Sri Lanka v India, only T20, Pallekele August 6, 2012

Sri Lanka ponder the Kapugedera conundrum


Sri Lanka cannot seem to make up their mind about Chamara Kapugedera. His 92 ODIs have been spread over six and a half years for a disappointing average of 22.04. He has batted all the way from No. 2 to No. 9. He has gone out of the squad many times, and has made his way back again. Mahela Jayawardene spoke for almost ten minutes on Kapugedera on Monday, but the debate still remained open.

Jayawardene conceded Kapugedera had not made the most of his chances, but felt that the opportunities had not been consistent. He said Kapugedera was committed and focused during practice, but admitted he struggled to handle the pressure in a game. Jayawardene hinted that time could run out for Kapugedera eventually, but asked for some more patience given that he was still only 25.

"It is frustrating," Jayawardene said of Kapugedera's struggles. "If you see the way he bats at nets, and the way Isuru Udana bowls at nets, it's totally different, and we give them an opportunity. I don't know whether it's the occasion, whether they can't handle pressure, [but] it does not come good for them. If they cannot handle the pressure then we have to move on and give that opportunity to someone else.

"But what we see at the nets, the commitment and the attitude we feel that there is something that could spark these guys. We have had players like Marvan [Atapattu] who didn't have a great start, but people gave him opportunities and he reacted to that. Obviously if they are not performing and others come and grab hold of their chances then they will get more opportunity than guys like Chamara."

Jayawardene said Kapugedera was not being able to carry his focus in the nets to the middle and said that was something for coaches to work on. "He is still young and if he can turn a corner it'd be good. In the last World Twenty20 he was awesome for us in the Caribbean batting at No. 6 [Kapugedera made 95 runs in six games at a strike-rate of 121.79]. The talent is there, but the execution is not there and we have to identify how we can trigger that. We have to be patient. If he is struggling [then] giving him a break, obviously see if there are any other players, but if he is good we have to try him."

Jayawardene said Sri Lanka had limited resources and were looking to give chances to young players. "If you see a player like Nuwan Pradeep wasn't bowling well six months ago, but we kept him in the squad and today he is doing well.

"We try to do justice to all players. We can't throw out simply because players fail in few games. They are all young players and we need to be patient."

Jayawardene said it was the selectors' call on whether or not to persist with Kapugedera but added that opportunities had to be capitalised on. "He has not made most of the opportunities, but the opportunities have been far and few. Not consistent. But obviously if someone is fighting for a spot, whatever the opportunity you have to grab it. It's tough, it's under pressure, it's not easy, but we will see how it goes."

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Prashan on August 8, 2012, 14:11 GMT

    @Harsh Joshi, ok thanks for telling me. I know Marathi is the language of Maharasthra. Yes Kapugedara blasted a six in 2006 VB series in Australia but after that he failed too much. It is a real joke! Cant compare Kapugedara with Yusuf Pathan at all.

  • Asela on August 7, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    He's justifying Kapugedara's inclusion again!!! This is pathetic. Analogy between Marvan and this man is not practical. Marvan played in an era where the competition was less. But now, there're so many talented cricketers waiting to get in to the team. It will be a great injustice to those young players who are doing well in the domestic league. Just because he bats well in the nets, it is unfair to say he's the right man when you know that he's not man enough to handle the pressure. Why India got into the top of the world is because they filled every spot with match winners. A player as good as Harbhajan can't find the place in this Indian team and that makes perfect sense. Sadly in our team there are only 5-6 match winners. I didn't know that to get into the SL team you need be a favorite of Mahela / Sanga. Happens only in Sri Lanka !!!!

  • ranu on August 7, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    Sanga is backing up Kapu and Mahela is covering Kapu for the friendship with Sanga.

  • nipun on August 7, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    there are many others in da line who should get da chance . "but felt that the opportunities had not been consistent." it is because he was selected by asanth de mel only! when he is inchrage kapu has a guranteed place.

  • Nilanka on August 7, 2012, 12:27 GMT

    When I saw the flowing shots in Kapugedara's debut series in Australia, we all thought he's the future much same as we're looking at Chandimal and Thirimanne now. His batting average is in the 20s, but Mahela is dead right in saying chances Kapugedara's had are not consistent.. This says the 92 one dayers he had are spread over 6 years. You can't expect the guy to perform by including him in a match once in a blue moon at number 6 giving last few overs to play. Those who urge to try new guys a chance will say the same things they say about Kapu for them later.

  • Deleepa on August 7, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    This is why Sri Lanka is not top of the world. You have to be ruthless and selfish when it comes to chances. Do you think Aussie or South Africa would have given a player 92 chances to come good? No! It's not how you bat in nets or the talent you possess, it's about performance in the middle! I hope Sri Lankans will some day realise how rubbish Kapugedara is and what a waste of place that someone could have utilise the opportunity. Of course SL will never learn!! Good luck Mahela.

  • lasitha on August 7, 2012, 12:10 GMT

    why not play him as an opener, dilshan is 35+ and not in the same class as thilan, sanga,mahela

  • Dummy4 on August 7, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    There's no conundrum. just drop him please

  • Chatty on August 7, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    Mahela has basically said the same thing I commented yesterday on the other page! The problem is that he has not done well even in A matches, where he does get consistent places. Unless he makes big runs in A matches, he should not get a position. Now, the question is of course are there other options? Yes, there are. They may not have as much talent, but may have the right temperament. Look at Thisara Perera - he is not exceptionally talented. Good all rounder, but kicks 'above his weight', consistently.

  • Supun on August 7, 2012, 11:36 GMT

    Earllier I thought Kapugedara would be our next Jayasuriya.. Even Jayasuriya hasnot got good record until 1993 when he was promoted as the Opener. He has got 19 odd runs per inning as a middle order batsmen. Kapu too has got 22 odd per inning. However He has not shown any promising display against swinging bowlers like Zaheer. Its time to say good bye to Kapu. Let try out Dilshan Munaweera/Angelo Perera /Roshen Silva/Bahanuka Rajapaksha or Sachithra Serasinge

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