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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rock 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.

  • Hemantha 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!

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Koteswara Rao on April 2, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    Chandimal - he is the right person for the job

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Asitha 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.

  • criclol 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.


  • Dummy4 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

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

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