12:09 GMT

    Nipun - You have no idea about what you are talking about. I have two problems with your comment - First your claim that 90s bowling was not fearsome compared to the current crop. Second by that, implying that Atherton is not a worthwhile batsman. You are just pathetic - you have no idea the sort of bowling Atherton had to face - McGrath, Gillespie, McDermott, Hughes, Donald, Pollock, De Villiers, McMillan, Walsh, Ambrose, Benjamins, Bishop, Younis, Akram, Mushtaq Ahamed, Ever cropping one off wonders from Pakistan........ The list goes on. He had to face them day in day out as an opener. Opening is not easy and add to that opening in England is not Child's play. Besides Samaraweera is not capable of playing the sort of innings Atherton played, in a million years. Batting in placid home pitches, facing some mediocre bowling is nothing compared to what Atherton played in his day. So, it would serve the world at large if you keep your stupid opinions to yourself.

  • Ge on August 29, 2009, 12:05 GMT

    Whats up with all the india bashing? necessary evil I say. Tomorrow, if the game has to reach a truly international audience, who do you think has the resources and financial power? Sri lankan board? True, the indian board does indulge in arm twisting from time to time, but come on, they have done a lot for the game as well. Lets stick to the topic here!

  • Harsha Abeyaratne on August 29, 2009, 11:50 GMT

    Nobody said Samaraweera is great. That is your conclusion. The guy has strengthened his weaker areas and has become a better batsman. He is playing with a lot of heart. Put your biases aside, Sambit.

  • Sam on August 29, 2009, 11:10 GMT

    This is a very common thing I've heard for many years that a player can only be considered as a great cricketer only if they play on pitches in England, Australia and South Africa, no matter how good they are in pitches in sub-continent. This rule will be much simpler if we say that one can only be a great player only if they play for England, South Africa or Australia. As one has already mentioned above, Sri Lankan team only gets 2 test matches in England, Australia or South Africa for 3 years period that's the maximum. This will simply make sure that a Sri Lankan player might get maximum 10 test matches during their career if they could play continiously for long period. This is enough to make them NOT Great, if this rule is a valid one. :)

  • jackie on August 29, 2009, 11:02 GMT

    Hey Sumbit, I don't think you have a right to measure cricket like this,( "if we drew up a list of top 50 batsmen of all time, Samaraweera will not feature in it. Not even in a list of the top 100"). No person will ever have that right. Fans will decide their own greats. Dude, You can’t suggest bowling isn’t great today. May be it is great, but batsmen are far more greater. “Numbers will lie, why you???”

  • frenchfries on August 29, 2009, 10:59 GMT

    People! I can laugh at comments such as thilan and co. didnt bat in the time of great bowlers. Well whose fault is that? I mean in the end we shall look at all that a batsmen has achieved. If the bowlers arent good enough then why blame the batsmen. If we take a look at Sameraweera's performances from another angle then it could prove a point. I mean he has a good technique and has tried to remodel his batting into being more aggressive. Batsmen such as Dravid who has a great technique has flourished due to such reasons. So time would only tell how great Sameraweera really is. For now he has passed the test as being a very good batsmen!

  • Partyman on August 29, 2009, 10:56 GMT

    Some mindless chauvinistic rebuttals to this column, which completely miss the point author is trying to make. As for me, I will be very angry is someone compares Samaraweera to Atherton citing the average. As Mark Ramprakash once said of Ashley Giles and Phil Tufnell, Samaraweera is not even good enough to lace Atherton's boot as an opener...........

  • sunil on August 29, 2009, 10:51 GMT

    what samit has said s 100% true .According to my view sameeraveera can never be considered half as good as ganguly .So why do you even think of considering him great .In my view even the so called great ricky ponting s record s ordinary against great bowlers .These sri lankan players can never be considered great unless they have an average of 70.If they cannot have that kind of an average on flat placid wickets ,there is no question of them considered for greatness!!!!

  • HU Khanna on August 29, 2009, 10:46 GMT

    Sambit is correct, and I hope Samaraweera will improve against Australia. I am sure he will if he gets the opportunity. India only has a good record in Aus because the big four (Tendulkar, Ganguly, Laxman and Dravid) got heaps of opportunities. Still they could not win a series. Next time India tours they will get an embarassing thumping - mark my words. Sri Lanka, on the other hand will hopefully have their big four (Sanga, Mahela, Samaraweera and Dilshan) in prime form. Their current seamers will also be more effective than an attack based around Murali.

  • Oz Moll on August 29, 2009, 10:32 GMT

    It may be good to remember that Thilan has no control over weak opposition, flat tracks or the few matches he has played in Oz, SA and UK. It's not his fault he is not playing in a 'bowlers era'. What he has done is score a lot of runs at every opportunity he has been given. As for the idiot who suggested that a Sri Lankan batsmen should only be judged after he plays 50 test matches in OZ, SA and UK ... your stupidity is astounding.

  • statsguru on August 29, 2009, 10:27 GMT

    Dear Zaheer Pls get your stats correct Matt Hayden scored only 9 centuries outside Australia and his batting average was a meagre 39.89 outside Australia.We tend to use different parameters to judge Australian players.

  • Roshane on August 29, 2009, 10:09 GMT

    john roberts is spot on,i aint saying sambits all that bad,but indians are so damn full of themselves.They think their team is oh so great,they acctually advertised one series saying 'SL is going to be hit by a big wave,the indian team' and ended up losin the test series anyway.ha ha,last odi worldcup,out first round,this t20 world cup,'oh so great champions of t20' our first round,id liek to see em do somethin a little greater than beating the australians in australia,sure srilanka doesnt have a great away record,but they were in the finals of the odi worldcup and the t20,besides,they hardly get away tours do they? and the next world cup,in asia? better watch out.

  • Praveen on August 29, 2009, 10:07 GMT

    There was absolutely no need to write this article. His averages overseas are low because a) The sample size is low (SL hardly ever gets to play overseas tests) AND because when he toured to more challenging destinations he was hardly the player he is now. We should be celebrating his efforts after recovering from that shock terrorist attack instead of questioning his statistics.

  • PeacemakerSri on August 29, 2009, 10:04 GMT

    Sambit, get your facts correct. Samaraweera was a batsman who could bowl. Jayawardena & Samaraweera both played school cricket in the same era. Samaraweera's averaged 100 when Jayawaradena's average was 60.

  • Stuart on August 29, 2009, 10:01 GMT

    A handful of stats:

    Samaraweera outside SL: 44.80 with 4 hundreds.

    Outside subcontinent: 31.50 with 1 hundred. A hundred made against Windies of 2008 vintage moreover.

  • Jayantha Anandappa on August 29, 2009, 9:54 GMT

    What is most important is that since Samaraweera made his come back he looks an exceptionally good batsman with the change of technique. Some of his sqaure driving and on and off driving are top notch. If he continues to pile up runs he should end up being a truly great batsman. I am not sure what Sambit is trying to say or the motive behind his comments.

  • sarmad on August 29, 2009, 9:48 GMT

    Sri Lanka is probably as good at home as Australia and S.Africa are in their backyards. There is no other team that uses home advantage as good as these three teams do and Sri Lanka is best in the aspect that they use batting and bowling advantage equally good. Samrawera is the perfect example. I agree that he has a great character, temprament and is techinaly solid but he is nowhere near being a great, too big a word just coz he has an average over 50 like Samit mentioned not even one good score in difficult conditions such as Aus, SA, Eng and even India. The Lankans need to win overseas on a consistent basis and if their batsmen can score runs like they have been doing the last couple of series, it will be an easy job for the bowlers.

  • pravz on August 29, 2009, 9:41 GMT

    it is so stupid when some pple say we havnt won test in oz india or sa..HEY we have not played test for centuries lyk ur countries...nd it ddnt took us decades to win a test match lyk poor nz or india..get a life...samaraweera now can play anywhere and he's on his way to becoming a great..hey editor just compare most of ur so called great batsman's averages overseas..every batsman play better on his home soil..this is a pathetic article from a pathetic indian...

  • Tilak Abeyawardena on August 29, 2009, 9:33 GMT

    I knew Thilan from his scholl days ( Aananda Colleage Colombo )n agred with dhammika silva-s Comments (He has so brilliant cricket brain from his school days as sri lankan captain for under 13 to 19 then A team but unfortunatly our selectors never understand those highend quality of him )My view is that he should be groom as future captian of Sri lanka

  • Siyadh.A.M.Zain on August 29, 2009, 9:26 GMT

    absalutely. Thilan is a real team player than imagin a class act.As far as i've concern, a batsman's skill should be consider from his overseas performances not just from local criteria.Thilan's harvest of runs comes only from the sub continent.local performances r unlikely to compare a batsman 2 a great.so in my point of view,Thilan should b performing very well& score some heavy runs 2 b consider as a class batsman.Averages r one of the main factor 2 evaluate a batsman heirachy.so in this situation Thilan's avg is good enough 2 become 2 a great...

  • S Banerjee on August 29, 2009, 9:20 GMT

    Samaraweera at best can be described as a flat track bully...unless in replicates his success at home/subcontinent against good teams like Aus/SA/England in THEIR backyards he'll remain a player whose average is inflated by easy runs in easy conditions.

  • IndraWeerasooriya on August 29, 2009, 9:15 GMT

    I would like add to your comments column,I,m 73 yrs of age,from 1948 when I was just 11yrs,I was following Cricket,those days we highly regarded Don Bradman as a great batsmen of that era,and from then onwards I had been following Test Cricket upto now.I was a cricketer in my school days,and I have a good idea of stroke play,recently I have noticed Ricky Ponting,Sachin Tendulkar,Rahul Dravid as technically correct stroke players,although Tilan Samaraweera was not upto that standard yet,but I think his strokeplay had remarkably increased judging from his batting since his Pakistan Tour,I think he will mature to be a great stroke player in Cricket in future.

  • Game Plan on August 29, 2009, 9:12 GMT

    Samaraweera is a batsman who can score only in slow or damp pitch. Being a great batsman he doesn't have the ability to be it. He score only in his home. Accidently he score against pakistan two double hundreds at that time pakistan were out of test cricket. Samaraweera can never play or even score outside of his home. I can give him some good marks of a good batsman if he scores a century against Australia or South Africa.

  • Game Plan on August 29, 2009, 9:12 GMT

    Samaraweera is a batsman who can score only in slow or damp pitch. Being a great batsman he doesn't have the ability to be it. He score only in his home. Accidently he score against pakistan two double hundreds at that time pakistan were out of test cricket. Samaraweera can never play or even score outside of his home. I can give him some good marks of a good batsman if he scores a century against Australia or South Africa.

  • Dasith on August 29, 2009, 9:09 GMT

    Wow how whiney the indian fans get when they see that there are better batters in the sub-c other than in their country. Mr SanjayN sri lanka won test series in England and NZ too. Please get your facts straight. I agree that Thilan's average alone doesn't make him great. How about Rahul Dravid then? How good was Aravinda. Ask any australian bowler who they would rather bowl to? Aravinda or Tendulkar? I rest my case. Any Indian fan who says they have a batter overseas record than Sri Lanka should get their IQ tested. The only sub-c team that has a equally good home-awayrecord is Pakistan and that too due to their pace attack.

  • bismoy on August 29, 2009, 9:01 GMT

    paulusAmstelveen, what ignorance u are talking about, prove me any batman after sachin who can match sachin. forget about india ,entire cricketing world consider sachin as great ,few jealous people may have different opinion. by the way u know who is leading scorer in both format of cricket??????????????????????????????????????

  • Bimalka on August 29, 2009, 8:53 GMT

    Thilan probably doesn't expect to be called a great, so this argument is pointless. The fact is you can't judge players who haven't had enough opportunities to play abroad. Maybe due to the Sri Lankan's being less followed, less controversial they don't get the same opportunities that the indians get for example. Is it right that Sangakkara has only played 3 tests in Australia,5 in south africa and 6 in England in a 10 year career? Noone doubts that Sanga is great of his generation, just ask the Aussies! So when Thilan gets a few more opportunities abroad, then we can discuss how good he is. Point to ponder - Do you not consider Warne a great just because he has a poor record in India? ...Yeah I thought so.

  • Usman on August 29, 2009, 8:52 GMT

    101% I agree with you

  • Niresh Eliatamby (former Media Manager, Sri Lanka Cricket) on August 29, 2009, 8:52 GMT

    Where does it say that your batting has to look prettty to be 'Great'? Most bowlers around the world agree that Samaraweera is one of the most difficult batsmen that they have ever tried to get out, because his technique is so solid.

    That doesn't make him a Bradman, a Lara, or a Tendulkar. But he's certainly only a shade below them. The fact that Sambit Bal has written this article is proof enough of that.

    In any case, a double hundred is a double hundred, no matter where you do it. Two double hundreds in consecutive matches overseas, getting shot for playing cricket, and still scoring over one thousand runs in a year is definitely 'Great'. Who knows, if not for that terror attack, he may have made it three double hundreds in a row.

    It's a pity that he has never made a triple century. That would close the arguement.

  • Zahran on August 29, 2009, 8:42 GMT

    As far as Thilan Samaraweera and his performance goes, we need to take it into consideration that although he has played many tests, he is coming to a form of his life and he is a much more steady batsman now compared to few years ago. Also it is very fair for the selctors to put him into the limlight of the oneday squad too as a player he deserves it because he has matured alot as a batsman and has been very aggresive in his approach to his batting. I think we will see more of him into coming years and his biggest test will be how is performs abroad and his capabilities to transmit as a aggresive one day batsman too. So we shall look for the space to see how good he does.

  • Kamraan on August 29, 2009, 8:29 GMT

    contd. "Freddie the greats final test page" -no disrespect to freddie, he's awesome-. So because I trust your articles coz I've ready so many, it wont surprise me when you write about Samaraweera's achievements home or away in a few months/years.

  • Kamraan on August 29, 2009, 8:27 GMT

    It is there for everybody to see within the article that "over the past 15 tests" Samaraweera has been at his peak. The statistics be as they may, it is too early to call on whether he is truly 'great' or not. Everyone agrees that he is an extremely proficient batsman. But by his own admission, after being dropped for a couple of years during which many away series were played precisely for reasons of his away record, he came back stronger, harder and guess what? It has been only 15 tests since he made his come back. So overall numbers may say one story given the way his career has mapped out thus far, but after the come back, there is no complaining. I guess we'll wait and see. I love your articles Sambit, but the truth is, you being the editor of Cricinfo, I was disappointed that the amazing mental and physical feat Thilan pulled off to return for sri lanka's very next test after Karachi was not given nearly enough attention say as much as "freddie the great flintoff's own final test

  • Rizwan on August 29, 2009, 7:47 GMT

    I don't think Samaraweera can be considered as great yet. A good batsman maybe. But in my opinion a great batsman is one that imposes himself on the bowlers. So far, he seems to rely on bowling that's not very attacking and just lets nature take its course.

    If he turns into a real monster, a force to be feared, a "dangerous" batsman. A batsman who can survive tough conditions and pressure. Is Samaraweera a batsman of grit? Then again, are any of Sri Lanka's batsman truly tough and resilient? Well not yet I think..but we will wait and see..

  • webmaster on August 29, 2009, 7:47 GMT

    east or west thilan samaraweera is the best !!!well done sri lanka..we r with u !!!!

  • abhishek on August 29, 2009, 7:35 GMT

    Sambit your statistical analysis is good but at the same time I do agree that a player needs a fair in the offshore series .After the forced lay-off he comes across as a more attacking batsman and is getting runs consistently.yes it true that to call samaraweeera 'great' will be far too early .Its unfair on the player to be tagged 'great' if he happens to cross average of 50.Samaraweera is one of the mainstay of Srilankan test line up and will be interesting to take note of his performance in Australia,SA,England etc.

  • P.Satish on August 29, 2009, 7:34 GMT

    Wonderful article!!

    For those who talk about SL not touring Australia or South Africa too often, Sehwag's first tours to SA, England and Australia contained a century each. His subsequent tour to South Africa was not great, did not go to England but was in top form against Australia in 08-09.

    The wickets being the same for any era of batsmen finally home and away performances coupled with performances against the top teams of that era are what set the special ones apart.

  • Deepfreezed on August 29, 2009, 7:11 GMT

    What is Sri Lanka supposed to do? They get to play in Australia every 4 years. What do you expect them to do? When was the last time they toured South Africa or England?

  • MZahm on August 29, 2009, 7:08 GMT

    What is the point of this article? Nobody would suggest that Thilan is one of the all time greats. He's someone who's managed to improve his batting approach and the results thereof over the last few years, overcoming a pretty traumatic event this year on top of that. Picking holes in the game of someone who's made such a great effort is ungracious.

    If the statistical "analysis" was not so poor this article might at least have some informational value. Given that cricinfo has so many capable statisticians perhaps Sambit should confer with them and try to understand statistical significance and skewness.

    Samaraweera's avg at home against Aus/Eng/SA is about 48 over 12 innings. The only black mark is an avg of 15 against these countries overseas in 10 innings. 10 or 12 innings isn't enough to draw a conclusion either way.

    Sambit does draw attention to the fact that statistics can confuse the uneducated - it would be more impressive if he didn't do so by becoming a prime example.

  • JK on August 29, 2009, 7:01 GMT

    Stats apart, it is shocking to see such harsh comments in response to this article. Samaraweera deserves credit for coming back from a very stressful experience and performing at his best. But as Sambit points out, he has done nothing so far to suggest that he can replicate his performances outside of SL. Of course it is not his fault that SL does not get enough chances abroad. But then Jayawardene and Sangakarra also play for SL and their class is universally accepted. Fact is, Samaraweera is not quite in their class yet (or if he is, he hasnt proved it yet)..He was dropped for a while from the SL team. So I wonder why that's so hard to accept that he's still developing. Good article Sambit. The word "great" tends to be trown around quite a lot these days. We surely need the media to put things in perspective..

  • Daiya on August 29, 2009, 7:01 GMT

    Perhaps if India agreed to the proposed test championship in from 2012 onwards we could see which countries are really great with every team able to play the same number of tests against each other on a home and away basis. However, since India didnt want that SL will continue to get 2-3 test matches in 3 years since we have only 19 million people and do not have the fan base to have tv producers spending billions to see SL play in Aus or Eng. If you do remeber in the last tour to Aus Kumar was given out for 196 an Innings that could possibly have been the deciding factor of a 1-1 series draw and a 2-0 befeat. However, it was not to be. So Sl needs to play the cricket that comes their way and play it well. Congrats to this SL team who have not lost a Test in 2009 and deserve the #2 ranking. It is without a doubt that they will soon overhaul SA to the #1 spot. The big challenge will be India at the end of this year.

  • SAM on August 29, 2009, 6:59 GMT

    I agree with what Zuhry said. All most all SL batsman are playing for the team, unlike Teldulkar's who just play for his own record. The best example is Samaraweera's 2nd Innings in Galle Test, where he could have stayed not out and boost his average, instead he hit 2 sixes and went on quick runs, which he has never done. And observing your writing for few months, you'd never accept any performance of Asian player except for your so-called India.

  • sajid.sattar on August 29, 2009, 6:54 GMT

    Ok- bradman played all of his tests mainly against one opposition and mostly in australia or england- and he is considered a great! come on guys.

  • Tilak on August 29, 2009, 6:49 GMT

    To all the sycophants who think Australia the the most talented cricketers just think of the Australian infrastructure and the amounts invested in each cricketer fom a very early age. Add to this the fact that Australia plays the most amount of test cricket annually and is it any surprise that they perform well. No one can talk or "great" or "not great" until there is level playing field wich is fair to all.

  • pritam on August 29, 2009, 6:47 GMT

    I guess some of my Lankan friends really got harsh at Sambit. Only thing this article says that we dont yet jnow whether or not samaraveera is great. His stats don't provide us with an exact answer. Only time will tell whether he carries his confidence from at home average to improve overseas. He might be hasan tilakratne but we don't know if he's of De Silva's class. Not yet baby not yet.

  • Ananda Herath on August 29, 2009, 6:39 GMT

    If you split hair you can say most batsmen are not good. Scoring double hundreds and hundreds so often is not a joke. It doesn't happen by accident. It requires class under whatever circumstances, even in one's own country. Every batsman gets to play in his own country and how many of them score at this rate ? Sambit, yours is a good case of paralysis by analysis. Just forget your numbers and enjoy the game or as one has said here, get a life !

  • Niranjan on August 29, 2009, 6:34 GMT

    For toe igorant fools who think Sri Lanka cannot score overseas just check Sangakarras last tour of Australia. He nearly scored a double century in a test(194 if I remember right) and was wrongfull given out by Rudi Kotzen. Rudi apologised to Sanga at the end of the match who did not make any fuss at all compared to some others I can name. The other important point is the SL team has to do well with the limited oppurtunities it has had, in its short Test career.

  • sudharaka on August 29, 2009, 6:31 GMT

    his is Samaraweera's summery since Jan 2008. No England, South Africa or Aussie matches. Give him a break and more importantly a chance to prove himself.

    Opposition Matches Runs HS Bat Av 100's ---------- ------- ---- -- ------ ----- v Bangladesh 2 248 90 62.00 - v India 3 243 127 81.00 1 v New Zealand 2 333 159 111.00 2 v Pakistan 5 640 231 91.42 2 v West Indies 2 187 125 62.33 1

  • CricketFan on August 29, 2009, 6:10 GMT

    Thilan is not "great" at the present time but may have the potential to be a "great". This, I believe, is what Sambit is saying. If I have read him correctly, then I believe he is right. More than Sangakkara or Jayawardene, Thilan, I believe, has the makings of greatness. A couple of series against India/Australia/England/SA can put the matter beyond debate. I just can't wait to see myself.

  • Pubudu on August 29, 2009, 6:09 GMT

    For everyone pointing out the deficiencies of SL batters overseas, look at the Eng/Aus/SA batters records in the sub continent, they are just as bad. SL usually get to tour Eng in Apr - May, look at the bat ave for all batters in Eng in Apr - May, then one can make a comparison. SL have played 2 series in Aus in 6 years, (usually 2 matches), how can they possibly get used to Aus tracks in that sort of time? The point is that the Lankans are a tiny country punching way way above their weight class and yes, they are a fotress side at home - but who isn't? If they are that average, teams should have no problems beating them at home .. yet time after time they falter. Oh and what happened to India last time they went to SL? (Also Samaraweera is not a great in terms of batsmenship - don't be silly!)

  • Ashik Sali on August 29, 2009, 5:42 GMT

    I agree with Samit. Look not only Samaraveera, take the case of Jayawardene. He is piling up runs in 100s and may cross 30 centuries soon, but when you filter his statistics, you could see he had scored over 20 hundreds in subcontinental pitches. So he is one amongst the greastest??. Same with Samaraveera. Let him prove outside the subcontinental pitches. Don't judge players by their statistics, we have people in Indian ranji league scoring bucketful of runs and faltering when faced with real test.

  • priyantha on August 29, 2009, 5:31 GMT

    the statistical data used in the analysis look appropriate to the given the situation.It looks at a batsman's performance under various situations. Sri Lanka does not get much opportunity to play in Australia, England and SA. I believe the ICC should intervene and provide equal opportunities to all test playing countries. The Sri Lankan cricket administration, on the hand, should forget personnel differences and work towards achieving common goals.We should have more pitches which helps the fast bowling and emphasis on developing more and more fast bowlers.By this, we should be able to develop batsmen who can bat fast bowlers on speedy wickets successfully.

  • Zuhry on August 29, 2009, 5:19 GMT

    Thilan's transformation from a an offie to a solid middle order bat is great.though he doesnt possess the class of aravinda he is serving the purpose of the team.Batsmen who fail in the subcontinent and score heavily in their own backyard are called great.but those who scores heavily in the subcontinent and has a moderate average are not good bats.who invented this theory. sauce for the goose must be the sauce for the gander.Thilan is not a batsman who plays for gallery.he is a real team player.

  • Prab on August 29, 2009, 4:54 GMT

    Look people, Sambit is not arguing that Samaraweera is not a "great" player. He has just provided statistical data to whether or not Samaraweera has performed consistently. It is up to us to decide whether or not he could be considered a "great" player. I'm a good follower of this sport, yet I was surprised to find this cricketer has played 50 tests.

  • Abhi on August 29, 2009, 4:52 GMT

    100% correct.

    Let’s look at some figures from Tendulkars debut to 01/01/2003: Tendulkar: 169 inn;8811@57.6; 31 100s S.Waugh: 194inn; 8326@51.7; 26 100s M.Waugh:209 inn;8029@41.8;20 100s Lara: 157 inn;7572@49.5;18 100s M.Taylor:171 inn;6619@41.6;17 100s Kirsten: 154 inn;6114@43.1;16 100s Dravid: 118 inn;5614@53.5;14 100s Ponting: 99 inn;4246@48.8;14 100s Kallis: 106 inn;4455@50.6;11 100s Inzy: 138 inn;6122@49.0;17 100s

    During Tendulkars injury phase ,several batsmen piled up unreal runs/hundreds.

    But clearly the inn/runs/100s ration is way lower than the mid to late 2000s. look at the batsmen avg. above 50! ALL the batsmen in the list can be classified as either good or great. But only 4 avg 50+!! So ,clearly times have changed. Not just the paucity of the truly great bowling attacks but also pitches have become more suited to batting.

  • Zaheer on August 29, 2009, 4:24 GMT

    I just think Sri lanka's batsmens should get judge after playing 50 tests in Aus,SA and England. This hundreds and double hundreds is crazy. If we look at his stats compared to Matt Hayden his not close to great because Matt scored everywhere. The Sri lankan batsmens score the bulk of there runs at home. Plus they play 2/3 series back to back there. Thus it makes it so easy they make batting averages look like a joke. So he should try bouncy pitches with better teams to try and be great.

  • Mridul Parajuli, Nepal on August 29, 2009, 4:24 GMT

    Give us 5 test match series and you will get the answers. 2 or 3 test match series cant judge a player's greatness. Muhammed.....U rock.....Well said.

  • saleh on August 29, 2009, 4:21 GMT

    Think, Inzamam, who averages below 50. No body will compare Thilan with Inzi. Average is never a true measure of greatness. It is the contribution a player makes in winning a match or avoiding his team's defeat, that matters.

  • Mridul Parajuli, Nepal on August 29, 2009, 4:21 GMT

    Give us 5 test match series and you will get the answers. 2 or 3 test match series cant judge a player's greatness. Muhammed.....U rock.....Well said.

  • paulusAmstelveen on August 29, 2009, 4:15 GMT

    "Posted by: bismoy at August 29, 2009 2:01 AM

    great is word that can be told about world beater,the last great player we seen was sachin,apart from him no body deserve to called great." - typical indian ignorance....thankfully the indian spectatotrs firm beleif that they are the greatest has earned revenue for many cricket boards. I hope the ignorace persists

  • donaveraged99 on August 29, 2009, 4:09 GMT

    Sri Lankan batters [and the team] do not do well abroad. Ok so what? Apart from Australia in 2004 and Eng in 2001 no non-asian side has beaten SL @ home in the last 10 years.[this adds up 2 20 test series]Pakistan did so twice. True Sri Lanka have yet a lot to acheive, but its only 28 years since they gained status. Yet they have acheived more than what teams like Eng and NZ have acheived over such a long period. They have won a World Cup once and became the runners up once, very much like India, only India played test cricket for a half-century more than SriLanka. I cant imagine how stupid it is to overlook these facts.

  • Felix Fernando on August 29, 2009, 4:09 GMT

    I am a Sri Lankan in USA . Thanks for your contribution to SL cricket. Those who critisize should do what Samaraweeera had done so far.He came back from TERRIBLE attack in Pakistan. That is enough to say about his character.

  • apocrypto on August 29, 2009, 3:08 GMT

    well everybody forgets the fact that it's been only 27 years since we got test recognition and in that short time period we have been able to achieve this much is itself a huge acheivment. Obviously we dont have da exposure of batting in foreign conditions. Even India got it's first victory in England in 1971. Some 40 odd years after ir got test gecognition. But we won a test in England in 1998(just 16 year after test recognition). We are a comparatively new nation to international cricket when compared to all the other countries except bangladesh. We have been even able to win a world cup where as SA or Eng couldnt. Our overseas record certainly will get better as we play more matches abroad and gain knowledge abt da conditions. Our cricketers are certainly will learn from their mistakes and our record will only get better. But our growth is formidable as ours is a late entry into cricket. You will see how good we are when u take a look at bangladesh.

  • bismoy on August 29, 2009, 2:01 GMT

    great is word that can be told about world beater,the last great player we seen was sachin,apart from him no body deserve to called great.

  • Rajaa on August 29, 2009, 1:07 GMT

    Hi Murugan, see, Tendulkar or Lara, Vaughn too gets to play 3 or 4 test matches in 3 or 4 years time in Australia, England and South Africa. Yet they were scoring tons of runs there.. If U say, they were in a different era, well, Tendulkar is there for you still.. Ponting may well score tons of runs everywhere, but except in India. Thats where he fails miserably. Whereas Hayden scored those heavy runs here in India. Those players too, not used to play here in subcontinent...

  • The True Indian on August 28, 2009, 22:50 GMT

    Hahaha, Sambit, do the same calculation on Tendulkar and you will see similar trends. Keep in mind, that in the last 4 years he would only play weak team or weak blowing attack to maintain his ave and will play a stronger team when he was in form. Don't you think he is the golden child who has the luck to inflate his average?

  • Raghu Srinivasan on August 28, 2009, 22:31 GMT

    It is annoying to see the word "great" thrown everywhere in the cricket columns and articles everywhere.Again greatness is achieved over a period. If Sambit says Samaraweera is not a great batsman so do Hussey (home avg:64.79 and Away Avg:42.29)and Flintoff. See I can spit some numbers (courtesy:cricinfo) so can I be a writer or an editor? People should start realizing the difference between great moments and great career.As an editor and writer we expect more that just statistics and please don't take a swipe at any current cricketers like this. Every article may it be destructive or constructive criticism it should benefit the readers and the person concerned. Do you think we/Samaraweera don't know about this statistics about away records. Try to write something interesting and useful. I am not saying this as a Srilankan.Many of the reasons suggested by other people in the comments makes more sense rather than just looking at one column of the statistics data base.

  • Muhammad on August 28, 2009, 22:23 GMT

    Totally agree with Shaad and Murugan. Sambit to be frank, what Samaraweera has achieved so far only few can even dream of.. if the home advantage is so great then why not all sri lankan batsman prosper on home soil? what is Samaraweera's fault that he has had to play the larger share of matches in SL and in the asian sub-continent??? Murugan Veerabahu hit the nail right on its head when he said that these countries(England, Aussie and SA) haven't given sri lanka many fixtures to prove themselves with. can you believe Sri Lanka has never played in a 5 test match series?... ever???? well Sambit, that quite well be your reason for the overseas failures.. My challenge to you Sambit is to take a bat and try to achieve what Thilan has and you tell me, whether you think wether he is "great" or not.. I simply hate it when armchair critics and "know-it-alls" such as yourself make scathing remarks on the players for no reason.. shame sambit.. very sad

  • Ranil Herath on August 28, 2009, 21:30 GMT

    Sambit you seem to cast some doubt on Samaraweera's progress unfairly.In comparative terms in similar 'home'conditions how many other batsmen have been able to rise above others in the subcontinent?Sri Lanka tried many other middle order batsmen in failure and India and Pakistan would love to have a batsman in similar mould in the middle order.It is not his fault if not given a chance to play in Australia and South Africa.

  • SanjayN on August 28, 2009, 20:22 GMT

    SL batters may not get many tours to Oz, SA etc but they do get opps there to at least impress in one inns. Typically, they perform very poorly. Yet, when they play Oz at home against Oz, again they're found wanting. Look at Jayawardene's record against Oz. One hundred in something like 16 inns, and then compare his record against other nations. It's not a coincidence.

    I'd like to add that the wickets in the West Indies are even flatter than those in the sub continent. Unlike the sub-c, the wkts in the Carib don't turn, the spinners just don't play any kind of game-changing role. And the wickets were flat even in the old days - it just goes to show the greatness of the bowling attack they had in the past. Scoring big tons in the Carib is easier than the so-called dustbowls of the sub-c.

    Finally, SL fans can whine about their so-called limited opps but the fact is that they have yet to win a SINGLE Test in India, Oz and SA. Overseas series wins only in Bangla, Zim and Pak.

  • dhammika silva on August 28, 2009, 20:10 GMT

    Thilan is the most deffencive technicaly giffted batsman sri lanka ever produced.for short balls his backfoottoe defence so solid & even not second to Dravid.Hi martin just if you wanna see rememberd version of high skill batting just see 159 at galle against NZ specialy after he got hundred. He has so brilliant cricket brain from his school days as sri lankan captain for under 13 to 19 then A team but unfortunatly our selectors never understand those highend quality of him then lost valuble 20 months for Sri lanka cricket.

  • Sasanke Jayawardene on August 28, 2009, 18:40 GMT

    Dear Sambit, you have to appreciate how Samaraweera has changed his game also. He will prove himself once when given the opportunity. He is a great fighter. Sri Lanka is not given enough opportunities to play test cricket in overseas. In 2010 they will play only 2 tests. If given the opportunity to play more tests, you would see Mahela & Sanga going past Sachin.

  • Philip on August 28, 2009, 18:39 GMT

    We live in an era where we are desperately searching for a new “great” cricketer. But like most good things in life, it takes time. Unfortunately newspaper/magazine articles have to be sold today! Let us enjoy the players that we have placed on a pedestal and also those players that are starting to cause opposition teams headaches. Thilan Samaraweera is a very talented cricketer, he has immense strength of character to face adversity and still move forward, but these alone do not make him a cricketing “great”… give him time. Right now it is an unfair debate that does NOT do him or the game we love any justice.

  • Nipun on August 28, 2009, 18:13 GMT

    The statistics don't lie,but Sri Lanka do not play tests in England/Australia/South Africa frequently.& I completely disagree that the bowling in the 90s was fearsome.Apart from Wasim,Waqar,Ambrose,Walsh,Pollock,Donald,Warne,& Muralidaran,there were hardly other bowlers who deserve special mention.Anil Kumble & Javagal Srinath were pathetic at that time.Yes,the batting now is slightly easier but not as easy as you guys suggest.Go out there with a bat in your hand & check it out yourselves!

  • silvarasa on August 28, 2009, 17:39 GMT

    hey sambit, this seems like a biased article and betrays a little bit of jealousy that none of the current indian batsmen can measure up to samaraveera. Btw, has anybody noticed that suresh raina has his pictures all over cricinfo ? Come on, for gods sake he cant play a short ball from a spinner

  • Murugan Veerabahu on August 28, 2009, 16:44 GMT

    I get pretty annoyed when writers say sri lankan batsman arent good in Australia or England and that they score heavily only at home. Well the answer for this is simple, the lankan gets to play 2 test matches in England and Australia every 3 years or so. You can not judge a batsman's quality on these few games spread over so many years.

  • surya on August 28, 2009, 16:17 GMT

    Part of his good run is dues to the fact that he plays more at home and has has scored heavily here moreso against average opponents.IT would be better to judge him after an overseas tour in Safrica,australia and england.But having said that the transformation from an average offie to a solid middle order batsman has been brilliant.ITs not easy to change midway and it would be interesting to see him fare in bowling pitches

  • john roberts on August 28, 2009, 16:03 GMT

    Sambit. You are so full of yourself and your indian team. Look at you srilanka is playing NZ but you still want indian team's achivement in their. get a life bro.

  • Vatsa on August 28, 2009, 15:11 GMT

    Spot on. And same with Dilshan. Jayawardena and Sanga make it up with there class. But are they "Great", I doubt. The criterion would probably be record abroad, especially in Australia, South Africa, England (in April) for Subcontinental batsmen. And in India, SriLanka for batsman from else where. And spot on again about the quality of batting in the near future, with the wickets drying up to feather beds in Australia, West Indies and the 80% tracks of the sub continent being true with low bounce, we will have more 50+ averages.

  • martin crowe on August 28, 2009, 15:04 GMT

    Samaraweera. Have played 50 test matches. I can't remember even one memorable inning. Just compare him to Aravinda de Silva and you will see where he goes missing

  • Shaad on August 28, 2009, 14:57 GMT

    I have to partially agree with you Sambit.. This bloke is still relatively new and he hasn't had the chance to play many tests in Australia, England and South Africa. We'll see how well he does in those countries and then decide if he is indeed "great". I partially agree with you on the quality of bowling in the 90's. It certainly was the era of bowlers, however, it is unfair to compare batsmen of different era's. People could rubbish W.G.Grace's records saying cricket was not professional enough or the quality of the cricket played back then was not good enough.. Or some may even argue that Bradman didn't have to play against the number of test playing nations as are today and that the bowlers at that time were mediocre as well.. does that mean these two greats aren't "great"? You and I can argue all we want Sambit, but the fact of the matter remains, scoring hundred's, double hundred's and being hit by a bullet and coming back to whack back to back hundreds IS indeed "great"...

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  • Shaad on August 28, 2009, 14:57 GMT

    I have to partially agree with you Sambit.. This bloke is still relatively new and he hasn't had the chance to play many tests in Australia, England and South Africa. We'll see how well he does in those countries and then decide if he is indeed "great". I partially agree with you on the quality of bowling in the 90's. It certainly was the era of bowlers, however, it is unfair to compare batsmen of different era's. People could rubbish W.G.Grace's records saying cricket was not professional enough or the quality of the cricket played back then was not good enough.. Or some may even argue that Bradman didn't have to play against the number of test playing nations as are today and that the bowlers at that time were mediocre as well.. does that mean these two greats aren't "great"? You and I can argue all we want Sambit, but the fact of the matter remains, scoring hundred's, double hundred's and being hit by a bullet and coming back to whack back to back hundreds IS indeed "great"...

  • martin crowe on August 28, 2009, 15:04 GMT

    Samaraweera. Have played 50 test matches. I can't remember even one memorable inning. Just compare him to Aravinda de Silva and you will see where he goes missing

  • Vatsa on August 28, 2009, 15:11 GMT

    Spot on. And same with Dilshan. Jayawardena and Sanga make it up with there class. But are they "Great", I doubt. The criterion would probably be record abroad, especially in Australia, South Africa, England (in April) for Subcontinental batsmen. And in India, SriLanka for batsman from else where. And spot on again about the quality of batting in the near future, with the wickets drying up to feather beds in Australia, West Indies and the 80% tracks of the sub continent being true with low bounce, we will have more 50+ averages.

  • john roberts on August 28, 2009, 16:03 GMT

    Sambit. You are so full of yourself and your indian team. Look at you srilanka is playing NZ but you still want indian team's achivement in their. get a life bro.

  • surya on August 28, 2009, 16:17 GMT

    Part of his good run is dues to the fact that he plays more at home and has has scored heavily here moreso against average opponents.IT would be better to judge him after an overseas tour in Safrica,australia and england.But having said that the transformation from an average offie to a solid middle order batsman has been brilliant.ITs not easy to change midway and it would be interesting to see him fare in bowling pitches

  • Murugan Veerabahu on August 28, 2009, 16:44 GMT

    I get pretty annoyed when writers say sri lankan batsman arent good in Australia or England and that they score heavily only at home. Well the answer for this is simple, the lankan gets to play 2 test matches in England and Australia every 3 years or so. You can not judge a batsman's quality on these few games spread over so many years.

  • silvarasa on August 28, 2009, 17:39 GMT

    hey sambit, this seems like a biased article and betrays a little bit of jealousy that none of the current indian batsmen can measure up to samaraveera. Btw, has anybody noticed that suresh raina has his pictures all over cricinfo ? Come on, for gods sake he cant play a short ball from a spinner

  • Nipun on August 28, 2009, 18:13 GMT

    The statistics don't lie,but Sri Lanka do not play tests in England/Australia/South Africa frequently.& I completely disagree that the bowling in the 90s was fearsome.Apart from Wasim,Waqar,Ambrose,Walsh,Pollock,Donald,Warne,& Muralidaran,there were hardly other bowlers who deserve special mention.Anil Kumble & Javagal Srinath were pathetic at that time.Yes,the batting now is slightly easier but not as easy as you guys suggest.Go out there with a bat in your hand & check it out yourselves!

  • Philip on August 28, 2009, 18:39 GMT

    We live in an era where we are desperately searching for a new “great” cricketer. But like most good things in life, it takes time. Unfortunately newspaper/magazine articles have to be sold today! Let us enjoy the players that we have placed on a pedestal and also those players that are starting to cause opposition teams headaches. Thilan Samaraweera is a very talented cricketer, he has immense strength of character to face adversity and still move forward, but these alone do not make him a cricketing “great”… give him time. Right now it is an unfair debate that does NOT do him or the game we love any justice.

  • Sasanke Jayawardene on August 28, 2009, 18:40 GMT

    Dear Sambit, you have to appreciate how Samaraweera has changed his game also. He will prove himself once when given the opportunity. He is a great fighter. Sri Lanka is not given enough opportunities to play test cricket in overseas. In 2010 they will play only 2 tests. If given the opportunity to play more tests, you would see Mahela & Sanga going past Sachin.