April 1, 2014

Spot the Sri Lankan captain

ESPNcricinfo staff
An irreverent look in and around World T20 in Bangladesh. If you are looking for news, you have got lost in the right place
26

I'm the captain, no I'm the captain

Among the puzzling issues surrounding Sri Lankan cricket over the last few years has been the captaincy which has seen a quicker changeover than the average footballer manager. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have enjoyed a merry-go-round in the job with Angelo Matthews and now Dinesh Chandimal being handed the role.

But for their final match against New Zealand, Sri Lanka tried something wholly different. With Chandimal - the official captain - banned for a slow over rate, the vice-captain, Lasith Malinga, naturally assumed the role and wandered out for the toss. But come Sri Lanka's turn in the field, it was Jayawardene calling the shots. Malinga reappeared at the presentation to be the face of Sri Lanka's miraculous victory but it had been Jayawardene that really led them to the semi-finals.

The situation may seem strange but it could be the way forward. With Jayawardene clearly the best tactician in the Sri Lankan dressing room but having his differences with the board, having Malinga or Chandimal as a puppet skipper could let Jayawardene lead his team without the red tape to deal with.

Where has all the dew gone?

New Zealand were licking their lips at only having to chase 120 to beat Sri Lanka and qualify for the semi-finals - a cakewalk on the slick wickets that had been found in all the previous evening matches in Chittagong when a thick layer of dew has descended. But the groundstaff had a brainwave and for the final fixture on the ground in the tournament decided to do something about the dew and applied a chemical to the wicket to repel moisture and ensure a more traditional dry subcontinent wicket emerged.

Perhaps it took the previous two weeks of the tournament for trials to be conducted on nearby grounds, perhaps a Sri Lankan mole got a job with the Chittagong groundstaff and slipped something into the water supply, either way, New Zealand got the fright of their lives when they encountered a slow, dry, turning wicket that Rangana Herath worshipped to send his side through.

T20…not for me

He's the steady-eddy opener who has relished a second life in Test cricket but any chance that Chris Rogers could be plunged into T20 cricket for Australia has been scuppered by the man himself who has called his ability in the shortest format "rubbish". He compared himself with a little kid who isn't good at something so he just gives up. A most refreshing honest personal assessment. That's the IPL out of the window then. And Australia can forget turning to him after their poor showing at the World T20.

"When I'm not very good at something it frustrates me massively," Rogers told the Cricket Australia website. "And I can tell I'm not very good, no matter how hard I try I just don't seem to have the game plan. I've tried all I can but it just doesn't work. I'm happy - I'm playing because I love the longer version of the game and if that means I can play for a little bit longer then it probably means more to me than earning some money in the IPL. Which wouldn't be much anyway."

Then again, the story was published on April 1.

Blueprint for improvement

Bangladesh have had their moments in the past few years but have generally struggled to regularly compete against the established cricketing nations. Several theories have been created of how they can move forward but the latest from Shakib Al Hasan is certainly out of left field.

Shakib said the pressure of playing in front of their home crowd was getting too much and inhibiting his side's performances. The crowd, the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the media have apparently created an unhealthy environment where thinking about the team has been superseded by individual needs. To address this weight of expectation, Shakib has suggested Bangladesh do not play any home matches for two years to lower the ambition of their supporters. It would at least spare the Bangladeshis more heartbreak: the team even managed to lose to Bangladesh A in December.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rockhadda on April 3, 2014, 7:22 GMT

    the words have been used to describe SL young captain is inappropriate. They may take advise from their senior players. That because they are playing for the country. not for egos like other Asian countries. That's the spirit of the Sri Lankans.

  • LKcricket on April 2, 2014, 19:33 GMT

    It was evident in the dressing room that all the team members were united and have been focusing on the game as a team. This was well represented emotional feelings on their faces. This comment from some who can not emjoy the winning streak of the Sri Lankan team and it looks to me our closest neighbor is spreading these allegation to distract the unity of the Sri lankan team. The simple fact is they are too scared if Sri Lanka comes for the finals.

    We love to give them a lesson!

  • on April 2, 2014, 15:05 GMT

    Regardless Malinga was captian on field and on paper but it was Mahela's mind that was making all the decisions, one thing i like about lankan team is that they are grooming young captain like Matthews, Chandimal and even malings with no captaincy experience.They have experience sanga and mahela who can guide any youngster. Regardless who ever is will lead srilankan team in semi they will play as a unit, because experience will always guide the youth.

  • 10000000 on April 2, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    Chandimal - he is the right person for the job

  • on April 2, 2014, 11:30 GMT

    Aravinda (captained before Arjuna) under Arjuna, both of them under Sanath, Sanath under Marvan, Both of them under Mahela, Mahela and Sanath under Sanga, Mahela and Sanga under Dilshan, Trio Under Mathews, All four under Chandi, same four under Lasith, Played with unison and stepped up to the occasion when the Designated captain needed support, took over if matters went out of hand and that is the beauty of this team.

  • kalins on April 2, 2014, 10:40 GMT

    SL awarded two times with ICC Spirit of Cricket, SL is only country taken it away from White skins. No other country in Asia taken this title. So the writer should be aware that SL is not an ordinary sub-cont country who plays cricket to earn or live. Captains are make not born, So don't create issues and try to bring unpopular news. SL team has 4 captains in it. And we will have no issues by taking the game to the end.

  • Mr.Cricket_slLion on April 2, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    Hey, If you are brave enough please put your name right in the bottom of the article. We Srilankans have no Leadership fights inside the team. that is our specialty. No matter who captains the team everyone contributes at their best for the sake of the team.

    Anybody here please look at the history of Srilankan Cricket and you will never find a competition for the leadership. Everybody in the team to Contribute at their level and not to have the upper hand over the other players and to shouting at the face of the other players. Even in the biggest losses or a misfield during the match you will never see a Srilankan player shouting at the other player. That is the Quality we have in our Sports.

    remember LIONS NEVER EAT GRASS EVEN AT THE DEATH MOMENT. WE PLAY QUALITY CRICKET AND WE SHOW THE WORLD WHAT CRICKET IS.

  • on April 2, 2014, 8:44 GMT

    I agree that there are some issues in the captaincy in Sri Lankan cricket team. But the focus and leadership is not faded that you can see the winnings in the recent past. It is not professional to say that Lankans did something with dew factor. It is true that Lankan team has some disagreement with the authorities, still boys are doing well currently as they don't play for money, but for the sake of sportmenship

  • on April 2, 2014, 8:37 GMT

    puppet skipper? I would suggest to use words with more care and respect. Chandimal is young and it is more of grooming him for captaincy so that he requires all the support from seniors, not that seniors are not captain material anymore. This is Malinga's first match as a captain and it it is not a match that you can take light or do experiments.

  • on April 2, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    Why is anyone criticizing this. This is an unbelievable positive. The fact that a team is able to function 110% with virtually 6 captains in the side shows what wonderful bonding and respect they have for each other. I can never see a team like England or Australia for that matter function like this. There will be too many egos flying around.

  • rockhadda on April 3, 2014, 7:22 GMT

    the words have been used to describe SL young captain is inappropriate. They may take advise from their senior players. That because they are playing for the country. not for egos like other Asian countries. That's the spirit of the Sri Lankans.

  • LKcricket on April 2, 2014, 19:33 GMT

    It was evident in the dressing room that all the team members were united and have been focusing on the game as a team. This was well represented emotional feelings on their faces. This comment from some who can not emjoy the winning streak of the Sri Lankan team and it looks to me our closest neighbor is spreading these allegation to distract the unity of the Sri lankan team. The simple fact is they are too scared if Sri Lanka comes for the finals.

    We love to give them a lesson!

  • on April 2, 2014, 15:05 GMT

    Regardless Malinga was captian on field and on paper but it was Mahela's mind that was making all the decisions, one thing i like about lankan team is that they are grooming young captain like Matthews, Chandimal and even malings with no captaincy experience.They have experience sanga and mahela who can guide any youngster. Regardless who ever is will lead srilankan team in semi they will play as a unit, because experience will always guide the youth.

  • 10000000 on April 2, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    Chandimal - he is the right person for the job

  • on April 2, 2014, 11:30 GMT

    Aravinda (captained before Arjuna) under Arjuna, both of them under Sanath, Sanath under Marvan, Both of them under Mahela, Mahela and Sanath under Sanga, Mahela and Sanga under Dilshan, Trio Under Mathews, All four under Chandi, same four under Lasith, Played with unison and stepped up to the occasion when the Designated captain needed support, took over if matters went out of hand and that is the beauty of this team.

  • kalins on April 2, 2014, 10:40 GMT

    SL awarded two times with ICC Spirit of Cricket, SL is only country taken it away from White skins. No other country in Asia taken this title. So the writer should be aware that SL is not an ordinary sub-cont country who plays cricket to earn or live. Captains are make not born, So don't create issues and try to bring unpopular news. SL team has 4 captains in it. And we will have no issues by taking the game to the end.

  • Mr.Cricket_slLion on April 2, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    Hey, If you are brave enough please put your name right in the bottom of the article. We Srilankans have no Leadership fights inside the team. that is our specialty. No matter who captains the team everyone contributes at their best for the sake of the team.

    Anybody here please look at the history of Srilankan Cricket and you will never find a competition for the leadership. Everybody in the team to Contribute at their level and not to have the upper hand over the other players and to shouting at the face of the other players. Even in the biggest losses or a misfield during the match you will never see a Srilankan player shouting at the other player. That is the Quality we have in our Sports.

    remember LIONS NEVER EAT GRASS EVEN AT THE DEATH MOMENT. WE PLAY QUALITY CRICKET AND WE SHOW THE WORLD WHAT CRICKET IS.

  • on April 2, 2014, 8:44 GMT

    I agree that there are some issues in the captaincy in Sri Lankan cricket team. But the focus and leadership is not faded that you can see the winnings in the recent past. It is not professional to say that Lankans did something with dew factor. It is true that Lankan team has some disagreement with the authorities, still boys are doing well currently as they don't play for money, but for the sake of sportmenship

  • on April 2, 2014, 8:37 GMT

    puppet skipper? I would suggest to use words with more care and respect. Chandimal is young and it is more of grooming him for captaincy so that he requires all the support from seniors, not that seniors are not captain material anymore. This is Malinga's first match as a captain and it it is not a match that you can take light or do experiments.

  • on April 2, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    Why is anyone criticizing this. This is an unbelievable positive. The fact that a team is able to function 110% with virtually 6 captains in the side shows what wonderful bonding and respect they have for each other. I can never see a team like England or Australia for that matter function like this. There will be too many egos flying around.

  • on April 2, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    My Sri Lankan team for semi: Kusal, Dilshan/Tisara, Thiri, Mahela, Sanga, Mathiws, Chaturanga, Sekkuge, Sachithra, Rangana, Malinga. If Dilshan dorped thiri hould open and tisara should come in middle order. This is our best team.

  • STres on April 2, 2014, 2:05 GMT

    Here we go again, when little SL wins handsomely, many are the theories and comments. come on man, just say well done SL and get ion with it. Praise SL for displaying great team work, Praise SL for consultative leadership which in today's world is a winner. But for the sake of good sportsmanship never talk of Dew factor / Chemicals used etc - These are common to both teams, surely the dew factor was not corrected only in the second innings - Grow up and be sportsmen - admit to superiority however small SL is -= Think of David and Goliath. Cheers and all the best to all 4 teams - if we loose then let the better team win.

    But you will never catch a true Sri Lankan making excuses after the match.

  • Charos on April 2, 2014, 1:55 GMT

    This is funny. We - SL fans, SL cricket board, SL team - including Anji, Chandi or Malinga, none of us complain about the captain on the paper against who sets up the field. Everyone else (inclding the one wrote this stuff, who does not even have a name) bothers. The simple reason is, as far as the team is united and deliver, we do not bother, but the rest does.

  • Tinybaba on April 2, 2014, 0:27 GMT

    All,

    Why you all find silly excuses like groundsman has done something to keep dew effect to the minimum ? You all know Kiwies are no match to SL team when they play to their full potential , be it batting or bowling. In this instance , SL didnt bat well but they bowled superbly. Even if India were batting at that night , they wont make it to the required 120 to win.

    So dont find silly and stupid excuses for losing the match.

  • SLC-2020 on April 1, 2014, 19:52 GMT

    SL had to fight many battles apart from cricket to secure a place in SF, being the only subcontinental team in Chittagong group. Pace & bouncy conditions helped NZ, SA, Eng particularly in the evening, when dew helped the ball zip on & the spinners became virtually ineffective due to the wet ball . Therefore, SL did not have the luxury the other 3 subcontinent sides enjoyed playing in Mirpur! 1) SL had 3/4 of their outings scheduled in the late evening slot (battling to grip the ball & failing to defend 190 Vs Eng in that "Humid-Sauna" dome was a prime example). 2) Double standard inconsistent umpiring consistently battered SL. FREQUENCY of CUTTING SHORT SL BATTING & LETTING OFF FELLING OPPONENTS was clearly beyond the PROBABILITY of MARGINAL ERRORS! IGNORED wides & above waist/head NB etc. added to the tally. In any format, this is major battle to face apart from cricket. This is Why the DRS is so vital to any NON INFLUENTIAL team like SL & to the FUTURE EXISTENCE of GENUINE SPORT!

  • SL_Boy on April 1, 2014, 19:44 GMT

    that is Lankan style ... no body cares who is the caption everyone want to contribute to the team ... good luck guys.

  • on April 1, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    Everyone except SLC, the Sri Lankan players and SL fans have got a problem with who the captain in the team is. No matter who the captain is, Mahela and Sanga (the dynamic duo ;) ) ALWAYS assist the young captains, Mathews and Chandimal. When Mathews (for ODIs and Tests) and Chandimal (T20s) are in the side, Mahela and Sanga only help out but the final decision is made by Mathews/Chandimal, according to the format. However, Mahela captained yesterday and Malinga was captain just for the toss, and it showed.

    The good thing about the Sri Lankan team is, no one fights for the captaincy (Sanga, Mahela and Dilshan all stepped down from captaincy, in fact) and they are happy to play under anyone and everyone contributes ---- they play as a TEAM. We see other teams' players arguing and shouting at each other on the field but that is nowhere to be seen when Sri Lanka is on the field. #RESPECT

    WI is a really good T20 side and the semi will be a tough one but we can do this! Good luck, Lions!

  • Kotuwegogoda on April 1, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    Like many have commented it matters none but result. In that context a dummy captain stand in for procedure sake only. The team work bring results and learning curve to stand in captain.

    Srilankan's should not let complacency get the better of them but work hard with least amount of mistakes. That will ensure victory. Make no mistake West Indies are peaking at the right time and a tougher opponent than Pakistan.

  • sanjey on April 1, 2014, 17:55 GMT

    Captains are needed for teams that cant listen to the senior players!!! SL players respect Mahela and Sanga - captain or not!!!

  • on April 1, 2014, 17:26 GMT

    because sri lankan different from them

  • CUPULW on April 1, 2014, 16:58 GMT

    Don't forget the instance, when Mathews took over the captaincy for one game BECAUSE both Mahela and Kumar were one match away from a ban due to poor overrate. It created an issue with ICC if i remember correct :)

  • on April 1, 2014, 15:57 GMT

    i think it was a team efforts and there is no harm to use such useful and experience captain like Jayawardwena or Sangakara. they are build up to deal any situation at field, so whether the toss captain was malinga and on field captain was Jayawardwene. for a team the only thing should matter is win and Sri Lanka is in semi final, this is a great achievement. hoping to see the team to win world cup this time.

  • nickexplore on April 1, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    Sri Lanka is lucky to have so much experience and cricket nous on the field and, even though Dinesh Chandimal has proved a very good T20 captain, his leadership was not missed against New Zealand. The brains trust of Mahela, Sanga, Mathews and Malinga were well in control, and Chandimal may now not be recalled. For under-performing batsmen Dilshan and Sangakkara, and Thirimanne (if selected), the semi-final and hopefully final their chances for a telling contribution at a high strike-rate. The SL bowling is in very capable hands and Herath's addition will certainly unsettle the WI or Pakistan batters.

  • on April 1, 2014, 14:17 GMT

    its funny when people point about captains or whatever . what matters is the results. Making Chandimal as the captain was a surprise but let him grow so he will call the shots on time.

  • la.bestia on April 1, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    @Stanley Mayadunne. Totally agreed with you man . That is why they have become such a gentleman of the sport.

  • on April 1, 2014, 13:11 GMT

    Captaincy is not a issue in the Sri Lankan Team. They are ready to play under any captain, that's why Sanga and Jayawardwena play underr captains like Matthews and Chandimal who very much junior to them. In short, Sri Lanka is a united team and they prefer to fight together than shine alone. Stabnley Mayadunne, Riyadh

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  • on April 1, 2014, 13:11 GMT

    Captaincy is not a issue in the Sri Lankan Team. They are ready to play under any captain, that's why Sanga and Jayawardwena play underr captains like Matthews and Chandimal who very much junior to them. In short, Sri Lanka is a united team and they prefer to fight together than shine alone. Stabnley Mayadunne, Riyadh

  • la.bestia on April 1, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    @Stanley Mayadunne. Totally agreed with you man . That is why they have become such a gentleman of the sport.

  • on April 1, 2014, 14:17 GMT

    its funny when people point about captains or whatever . what matters is the results. Making Chandimal as the captain was a surprise but let him grow so he will call the shots on time.

  • nickexplore on April 1, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    Sri Lanka is lucky to have so much experience and cricket nous on the field and, even though Dinesh Chandimal has proved a very good T20 captain, his leadership was not missed against New Zealand. The brains trust of Mahela, Sanga, Mathews and Malinga were well in control, and Chandimal may now not be recalled. For under-performing batsmen Dilshan and Sangakkara, and Thirimanne (if selected), the semi-final and hopefully final their chances for a telling contribution at a high strike-rate. The SL bowling is in very capable hands and Herath's addition will certainly unsettle the WI or Pakistan batters.

  • on April 1, 2014, 15:57 GMT

    i think it was a team efforts and there is no harm to use such useful and experience captain like Jayawardwena or Sangakara. they are build up to deal any situation at field, so whether the toss captain was malinga and on field captain was Jayawardwene. for a team the only thing should matter is win and Sri Lanka is in semi final, this is a great achievement. hoping to see the team to win world cup this time.

  • CUPULW on April 1, 2014, 16:58 GMT

    Don't forget the instance, when Mathews took over the captaincy for one game BECAUSE both Mahela and Kumar were one match away from a ban due to poor overrate. It created an issue with ICC if i remember correct :)

  • on April 1, 2014, 17:26 GMT

    because sri lankan different from them

  • sanjey on April 1, 2014, 17:55 GMT

    Captains are needed for teams that cant listen to the senior players!!! SL players respect Mahela and Sanga - captain or not!!!

  • Kotuwegogoda on April 1, 2014, 18:03 GMT

    Like many have commented it matters none but result. In that context a dummy captain stand in for procedure sake only. The team work bring results and learning curve to stand in captain.

    Srilankan's should not let complacency get the better of them but work hard with least amount of mistakes. That will ensure victory. Make no mistake West Indies are peaking at the right time and a tougher opponent than Pakistan.

  • on April 1, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    Everyone except SLC, the Sri Lankan players and SL fans have got a problem with who the captain in the team is. No matter who the captain is, Mahela and Sanga (the dynamic duo ;) ) ALWAYS assist the young captains, Mathews and Chandimal. When Mathews (for ODIs and Tests) and Chandimal (T20s) are in the side, Mahela and Sanga only help out but the final decision is made by Mathews/Chandimal, according to the format. However, Mahela captained yesterday and Malinga was captain just for the toss, and it showed.

    The good thing about the Sri Lankan team is, no one fights for the captaincy (Sanga, Mahela and Dilshan all stepped down from captaincy, in fact) and they are happy to play under anyone and everyone contributes ---- they play as a TEAM. We see other teams' players arguing and shouting at each other on the field but that is nowhere to be seen when Sri Lanka is on the field. #RESPECT

    WI is a really good T20 side and the semi will be a tough one but we can do this! Good luck, Lions!