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'Persisting with Jayasuriya did not help'

Sanjay Manjrekar analyses Sri Lanka's defeat against England team in the semi-final (05:13)

May 13, 2010

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England v Sri Lanka, World T20, 1st semi-final, St Lucia

'Persisting with Jayasuriya did not help'

May 13, 2010

An exuberant  Ryan Sidebottom gave England a strong start with a wicket from his first ball, England v Sri Lanka, World Twenty20, 1st Semi-Final, Gros Islet, May 13, 2010
"Now, you are seeing some street smartness in the way they (England) are playing, especially their bowling © Getty Images

Andrew McGlashan: Hello and welcome to Cricinfo Talk, and this afternoon I am joined by Sanjay Manjrekar to look back on a convincing victory for England in the first semi-final of the World Twenty20 here in St Lucia. Sanjay, that was a mighty performance by England, what did you make of it?

Sanjay Manjrekar: Well, tremendous. England has been in great form, and they continued that form in a very important game. It's okay to show good form in the league stage and the Super Eights where you get another chance, but then some teams come under too much pressure when it is a knockout situation and when you know there is so much to achieve by just winning a game. You thought perhaps that might affect England's performance but that wasn't to be. I don't think England has looked so impressive in an ICC tournament for a long time. It's an impressive looking team, and at this stage you are struggling to find a weakness in that team.

AM: What do you think you can put that back to? Even six months back they weren't half as competitive as they are now. Have you spotted one or two changes in the team that has made them this ultra-competitive Twenty20 side?

SM: One thing that really strikes you, I haven't watched each and every game that England has played back home, is that they are playing smart cricket compared to the England I saw few months ago in an ICC tournament. England have always been more orthodox, they played copy book coaching manual type of cricket, but now you are seeing some street smartness in the way they are playing, especially their bowling. There was a lot of smartness in their bowling, short of length bowling at a slow pace, bowlers who can bowl in the 140s but were bowling at 120s.

They also understood the weaknesses of the opposition. So today, I think, the most impressive facet of England's bowling was how smart they bowled at the Asian batsmen.

AM: A word on Sri Lanka, they've had a difficult tour, they never quite hit their stride as they did in England last year. Today they were well off the pace; can you pick one reason why they have been down on form in this tournament?

SM: They have been below power, and I think they were fortunate to get through to the final four. It's something that Sangakkara will be the first one to accept. Few reasons, the obvious one being Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya, batting at the top and failing. At the end of the tournament, Sri Lanka will feel that persisting with Sanath Jayasuriya at the top wasn't helping matters. Even today, in an important match Jayasuriya fell early. Whether it should have been Sangakkara up there opening the batting with Mahela Jayawardene. The batting has been a problem; Jayawardene was carrying the bulk of the batting until the last two games. When he failed, it was really Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews who came to the party. They needed Dilshan and Jayasuriya to strike.

Their seam attacked lacked a bit of sting. Lasith Malinga was good, but there is a heavy dependence on him. The spinners did as well as they could. But if I have to pick out one thing, they it would be their batting. Out of the five or six batsmen that they have, at one stage they would have only one or two firing.

AM: Do you think we are coming to a bit of change of an era now for Sri Lanka? Jayasuriya surely can't go much longer, Murali has been injured in this tournament, and you don't know how he is set for the World Cup, probably his final hurrah. Do you think there will be a change of guard for Sri Lankan cricket?

SM: That's likely to happen, and it's generally around the ICC tournament that all this happens. I think there will be a bit of change in Indian line-up as well. So I don't think you should be too surprised if you see some things happening there in Sri Lanka. But Sri Lanka has got the depth, they have got some exciting young players coming through. And once they know for sure that they are going to be part of that XI, then their self confidence rises.

[Chamara] Kapugedera looks good. I thought [Suraj] Randiv bowled excellently, so Murali's place will be taken by him. Ajantha Mendis on good pitches is starting to worry Sri Lanka a bit, is he only a bad pitch bowler? They will be hoping that Mendis comes up with more performances. But Sri Lanka have nothing to worry about. I think they still have a wealth of talent and a couple of guys who are there to guide Sri Lanka for a while in Jayawardene and Sangakkara.

AM: We don't know the second finalist, could be Australia, could be Pakistan. But do you think England stand a good chance irrespective of who they play?

SM: I am just hoping that it's England and Australia, for the simple reason that they have been the most consistent teams. You want to see that, you don't want to see a team not playing so well but just turning up a good performance on a given day, maybe just playing well in 3-4 overs and getting through to the final.

England have won five of their last six matches, five (sic. four) on the trot. Australia haven't lost anything. So these are the teams who deserve to get through. Pakistan have been scratchy, and to an extent lucky getting into the semi-final.

As a cricket lover, I would like to see England and Australia in the final, because they've been the best two teams so far.

AM: Thanks for joining us Sanjay. We will look forward to the second semi-final tomorrow.

Posted by Ellis on (May 15, 2010, 11:12 GMT)

Sanjay Manjrekar is on the money in saying that the two best teams in the tournament are in the final. Pakistan played well in the semi but lost out to a better team with a stronger will to win. Long past the time for Indian and Pakistani supporters to assess their teams on the basis of cricket skills rather than political, cultural and religious ones. Pakistani players in interviews, and supporters in comments, unnecessarily interject religion into the situation. Time to give that aspect a rest.

The Sri Lankan team has problems that go beyond the cricket field. Selection issues and mental toughness are the primary inhibitors to consistently good performance.On the evidence of this tournament, Jayasuriya needs to quit. Mendis has lost his mystery and is an atrocious fielder at any level of the game. Malinga lacks fast bowling support.The fielding is not consistently good. No doubt Sanga's head will be called for by certain quarters.T'was ever thus!

Posted by Dubby49 on (May 15, 2010, 9:20 GMT)

For all the disappointed Pakistani Cricket Fans.

The semi-final between Pakistan and Australia was perhaps the best T20 match ever so far. Only one team can win and in the final analysis Australia were the better team (they won didn't they) on the day. Australia have also been the best side on display throughout the tournament so far and, until this semi final, no time has run them close.

To criticise Sanjay Manjrekar of bias against Pakistan for expressing an honest opinion on whom he thought the best team was is unfair. If Pakistan had coasted to an easy victory, then there may have been some justification in saying that Manjrekar had made a serious error of judgement. Fact remains that he was right.

I expect Australia with their battery of fast bowlers to win easily on the bouncy Barbados pitch. I hope, however, that the United Nations (aka England) give half as much a fight as Pakistan did in the semi.

Posted by Dubby49 on (May 15, 2010, 9:09 GMT)

@Sami Ullah Baig

Stop whining.

The commentators are paid by the TV companies.TV companies choose their commentators based on which countries generate their revenues. The ICC has no role to play in their appointment.

Haven't heard you comment that Pakistan has two ICC Umpires - Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf - while India has none. No bias here. It's just that no Indian Umpire is good enough. Haven't heard anyone moaning about this though.

The same applies to commentators. Ramiz Raja is good, but the only other Pakistani I have heard recently - Aamer Sohail - is terrible. Incidentally, Wasim Akram is the co host of the pre/post match analysis programme - Cricket Crazy - being telecast by ESPNStar in India.

Posted by sidsway14 on (May 15, 2010, 8:57 GMT)

to be very frank sanjay manjrekar is a very frank and non biased commentator. india did not deserve the spot in the final so does pakistan. and i rate sanjay way abt sub standard commentators like ravi shastri, sunil gavaskar or ramiz raja. and england and australia are the two best teams in the tournament. after all pakistan was beaten by these two teams fair and square 3times in total and its just luck that they are in semi-final. actually england is the reason why they are in the semi-final. no point in qualifying like that. Personally i have seen the best competition between england and australia in recent times. and in this tournament. they should have played the finals. hoping to watch a spectacular match...

Posted by Indunil76Shantha on (May 15, 2010, 8:29 GMT)

The final is set as everyone wish. it's England vs Australia. my thoughts r with England. it's not just 'coz we lost to them and i want them to win ,so we can say we lost to the best team. but surely the deserve this tournament. i thought australia was lucky against pakistan and god want the right thing to be happen. let's cheers to KP to do some handsome batting and celebrate the kid with a trophy. smile sri lankans. i am sure things will be in right places too soon. after all it's the gentlemen's game and every one plays to win. but we can have only one winner. all the respect to Mr. Jayasuriya and hope and pray he can understand what he should do now. sorry, sanaga. nice try. but too little there were to offer. come on England, bring it on ,,,,u can do it !!!!!!!!!!1

Posted by DavidWarner on (May 14, 2010, 21:55 GMT)

J_Sajjad.. You gotta be kidding me. Pakistan the 2nd best team in the tournament? Let me see, you lost to Aus, to England and you LOST TO NZ, for god's sake. You managed to get into semis because you beat the chokers (Who everybody and their grandmother beat, by the way) and Eng beat NZ. How does that make you one of the two best? Ha ha... your team is going to take a while to get back from the shellacking at the hands of Mr. Hussey. This is take 2, remember the wallop he and Peter Siddle gave you guys at Sydnet? I wouldn't talk too much, mate, when you have lost 12 games in a row to the same team in the course of 6 months.. I am totally with Mr. Manjrekar here.. Pak and SL should never have been in the semis. It should have been India and .. and.... maybe Bangladesh? Ha ha.. good luck with the psychiatrist to get over the trauma, mate. Better luck next tournament. maybe you will improve and maybe win atleast one match.. Ha ha ha..

Posted by J_Sajjad on (May 14, 2010, 20:12 GMT)

Just watched the Pak-Aussie semi-final... I can bet the final won't be as good! So much for Sanjay's analysis.

I don't diss the Indians or their team for their performance. Moreover, I would expect an experienced ex-test cricketer to appreciate any opposition, no matter how "mercurial" it is. By disclosing his clear bias SM only discredited himself and lost out on the little respect I had for him.

I wouldn't say I want to see an England-Australia Final... I would say I just want to see the two best teams in the Final... and guess what? I just saw them in the Semi-Final!

Posted by Z.Saleem on (May 14, 2010, 15:54 GMT)

I agree with Khan here.......Sanjay is just jealous coz India didn't made it through to the Semi-finals......if any team plays well on a day....then they deserve to win.....its not English Premier league where the consitent team wins the Cup.

Bottom-line SM keep your biased thoughts to yourself...and get a life!

Posted by cricktah on (May 14, 2010, 14:03 GMT)

khan_baba, if SM can be faulted for anything, it is not for being dishonest in his assessments. If anything, he is very undiplomatic and does not hesitate in criticizing Indian players especially Sachin (which takes some guts).

SM says that he would prefer to watch Aus and Eng in the final because they have been the most consistent two teams in the tournament. Eng and Aus are the table toppers in groups E and F - they have won the most matches. Personally, I would like to watch an Eng vs Aus final also because they have a traditional rivalry like India vs Pak, or WI vs SA.

One cannot really conjecture what SM would have said if India and not Pak was in the semis. But its weird that you should read every article ONLY through Pak's perspective. If you like articles that are Pak centric, then you should read articles written only by Pak journalists and skip the rest.

Posted by KAZ89 on (May 14, 2010, 13:41 GMT)

agree with khan_baba.these indians are so cheap.luck plays a part in everything.but pakistan lost a close game against NZ.and they won against the end of the day PAK was 2nd in the table so they are now in semi finals. if Sanjay is true cricket lover he should talk about the bunch of indian players who has nothing but hype.

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