South Africa v Sri Lanka, 4th ODI, Kimberley

Jayawardene defends Dilshan and Marsh

Firdose Moonda

January 19, 2012

Comments: 41 | Text size: A | A

Geoff Marsh and Tillakaratne Dilshan have a chat, Dubai, November 13, 2011
Mahela Jayawardene: "A captain is as good as his team. I don't think we should be pointing fingers at anybody right now." © AFP
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The winds of change blew over Colombo on Thursday with the appointment of a new selection committee for Sri Lankan cricket, but in hot, dry, still Kimberley, nothing had moved. Sri Lanka remained under pressure after a fourth consecutive series defeat. They trained as hard as they have all tour and they continued to search for answers for success.

"Since Paarl, we have made progress. We were in shambles in that game," Mahela Jayawardene admitted. "We have improved in areas but we haven't been consistent in all areas. The win in [the second Test] Durban is something we will cherish but now we've got two games to try and get things right. The guys are keen to show what we are capable of. We want to try and make sure we get things right."

Jayawardene will play no further part in the series after injuring his back but will watch carefully from the sidelines as Sri Lankan cricket enters yet another critical phase. Whatever the result of the next two matches, more movement is expected as a result of their poor showing in South Africa and the shift is said to be starting at the top.

Tillakaratne Dilshan faces the possibility of not having his captaincy lease renewed and Jayawardene is being talked of as the team's future leader, again. Jayawardene said he has not been spoken to about it yet but if offered the job will take time to consider it. Dilshan has been criticised from many fronts as his rash attitude with the bat appeared to translate into irresponsible leadership. Jayawardene, though, said he felt Dilshan had done an admirable job so far.

"Dilly is a good player, a good leader. A captain is as good as his team. I don't think we should be pointing fingers at anybody right now. He has tried everything," Jayawardene said. "As an individual, he will be disappointed with his performances, so will I and so will the rest of the boys who didn't do well."

To couple the captaincy movement, another change is also being touted: Geoff Marsh is also allegedly in the firing line. Since taking over as coach, after the home series against Australia, Marsh's successes have been few but Jayawardene said it is too early to judge the coach's influence.

"Geoff has been with us for two tours. The first tour he had to assess how the system works. On his tour, he tried to bring new things into the team," Jayawardene said. "As a coach, he has done what he could do. It's up to the players to gather what he is trying to bring into the side. It's tough to say how good a coach he is and how hard he has worked having only been three months with the team."

Graham Ford, who was initially interviewed for the Sri Lanka job six months ago, is being mentioned as a successor. Ford asked for immediate release from his franchise contract at the Dolphins - a domestic team in South Africa - on Tuesday to "follow my dreams of involvement at international level". Nothing is confirmed yet, but uncertainty can have its own pitfalls and Sri Lanka will want to avoid falling into one of them.

"We definitely need to pull something out," Jayawardene said. "We are very disappointed with the way we have played. We are not playing to our potential and we haven't performed. It's tough times but we can come back."

Like Dishan, he stressed that there is no need to take drastic action and repaint the portrait of the starting XI. It is more a case of filling in a few lines here and there and adding some colour where necessary. Fielding, for example, is a discipline that Sri Lanka can control but have let slip. "We have been sloppy in the field," Jayawardene said. "In the recent past it is an area where we were good and we pride ourselves on our fielding, but we have not been good in this series."

By stacking small progressions on top of each other, Jayawardene hopes Sri Lanka will end up with a more complete structure and something to take with them on the plane back home, even if it's only pride. "It's about the whole unit improving individually, only then, as a whole, we can improve."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (January 20, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

I am pakistani and i always favor SL and pray for their better performance because we two nations have got very friendly relations.I got too much pleased when they won test in SA and i prayed that they shud either win or draw third one though i was aware that it will push my team to 6th in ranking but still i prayed for it .One thing i don like and may be i get criticism is that not a single lankan brother is putting finger over mahela s worse performance .Its strange he is one of Game legend but when samaraveera played one bad tour he was dropped and mahela has not performed in two long tours plus his performance against aussies was inconsistent .Not only he is getting criticism but i am hearing that he can be offered test and 1 day captaincy.If my bro nation want to improve they shud blood new talent as we did and not follow the Indian course (i also like indian team after Pk and SL)who is now facing big challenge by not bloodin youth in team and old guns are misfiring consistently

Posted by   on (January 20, 2012, 9:50 GMT)

I would say the exact thing. If you know the rain was heading towards the ground then why would you give the bowl to an inexperienced bowler (Kosala Kulasekara) and go for 13 runs in the 31st over. That cost us the game. This is clearly stupidity from dilshan. Till now i have always defended the captain. But now i am done looking at dilshan as a captain. This madness has to come to an end.

Posted by   on (January 20, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

Yes i agree to Agnar.....Herath and Malinga missed lots of overs....K kulasekara and Prasad went for plenty....SL lost by 4runs only....few overs from Malinga and Herath would have won the game. I Still dont understand the selection of players....where is Jeewan mendis ? Maharoof ? Kapugedara ? etc.......in all 3 ODI's K Kulasekara was just a spectator in the team....bowls few overs for plenty runs and bats down at no 9 or 10.....

Posted by SirBobJones on (January 20, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

@espnchekmate You repeat yourself a lot champ. I feel sorry for Dilshan and can sympathise with him. Through no fault of his own he was plunged head-first into captaincy, despite not being a natural leader. Now his batting has suffered, as has his confidence. I hope he can find form again and perform the role he's best suited to for many more years to come, being a hard-hitting batsman, part-time offie and solid fieldsman.

Posted by DCDC on (January 20, 2012, 7:53 GMT)

Mahela if you are honest, support bringing back Samaraweera back to ODI squad to rotate big 4 ( Mahela,Sanga,Dilshan,Samarawwra ) allowing only three to play any given time. Keeping the most in-form three players in the park.

Trust me its not suicidal, but honest and brave you will be remembered for right reasons.

And support bringing tough coach like Graham Ford, taking SL Sri Lankan to next level. Most payers in their comfort zone.

Lets accept the truth, Mathews does not hold what it needed to survive in this level, enough batting capability and win matches. He is yet to develop fro T20.

Posted by shaan1010 on (January 20, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

This is reallly madness..Y SLC z gonna make changes in coach. ?..Marsh should b given anthr chance..Mahela z completly out of form..struggling 2 make runs recent past..So they shud thnk abt d future instead current situation..So d captionship shuld hand over 2 Sangakkara...If SLC may thnks sanga's speach in Eng instead of handover d captaincy, Tharanga / Mathews may gets a chance 4 ODI & Thilan 4 tests & Methews 4 T20s....As far as i concern, sanga okay for all format of d games....

Posted by Charindra on (January 20, 2012, 6:59 GMT)

@yorkslanka - Ford didn't turn down the job bro. His contract with Dolphins prevented him taking up the SL job. But now he has been released from that contract. But yes, I don't understand how Marsh is being fired after 2 tours!

Posted by rezmata on (January 20, 2012, 6:55 GMT)

Where is Chandika Hathurusinghe? He was such an influence in the team when he was assitant coach. We will soon loose him to another country where he'd do great!

Posted by   on (January 20, 2012, 6:28 GMT)

Mahela will be a good nominee for this moment.

Posted by   on (January 20, 2012, 5:54 GMT)

If SLC dare to interfere in this passion by axing a coach and a captain who saved their skins & dared to take up the challenge, when the others looked away, many will loose faith! If those 2 are looked at as the main culprits, many would fail to make sense out of what SLC has to say. If Dilshan's not worthy, because of the characteristics which many accuse him to posses, those were there from the very beginning. So, why did they appoint him, then. If Dilshan is not the one, why move back to Mahela, or rush towards Mathews, whose own contributions are in so much doubt (Although the talents are never to be doubted). How about Thilan (at least for Tests), & Malinga for T20s, while retaining Dilshan's captaincy or Tharanga for ODIs. How about grooming Mathews & Chandimal as VCs through different formats. But, all the while we mess with our own, at least give a fair trial for the international coach. But, next time get someone like Warne or Waugh who has first hand experience of the present

Posted by   on (January 20, 2012, 5:53 GMT)

My argument is we should not finger point only on Dishan. He is not a lucky captain because seniors are not supporting him at all. Cricket is a team game and rest of the team members has to support their captain at present I do not see and support to him. I can remember when Dishan is playing a ordinaly member he gave them fluent start that's why that is the one of reason they did well during their captancy. The other thing is Dilshan him self not doing good this movement. I am this will over come by our guys soon no sooner seniors playing as a team ...... Cheers .. Eranga

Posted by anver777 on (January 20, 2012, 5:10 GMT)

Mahela please captain the side & rebuild the team again........... SL badly need your leadership at this juncture !!!!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (January 20, 2012, 4:58 GMT)

Geoff Marsh is an ordinary coach.

Posted by   on (January 20, 2012, 4:57 GMT)

Its crazy to sack Marsh. He just started for goodness sake. He came in after the team was crushed by Australia. This was a team already on a downward slide. He was then shipped immediately to the Pakistan series. Not much he could have done there and there was really no time for him to make his mark on the South Africa tour either. He needs to bring the side back to SL and have time to put a strategy together and then have his first real start with the England tour. Forget the tri-series. That will be tough as well. Dilshan is a different story. I think getting Mahela back in for the England tour may not be a bad thing. It could settle things down a bit. But even for that it would be best to make the decision when they get home.

Posted by Darkmanx12155 on (January 20, 2012, 4:33 GMT)

Dilshan needs to go. give the captaincy to a younger guy n giv him the fullest support. like SA did for Smith when he came in...

Posted by   on (January 20, 2012, 3:42 GMT)

Geoff mash should give some time so we can who is the best coach for srilanka

Posted by   on (January 20, 2012, 3:11 GMT)

MJ gonna accept the captaincy just to protect his place in the side, we need to think abt future, and MJ isnt the future of our team,, Let Matthews to captain the side, win or loss doesn't matter , atleast for 1 year

Posted by Meety on (January 20, 2012, 2:28 GMT)

Dumping Marsh after 2 tours would be stupid IMO. He has a good record & should be given every opportunity to improve the teams results.

Posted by xylo on (January 20, 2012, 0:57 GMT)

Nothing against the coach, but in the current scheme of things, it looks like all Marsh-es in the cricket world need a bit of time to establish and prove themselves.

Posted by Deepfreezed on (January 19, 2012, 23:54 GMT)

just drop Dilshan till he finds form.Jayawardene is the best person to captain.

Posted by   on (January 19, 2012, 23:00 GMT)

Dilshan got a raw deal,Sangakkara abandoned the captaincy knowing really well what the future held for the Sri Lanka team,Without Murali it was and it will be a uphill task for Sri Lanka to acheive test series victories away or at home.

i wish Dilshan all the very best and hope he keeps playing his type of cricket which the whole world enjoys watching...............not very sure if Jayawardene is the right pick,if Sri Lanka is looking for the future of cricket,

Maybe Angelo Mathews would be a better options for the future,on along term basis.

Posted by   on (January 19, 2012, 21:56 GMT)

Oh nice. Sl is now going backwards. Mahela the new captain? What a joke? He may be a good captain but how could he hold on to his place as a batsman in the team for overseas tours like Soth Africa and Australia. Poor Marsh. He does not deserve this treatment. What about Aravinda as a selector? We should keep Marsh as all previous Australian coaches did well with Sri Lanka.Give Thilan the cataincy. Play it again Sam. As for Mahela farewell may be a lonely sound.

Posted by spas on (January 19, 2012, 20:55 GMT)

Sri lanka is a great place for first class level coaches to get a chance in international level. and then they will leave....

Posted by Agnar on (January 19, 2012, 20:29 GMT)

In 3rd ODI, knowing that it was going to rain, why didn't Dilshan gave more overs to Malinga and Herath? There are two other proven captains in the team. Have they being consulted by Dilshan? Are they helping the new captain to make the right decisions in the field? Can Mahela answer these questions when he writes his next article, please? I can understand loosing games and series. After all this is just agame. But obviously capable players loosing big consistenlly is depressing. Come on guys, find what is wrong and fix it.

Posted by Harding119 on (January 19, 2012, 19:28 GMT)

Some relief here. Good to see changes taking place better late than never. Marsh has been in the job for just two series. He has inherited a mess. It is the captaincy that is the main issue. Dilshan, has much of a one-day mind set and that is where he should have been. The make shift has not worked and the selectors should have picked up the bad signals much sooner if they were efficient that is. De Mel or Arjuna Ranatunga was my choice. Seeing that De Mel is not in to politics and a has a proven past, is the best choice under the circumstances. I hope he is able to bring the discipline and the zeal back in. I hope there is some restriction on the involvement of the players in the iPL. It is a case of what is more important the IPL or Test crcket. We know what has happened up until now with the IPL issue. This has to be addressed but will they be able to with the commitment that SLC has with the BCCI? I doubt it. We know who wags the tail, it sure is not SLC.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (January 19, 2012, 19:22 GMT)

Only a Christmas miracle can save Sri Lanka now ;) come on cricinfo, please post that again, it'll help the Lankans a lot

Posted by espnchekmate on (January 19, 2012, 19:20 GMT)

Sources said that present chief selector Duleep Mendis will be appointed as the national team manager, a position the former Sri Lanka captain held with distinction when Sri Lanka won the world cup in 1996 Mendis will replace the present manager Anura Tennekoon, himself a highly respected former All Ceylon captain. Sources also said that the present entourage of so many different coaches would also be removed while only the present batting coach Marvan Atapattu will be retained probably in the capacity of Assistant Coach to tour with the national team. Sri Lanka team's Masseur Lal Thamel would also be replaced by the Sri Lanka 'A' team masseur W.R. Priyadarshana and sources said that the role of national team masseur will be rotated among all the qualified masseurs employed by SLC

Posted by espnchekmate on (January 19, 2012, 19:19 GMT)

The most shocking change however will be the appointment of Ford and removal of Marsh before his contracted term expires. Sources said that Marsh will be removed due to his failure to produce results as he is still under probation though his contract is scheduled to run for some more time Ford has quit as head coach of South African leading domestic side Dolphins with immediate effect, the Durban franchise confirmed on Tuesday.

Posted by espnchekmate on (January 19, 2012, 19:18 GMT)

Skipper Tillekaratne will be replaced by Jayawardene, national coach Geoff Marsh will be replaced by former South African national coach Graham Ford and the national selectors headed by Duleep Mendis will be replaced by a new set of national selectors headed by de Mel. Skipper Dilshan will be replaced by Mahela Jayawardene, national coach Geoff Marsh will be replaced by former South African national coach Graham Ford and the national selectors headed by Duleep Mendis will be replaced by a new set of national selectors headed by de Mel. Sources said that the new selection committee will be a four member team. The others in the committee will be Hemantha Wickramaratne, Kapila Wijegunawardena and Amal Silva.However Don arunasiri last man.present chief selector Duleep Mendis will be appointed as the national team manager.many different coaches would also be removed while only the present batting coach

Posted by espnchekmate on (January 19, 2012, 19:03 GMT)

Captain, national coach and national selectors all will be sacked as Sri Lanka cricket team will be completely overhauled before the coming tour to Australia later this month, sources told "Daily Mirror" yesterday.

Skipper Tillekaratne Dilshan will be replaced by Mahela Jayawardene, national coach Geoff Marsh will be replaced by former South African national coach Graham Ford and the national selectors headed by Duleep Mendis will be replaced by a new set of national selectors headed by Asantha de Mel.

New national selectors were to be appointed last night in order to pick the new Sri Lanka team for the tour of Australia for the Commonwealth Bank series Tri-nation ODI tournament which also involves India.

Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said that the names of the new selectors would be announced today and confirmed that it would be the new selectors who would pick the team for the Australia tour.

They would pick the new team today as their first duty.

Posted by   on (January 19, 2012, 19:00 GMT)

Ashantha De Mel- chairman of selectors,confirmed. probably the news on island cricket said Dilshan will be replaced by Mahela for the Aussie tour and Geoff Marsh will also be in the firing line and be replaced by Graham Ford.Duleep mendis 2 be made team manager,axe all da coaches except marvan,axe 4 da masseur & A team 1 will take over,Chandika Hathurusinghe 2 become future assistant coach. AN IMMEDIATE MEETING TOOK PLACE @ SLC N DA STORY WAS CAPTAIN ,COACH AND SELECTORS AXED. HOPE ALLS WELL ENDS WELL. ARAVINDA DE SILVA WOULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER CHOICE THAN ASHANTHA DE MEL,AS DE MEL WAS CHAIRMAN OF SELECTORS FOR ABOUT 10 YEARS,SO A DIFFERENCE OR CHANGE WOULD HAVE BEEN FINE, AND ALSO MR DE MEL HAD SOME ISSUES AS WELL,HE HAD SOME CORRUPTION CHARGES AND PLAYERS LIKE UPUL CHANDANA WERE COMPLAINING ABOUT FAVORING CERTAIN PLAYERS, SOME DECISIONS MR DE MEL ARE SPOT ON LIKE DROPPING DILSHAN AND BRINGING HIM BACK FOR THAT 3RD GALLE TEST AGAINST ENGLAND WHEN PERFORMED WELL @ PROVINCIAL LEVEL

Posted by trampokool7 on (January 19, 2012, 18:54 GMT)

Why is jawardene for captaincy contender ship????? he is the player who is struggling to keep his position on to the starting 11. giving him a captaincy just going to ruin things one more time. its better to make some new face as sirlankan captain. telling this i really feel sorry for dilshan.....he is a great player but no doubt he is worse with leading from front. its good for him that he fully concentrate on being a destructive player. as we all like to see him.

Posted by yorkslanka on (January 19, 2012, 18:46 GMT)

Think that marsh should be given more time..don't understand why we are chasing ford if he previously turned us down..we shouldn't appoint anyone who doesn't want the post as their heart won't be in it...

Posted by   on (January 19, 2012, 18:44 GMT)

I cannot figure what Mahela as so called spokesman has to say. His performance in this tour is pathetic and he has nothing to show in all three last overseas tours. Mahela please be reminded that on the only success of the tour, which was Durban test win both you and Dilshan virtually did nothing but came out talking big after the match. The only match was won on the performances of Thilan, Hearth, Sanga, Chandimal and Welagedara in the first innings. When you have two non performers at the top order how can you expect a team to win matches. Regardless of what you have done in the past in order to remain in the team you need to perform. Thilan was dropped for one or two failures but both you and Dilshan are having an extended fun run failing miserably. Think very honestly, you have no claim for captaincy in your present form. You could become another liability like Dilshan. When you were captaining you used to lead from the front. But it is a totally different story now.

Posted by KingOwl on (January 19, 2012, 18:09 GMT)

Naveed Khan: SL has had good Aussie coaches. In fact, given the local politics, SL needs a foreign coach. No doubt about that. I think any coach needs more time to prove himself. But if Marsh is being sacked, there must be some major differences of opinion (or may be it is just local politics, in which case, it would be bad). The team should know that fans support them as long as they are putting 100%. There have been some doubts as to whether 100% commitment is there. It is up to the team to prove otherwise. Good luck SL!

Posted by   on (January 19, 2012, 18:03 GMT)

@ Naveed - we have done our Best with foreign coaches.. We really don't need Kapil Dev or Waqar.. Although after 2015, coach should be Hathurusinghe.. When he was the "A" team coach, national team got new talent.. He has the potential to be a great International coach..

Posted by Fitzy16 on (January 19, 2012, 18:00 GMT)

Standard SL/subcontinent knee jerk reaction to a bad tour, yes dilshans in the firing line, and has been shocking as a skipper, but Geoff marsh has been in the job for almost to months and is going to be sacked? whats the bloke supposed to do to a team thats in bad form in to months?

Posted by Philip_Gnana on (January 19, 2012, 17:55 GMT)

You cannot fool all the people all the time. We had an administration that was embroiled in battles not relating to cricket. Political intervention some pro cricket and some anti SL cricket. The IPL has had a lot to do with the way the players have been performing. You just need to look at India and Sri Lanka. These two teams were the most represented in the IPL. Pakistan, wow you do not need to look any further. The absence of the IPL and even without a full time coach, how well they have performed. Marsh has just walked in to a sinking pit. There were so many stories about the World Cup. You wonder why on earth he took up this position in the first place. Give him some time. The Aussies are the Aussies for a reason. The have a pedigree behind them. Mahela is the best that we can think off at the moment until Mathews is able to take over (if he is allowed that is Politics once again). Mahela has had his own bad spells but is a safe pair of hands. Philip Gnana, Surrey

Posted by   on (January 19, 2012, 17:33 GMT)

hope somthing gud happens 2 THE END...

Posted by Sinhaya on (January 19, 2012, 17:15 GMT)

Well, need to give Geoff Marsh some more time. Axing Dilshan is a great idea!

Posted by   on (January 19, 2012, 17:10 GMT)

Geoff Marsh is a bad choice for SL coaching Assignment. I am of the opinion that Sub-Continent Teams should have Sub-Continent Coaches. SL should try either Waqar Younis or Kapil Dev as their Coach. They will gain immense cricket knowledge, Western Coaches are just good administrators. They are not inspirational leaders. SL team needs coach with understanding and passion for Cricket.

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