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

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.