Back to the drawing board for Jehan
It's back to the drawing board for young Jehan Mubarak for whom the world seems to have turned upside down.
Only two months ago he was leading the Sri Lanka `A' team and was looked up as a future prospective cricketer for the senior side. But after a dismal failure in the first unofficial test against West Indies `A' at Rangiri Dambulla where he disappointed with scores of 17 and 15 he finds himself on the sidelines.
The tall and graceful left-hander who represents CCC in the Premier competition has been dropped from the squad of 14 for the remaining two `tests' against the tourists and now faces a long haul of resurrecting his career all over again.
Last year Mubarak was made captain of the Sri Lanka `A' team that toured England. He not only led the side admirably but also made runs scoring 235 at an average of 47 inclusive of three fifties in three first-class matches. In the six one-day matches also he showed pleasing form to average 55.75 for 223 runs and two fifties.
It was a memorable tour for the team because they won all seven one-day matches against county sides and had a win-loss-draw record in the three first-class games.
Based on these performances the selectors picked him for the tour of Pakistan where he appeared in the two Tests but failed to make any worthwhile contributions with the bat scoring just 49 runs in four innings with a top score of 34.
The selectors continued to persist with him and appointed him captain of Sri Lanka `A' for the home series against England `A' and Pakistan `A'. It was here that Mubarak's form began to decline. He was totally out of sorts and failed to make an impression in any of the `tests' or the one-day triangular except in the last `test' against Pakistan `A' at Dambulla where he scored a compact 80. His scores prior to that innings were: 10, 24, 11, 36, 0, 4, 0, 16, 2, 33, and 1.
The selectors thought the weight of captaincy was affecting his batting and removed him from that post for the series against West Indies `A' hoping that at least now he would deliver. But once again he failed.
To sum up his disappointing run he has not made a century since scoring 169 for CCC against Ragama CC in a Premier trophy match in November 2003. It also happens to be the only century Mubarak has scored in six years of first-class cricket.
For the 24-year-old Mubarak the world has not ended. He has been retained in the Sri Lanka `A' pool and needs to get some runs behind him to once again attract the selectors' attention.
"To me Mubarak looks tensed up and mentally not there," said chairman of selectors Lalith Kaluperuma.
"He should be confident and play his normal game. He has been in the circuit for a long time and he should use his experience to come out of the situation. He couldn't ask for a better person than Anura Tennekoon (the present `A' team manager) to seek advice," he said.
Kaluperuma said that since the time Mubarak played for Sri Lanka in the under 19 World Cup the selectors have been nursing and guiding him all along.
"I don't thing any other cricketer has been given the amount of opportunities that Mubarak has. He has taken a long time to come out of his bad patch and there are others knocking on the door," said Kaluperuma.
Mubarak's place in the fourteen has been given to Colts batsman Shantha Kalavitigoda.