Sri Lanka news January 30, 2013

Jayasuriya promises fair selection

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Sri Lanka's new chairman of selectors Sanath Jayasuriya has highlighted the value of senior players in the Test side, after weeks of rumours suggested Mahela Jayawardene may be cut from the team after his public spat with the selectors last month.

Other rumours also suggested Kumar Sangakkara's place was in doubt, as he was captain when Jayasuriya was dropped from the limited overs sides, but Jayasuriya said he did not bring any prejudices to his new role, and that selections will be made objectively.

Jayawardene had expressed his dismay at seeing a confidential letter to SLC in the papers in December, when he wrote to news outlets to clarify the letter's context and stated he had "lost all confidence in dealing with SLC" as a result of the leak. SLC then issued a statement saying Jayawardene's comments would be reviewed by the executive committee, but no concrete disciplinary action has been taken, over a month later.

Jayasuriya reiterated that his panel would not be waylaid by past disagreements or politics, and would instead endeavour only to improve cricket in Sri Lanka.

"I've already said that we need the senior cricketers in the set up," he said. "Without senior players, it's very difficult for the youngsters to go forward. As a selection panel, we haven't had discussions yet, but the seniors have a role to play.

"We haven't been appointed to cut Mahela or Sangakkara from the team, we're here to make good selections. It's good to introduce one or two youngsters in the team, but you can't make big changes at once. We will work step-by-step with the seniors."

Jayasuriya also laid out a rough strategy for his panel, two of whom will be employed as full-time selectors, and said there would be a greater drive to unearth talent from Sri Lanka's club system. Hashan Tillakaratne and Pramodya Wickramasinghe have been given the full-time roles.

"What we expect from the full time selectors is that they play close attention to every match, with specific objectives in mind. Maybe one of them will focus on Under-19 cricket and the A team, and the other will work closely with the national team and be there at training. The remaining members will also have specific roles, and we will be watching club cricket and will be informed about under-19 cricket as well."

Jayasuriya said he may also send a letter to each of the clubs asking them to select their six best players, who will then travel to Colombo for a two-day training camp which the selectors will oversee.

"There might be cricketers in those clubs that are good enough to play for Sri Lanka, but they have been missed. If we have a two-day period when we can observe them, we will have a good idea of who the talented players are. We can even form a database, and if someone starts doing well at club level, we already have an idea of how good they are."

One of the new panel's first tasks will be to name a new Test and ODI captain after Jayawardene stepped down from the post during the tour of Australia, but Jayasuriya would not be drawn on whether he favoured a split captaincy, nor would he name potential candidates for the job.

"There are a few names, but we haven't discussed anything yet, and we haven't talked about any captaincy issues. There has been a lot of media speculation about what we have been discussing or who we will appoint, but there's nothing like that. That's a decision that needs to be thought out carefully and discussed a lot."

The new panel officially takes over on February 1, and will be charged first with naming a Test side for the upcoming Bangladesh tour of Sri Lanka which begins on March 9.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • miles100 on February 1, 2013, 15:40 GMT

    I don't see any problem seing Sanath being the chairman of selectors regardless of any political influence. Why because he has enough knowledge of the game. No need to fear him, Sanath wants to see young players coming in to the side from under 19 and coexist with the seniors. I never heard previous selectors talking about U19. Some ask why the selectors don't get Thisara to open the batting. Opening the batting with the new ball requires some good technique(especially facing 2 new balls today). New ball could swing at about 140 KMPH and lot harder than facing an older ball. Thisara may only suceed in a few occasions as an opener. There are lots of young talented pinch hitters in SL schools who can do a great job by opening the side in future. Thisara/Kulasekera both have a role to play with the tale as they have big hitting power with the old ball to boost the rate at the end. Also they are capable of utilizing the batting power play later.

  • KingOwl on February 1, 2013, 0:49 GMT

    The problem lies not just with SLC and the politicians, but also the people of the country. I am a Sri Lankan too. But I will be frank to admit that the politicians and the SLC officials are a reflection of society in SL. When you read the comments here made by Sri Lankans it is clear why things are so complex. Rumors, innuendos, conspiracy theories, hidden agendas, non-existent agendas - they are all part of life. And let me also say that politicians are no worse than business people in SL. So trying to look at SL through a Western lense (which I know very well) is meaningless. I think this new panel, just like old panels, will muddle their way through. I have no major concerns about selection. My concerns are about financial mismanagement. I am very skeptical that the finances will be brought back to normal in the near term.

  • goldeneye075 on January 31, 2013, 17:18 GMT

    SL Cricket is in dangerous waters right now, it will only get rough with time. Politics need to be kept out of cricket, some can argue its a conflict of interest. IF Sanath or Hashan need to do some thing to cricket itself, they should resign form there politics and then enter the arena. Anyway how much we scream, the higher "gods of politics" will not listen to our call, it's all a lost cause. :-)

  • SL_Boy on January 31, 2013, 16:58 GMT

    Selection should not be base on WC or anything, this should be base on best 15 players, any one should be able to play even if they are 35. These days Maharoof, Mubarac and Angelo Playing excellent. EX: If you get Mahela his out of SL test avg below 30.

  • stumpedlloyd on January 31, 2013, 14:12 GMT

    Finally! Now, Sanath Jayasuriya can give himself the proper exit from playing cricket he (and the government) desired, and can select to play himself at every venue. This is such good news. It was about time Sri Lanka took politics out of the selection process, and this, undoubtedly, is the first move in that direction.

  • EGWdxb on January 31, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    This is unfortunate situation for sri lankan cricket. Harron Lorgart reports it says politics should not invoved in sl cricket. By selecting Sanath & Hashan in selection panel this fact going to fail. When Mahela Sanga leave sl cricket its going to be a sad story......We as sri lankans had only cricket to enjoy and watch but politicain ruin the sport as well....very unfortunate.

  • MH19 on January 31, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    I can see no threat axing Mahela or Sanga. But they both can still give SL cricket their experience. I will be dissapointed if they drop Dilshan cos he bats,Bowls and also field better than any youngster. Mahela is a great Captain now good bye. Kusal challenges Chandimal and they both challenge Sanga.

  • ravi_hari on January 31, 2013, 9:01 GMT

    With his vast experience and a co-member like Tilakaratne, Sanath can make a good contribution to Srilankan cricket. He has seen many facets in his long career and should agree that he was persisted with inspite of dying form. With seniors like Mahela and Sanga in the last phase of their careers the onus is on Sanath and team to re-build Sri Lanka. They need to find replacements and nurture them before they take the centre stage. Jayasurya himself had to wait for the right opportunity to blossom and alongwith Kulu created a new brand of cricket. He knows very well what hard work will do and how selections affect the performance of the team. He should have only cricket in mind while choosing players and should have a definite road map for the young team. 2015 World Cup will be his real test in case he stays that long.

  • CricketMaan on January 31, 2013, 8:51 GMT

    He has shown he is a good politician by talking, now he need to show he is a good adminstrator by walking the talk. He has knowledge, stats and skills, the only challenge is to straight, honest decisions that will take SL forward. What i like about SL is for such a small nation to go and dominate world cricket the way they have done it, with limited talent pool they have time and again produced class cricketers, but they are at cross roads much like other nations and now is the time to invest and take honest decisions with long term goals. Good Luck from your neighbour.

  • dummy4fb on January 31, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    Sri Lanka has given chance to many Young, amazing, talented cricketer over the past few years and they have proved their presence on and off the field and and the world has seen their performance last 3 World Cups and reached in Finals. Huge responsibility on Sanath now once again... He did this in past as a player in 1996 and now as a chairman of selectors... Good Luck...Cheers!!!