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'Captaincy will be a challenge for Dilshan'

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

April 20, 2011

Comments: 23 | Text size: A | A

Tillakaratne Dilshan gives Virat Kohli a prolonged verbal send-off after dismissing him, India v Sri Lanka, final, World Cup 2011, Mumbai, April 2, 2011
Will Tillkaratne Dilshan be able to lead by example? © AFP

Former Sri Lanka cricketers and administrators have reacted with caution to the appointment of Tillakaratne Dilshan as Sri Lanka captain for the upcoming tour of England following Kumar Sangakkara's resignation from the post. Dilshan, who was the top run-scorer in the World Cup, was named captain across all three formats and ended speculation over whether he or 23-year-old allrounder Angelo Mathews would be named as Sangakkara's successor. Sangakkara, in a recent interview with ESPNcricinfo had said that Dilshan, if selected, was likely to do a "good job, because he has these little touches for success." However, not all have the same degree of optimism.

"He is an exciting player no doubt, but it is left to be seen whether he can transform that into his captaincy as well," Sidath Wettimuny, former Sri Lanka cricketer and former chairman of selectors, told ESPNcricinfo. "He will surely be tested, having to live up to the reputation of two past captains like Mahela Jayawardene and Sangakkara. Captaincy will be a real challenge for him."

S Skandakumar, former secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), criticised Sangakkara, saying that he had left SLC "no choice" but to pick Dilshan, following his sudden resignation after the World Cup. "When Sangakkara resigned from the captaincy after the World Cup final at short notice [and Mahela resigned from the vice captaincy] he created a Hobson's choice for SLC who had none other than Dilshan to fall back on," he said. "Dilshan has a cloud hanging over his behaviour on the Zimbabwe tour. But then again Ricky Ponting was no angel but handed the responsibility of captaincy, he rose to the occasion." Dilshan, who was named stand-in captain for a tri-nation series in Zimbabwe in May-June 2010 of a side that ran into disciplinary problems, was sacked as vice-captain without official reason after that.

Kushil Gunasekera, former SLC administrator, was more hopeful, suggesting that the captaincy would act as a catalyst to spur Dilshan on. "When skilful and talented players are given responsibilities they have potential to rise to the occasion," he said. "Hopefully Dilshan will fit into that category and showcase to the others as a role model and lead by example."

Since moving into the opener's slot in 2009, Dilshan has been among Sri Lanka's best players across all three formats. Ranjit Fernando, former Sri Lanka cricketer and former national selector, said that Dilshan's form, particularly over the last six months augured well for his new role. "He may not be the conventional captain that everyone expects him to be. But there is also a positive side to it," he said.

"The way he plays his cricket we can be in for some exciting times under him. In the past six months there has been a level of responsibility in him. He has played his cricket with a lot of responsibility without changing the characteristic of his play."

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Posted by   on (April 21, 2011, 8:12 GMT)

Finally Sri Lankan selectors have taken a brave step to give the responsibilities of national side to a naturally aggressive Dilshan, it was always on the cards , as Sanga failed to win the world cup for his side .If we look at the most successful captains for doubt ,The best 3 are Ranatunga..Jayawardhne..Sangakara , every one is saying that, is it a good move to hand over the responsbilities of the country in the hands of an aggressive captain. Well if we look at the team combination we don't have murali magic,but there are many other to capitalise on,it will be a huge challenge for Dilshan to prove that he can be a good captain too,as Srilanka have a strong batting line up specially Mahela and Sanga,most importantly, both are in good form delivering consistently for their IPL teams as captains, and winning matches too . Dilshan is my favourite player and i hope he will prove his selection right, My all wishes are with him.

Posted by madhukada on (April 21, 2011, 3:00 GMT)

Just because Sanga and Mahela were similar as captains doesn't mean that Sri Lanka shouldn't have different leadership. Dilshan maybe the best thing that happened to SL. He has the potential to win SL the next world cup!

Give the guy a chance!

Posted by asirig on (April 21, 2011, 1:13 GMT)

I hope Dilshan brings his aggressive nature to his captaincy. The world cup final was lost due to passive captaincy.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2011, 20:16 GMT)

I think Dilly has to prove many wrong with time to come.For his advantage he has Sanga and Mahela to strengthen the batting line up.As captain he can afford to concentrate because even if he fails in his batting there will be others to fall upon.His fielding and bowling would not be affected by captaincy as the pressure is mainly on batting.Find the right balance in bowling department in England would make or break his captaincy in my view.Mendis would be quite a handful in bouncy wickets in England and English haven't tasted Mendis properly in Tests which is an advantage for Dilshan.Keeping the team's integrity would be a bigger challenge than the skills department as both Mahela and Sanga played that role extremely well.But for his advantage he has this''X factor'' and hope the English tour is something worth looking forward for.This tour will reveal his true qualities as the captain and we have to wait and see.He has done lot to our cricket and deserves his place.Good luck Dilly.

Posted by sanjeevmukherjee2006 on (April 20, 2011, 19:47 GMT)

Area, buddy u won odi series in aus knocking sa, wen! In ur dreams haha and oh yes we havent won test ser in sl but we drew ur team hasnt won a single test in ind, sa and aus. And wel in last 7 odi series in sl we won 5 and yes we beat u in asia cup and wc finals yes we also knocked u out in natwest and vb series ur team without malinga wil lose eng series"

Posted by Agnar on (April 20, 2011, 15:49 GMT)

Dilshan will be the best Captain Sri Lanka ever had or he will fail very badly. He will not be a mediocre captain. We should hope that he would rise to the occasion and become a good leader and support him.

Posted by CricketChat on (April 20, 2011, 13:40 GMT)

SL cricket board had to choose Dilshan because there were no viable alternatives even though this can be at best be a short term option (possibly a max. of 2 Yrs). One must remember that Mathews had his few moments under the Sun so far and is certainly a good prospect for future, but not a proven performer yet. SL cricket should look at other Captaincy candidates besides Dilshan should he fail to deliver.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2011, 12:02 GMT)

Dilshan wont suit as a captain, I have seen him once as a captain against India. He was panicking a lot and making other fielders panic with his animations and expressions. Surely he is not the right guy. Angelo should be the captain as he is young and also stuffed with excellent cricketing brain.

Posted by   on (April 20, 2011, 11:22 GMT)

he is good for the job , let hom try if he wants, there is nobody else

Posted by   on (April 20, 2011, 11:08 GMT)

Will Dilshan be like Sir Frank Worrel? Do not expect him like Mahela or Kumar? He might have the courage of Arjuna. We had great Captains Like Michael Tissera, Anura Tennekoon etc Dilshan is Dilshan and he is matured now; responsibility ihas been thrust on him a great risk but he deserves a chance. He is an intelligent guy he changed his name perhaps expecting to captain.

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