Sri Lanka news October 11, 2013

Who will replace Dilshan?

ESPNcricinfo picks out the five most likely candidates to replace the retiring Tillakaratne Dilshan in Tests
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In a year in which regeneration has already been Sri Lanka's focus, Tillakaratne Dilshan's Test retirement clears the way for yet another young batsman to try his hand at the top level. Sri Lanka begin a sequence of 10 away Tests in December, and Dilshan's timely exit will allow his replacement the opportunity to cut his teeth against Pakistan and Bangladesh, before the team travels to the UK in the next English summer.

The Test opening position has been a source of some consternation for Sri Lanka in recent years, however, and even Dimuth Karunaratne, who occupies the other opening spot, is yet to turn his potential into sustained results. There are several contenders for Dilshan's place in the domestic sphere, but given the current selection panel's track record of replacing the old with the young and promising, ESPNcricinfo has picked out the five likeliest candidates.

Kaushal Silva
(27-years-old, 8423 first-class runs at 48.97, 27 centuries)

The current frontrunner is not an opener by trade, but Sri Lanka has manufactured top-order men out of middle-order performers before, and selectors sent out a hint that they are already thinking of Kaushal in that role when they asked him to open for the Board XI in the first four-day match of the 2013-14 season. What Kaushal has going for him is extraordinary domestic form. He was the top-scorer in the first-class competition last year, and has been unstoppable for Sri Lanka A since then, hitting four hundreds in as many first-class matches to average 80.33 for the year. He is the oldest of the candidates, and having been consistent over several first-class seasons, he is also the most stable choice.

Kusal Perera
(23-years-old, 2460 first-class runs at 47.30, 7 centuries)

Something of a wildcard, but if there was any selector to whom the prospect of pairing two aggressive left-handers at the top of the order seemed tempting, it is Sanath Jayasuriya. There is no doubting the enormous talent that Kusal possesses, but although he took international limited-overs cricket by storm in the first few months of 2013, his weaknesses were soon worked out and he had a paltry run through the middle of the year. He is coming into form again in first-class cricket however, and has proven he can play the big innings in long-form cricket as well, when he hit Sri Lanka's first-ever domestic triple hundred earlier this year.

Shehan Jayasuriya
(22-years-old, 1423 first-class runs, 3 centuries)

Yet another bruising left-handed batsman, but although he doesn't have the weight of runs some of the other candidates have accumulated, he possesses a valuable second suit. In addition to creating huge domestic buzz with his batting, Jayasuriya bowls canny offspin, having taken 41 wickets at an average of less than 30 apiece - making him something of a like-for-like replacement for Dilshan. He is unlikely to be on the selectors' minds when they choose the squads for tours of the UAE or Bangladesh, but if Jayasuriya can improve on an already formidable first-class record in the Premier League Tournament next year, he will put significant pressure on the incumbents.

Lahiru Thirimanne
(24-years-old, 3668 first-class runs at 41.21, 10 centuries)

Thirimanne began his Test career as an opener before being moved to the middle order, but if Sri Lanka cannot unearth a consistent opening batsman in the next few months, the selectors may ask him to reclaim his old spot. Possessed of a thoughtful approach to the game, he is being groomed to inherit Kumar Sangakkara's No. 3 spot, but a tight defensive technique and calmness under fire could make him a good opening foil for Karunaratne as well.

Udara Jayasundera
(22-years-old, 2241 runs at 40.74, 4 centuries)

Jayasundera is perhaps the furthest from a Test spot at present, but Sanath Jayasuriya has repeatedly talked about him as a future prospect, and he also has the potential to put significant pressure on whoever replaces Dilshan in the short term. Another left-hander, but one who is not as well-geared for attack, Jayasundera has played for Sri Lanka's Under-19s team and scored heavily for the Under-23s side as well.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on October 11, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    Kaushal, Dimuth, Thirimanne, Sanga, Angelo, Mahela, Chandimal is a really good batting line up. The bowling Herath and Senanayake is a must. Fast bowling, I would like if the selectors give a chance to Saliya Saman but probably won't happen. who ever the 2 bowlers they pick will have to bowl with Angelo to balance it out. Problem is Angelo has to take his bowling duties more seriously in tests.He must bowl at least 10 overs

  • ranga_s on October 11, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    Sri Lanka should not just focus on finding an opener..In fact what they should do is to create a playing XI for 2015. Sangakkara and Mahela will retire by then and and things will be like that in time to come too with more aged players leaving the side such as Rangana Herath and Chanaka Welagedara. New Comers could fail but it's important to stick with them and given a chance should be rotated with old stalwart like mahela and sanga...Thirimanne should not be in this lot since he's already in the XI. Karunaratne has been the most talked about young talent in the country and should give a fair run like they did with Marvan so that guy could turn out as an international. Kusal and Kaushal both has the potential to be International Superstars...SL need to figure their playing XI spots for 2015 and groom them accordingly..Kaushal, Dimuth, Thirimanne, Angelo, Kusal Perera, Chandimal. This lot is the potential top 6 for SL. Also look for a solid leggie if you wanna win more matches.

  • on October 18, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    Stats speak for themselves.. Kaushal should be given an extended run. He's got the best technique, the most experience and he is the most consistent.. 8000+ runs and 27 centuries..

  • shark77 on October 18, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    U all forgot para is still in the seen he will replace Dilshan and cement the opening spot with Dilshan in test cricket..

  • ajithabey on October 18, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    Dilshan another stalwart of Sri Lanka Cricket bids goodbye due to the lack of test cricket. He follows Thilan Samaraweera who bade goodbye a couple of months ago. The cancelling of the South African tour followed by the Zimbabwe tour probably motivated these players to quit. Sri Lanka Cricket authorities must take the blame for these failures and trying to replace these matches with domestic 20/20 tournaments which never got off the ground this year. These two players have contributed heavily towards the development of Sri Lanka cricket in the past few years and should be lauded for their efforts. As for their replacements we will have to wait and see as to who can fill these big boots in the future.

  • RuwanFer on October 17, 2013, 20:29 GMT

    @KANCHANA623 It's an insult to Jayasuriya that ur comparing him with a slogger with 2/3 shots (I'm still a fan of Thisara in LOIs). Jayasuriya was a genuine batsman from his school days. He already had couple of 1st class double hundreds under his belt before came into the national team. He had to bat in the lower-middle order purely because there was no vacant spots in the middle order. But still Jayasuriya wasn't "one of the most successful openers in the world" in test cricket.

    We'll see if the new SL batting unit is good enough to win test matches only if we find a test quality bowling attack. Until then there is nothing u can do by tinkering with the batting order. Just give the chance to the guys who have done well in 1st class level.

  • King_Ravanaa on October 16, 2013, 4:53 GMT

    Guys i have to tell this, users like Gnanzupid, Jadejafan, Slslider, are Pakistani's pretend to show as Indians.

  • KANCHANA623 on October 16, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    @ Ruwan, Thissara is still new to the international arena. He's got age, talent and templement to with stand any situation. Sanath was a dasher than Thissara in lower order. How ever he ended up his career as one of the most successful openers in the world. Then y do u think Thissara can't? If we are to win more tests we have to think a little out of the box. Traditional slow openers cannot win test matches in modern days.

  • RuwanFer on October 15, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    @KANCHANA623 Are u serious? Thisara P not comfortable against 140kph+ bowlers even with the old ball. And you are suggesting him to open against the new ball in test? I thought it's only the SLC administrators who have no clue about test cricket. Oh well...

  • on October 15, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    I think you need a right handed batsmen to take Dilshan's role. Many quickies line up left hander sfar too easily now. I like both Dimuth & Kusal. But SL se;ection will miss a trick here unless they recall Kapugedera. He is good against quick bowling.

  • on October 11, 2013, 18:20 GMT

    Kaushal, Dimuth, Thirimanne, Sanga, Angelo, Mahela, Chandimal is a really good batting line up. The bowling Herath and Senanayake is a must. Fast bowling, I would like if the selectors give a chance to Saliya Saman but probably won't happen. who ever the 2 bowlers they pick will have to bowl with Angelo to balance it out. Problem is Angelo has to take his bowling duties more seriously in tests.He must bowl at least 10 overs

  • ranga_s on October 11, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    Sri Lanka should not just focus on finding an opener..In fact what they should do is to create a playing XI for 2015. Sangakkara and Mahela will retire by then and and things will be like that in time to come too with more aged players leaving the side such as Rangana Herath and Chanaka Welagedara. New Comers could fail but it's important to stick with them and given a chance should be rotated with old stalwart like mahela and sanga...Thirimanne should not be in this lot since he's already in the XI. Karunaratne has been the most talked about young talent in the country and should give a fair run like they did with Marvan so that guy could turn out as an international. Kusal and Kaushal both has the potential to be International Superstars...SL need to figure their playing XI spots for 2015 and groom them accordingly..Kaushal, Dimuth, Thirimanne, Angelo, Kusal Perera, Chandimal. This lot is the potential top 6 for SL. Also look for a solid leggie if you wanna win more matches.

  • on October 18, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    Stats speak for themselves.. Kaushal should be given an extended run. He's got the best technique, the most experience and he is the most consistent.. 8000+ runs and 27 centuries..

  • shark77 on October 18, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    U all forgot para is still in the seen he will replace Dilshan and cement the opening spot with Dilshan in test cricket..

  • ajithabey on October 18, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    Dilshan another stalwart of Sri Lanka Cricket bids goodbye due to the lack of test cricket. He follows Thilan Samaraweera who bade goodbye a couple of months ago. The cancelling of the South African tour followed by the Zimbabwe tour probably motivated these players to quit. Sri Lanka Cricket authorities must take the blame for these failures and trying to replace these matches with domestic 20/20 tournaments which never got off the ground this year. These two players have contributed heavily towards the development of Sri Lanka cricket in the past few years and should be lauded for their efforts. As for their replacements we will have to wait and see as to who can fill these big boots in the future.

  • RuwanFer on October 17, 2013, 20:29 GMT

    @KANCHANA623 It's an insult to Jayasuriya that ur comparing him with a slogger with 2/3 shots (I'm still a fan of Thisara in LOIs). Jayasuriya was a genuine batsman from his school days. He already had couple of 1st class double hundreds under his belt before came into the national team. He had to bat in the lower-middle order purely because there was no vacant spots in the middle order. But still Jayasuriya wasn't "one of the most successful openers in the world" in test cricket.

    We'll see if the new SL batting unit is good enough to win test matches only if we find a test quality bowling attack. Until then there is nothing u can do by tinkering with the batting order. Just give the chance to the guys who have done well in 1st class level.

  • King_Ravanaa on October 16, 2013, 4:53 GMT

    Guys i have to tell this, users like Gnanzupid, Jadejafan, Slslider, are Pakistani's pretend to show as Indians.

  • KANCHANA623 on October 16, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    @ Ruwan, Thissara is still new to the international arena. He's got age, talent and templement to with stand any situation. Sanath was a dasher than Thissara in lower order. How ever he ended up his career as one of the most successful openers in the world. Then y do u think Thissara can't? If we are to win more tests we have to think a little out of the box. Traditional slow openers cannot win test matches in modern days.

  • RuwanFer on October 15, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    @KANCHANA623 Are u serious? Thisara P not comfortable against 140kph+ bowlers even with the old ball. And you are suggesting him to open against the new ball in test? I thought it's only the SLC administrators who have no clue about test cricket. Oh well...

  • on October 15, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    I think you need a right handed batsmen to take Dilshan's role. Many quickies line up left hander sfar too easily now. I like both Dimuth & Kusal. But SL se;ection will miss a trick here unless they recall Kapugedera. He is good against quick bowling.

  • on October 15, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    I don't think Thirimanna will promoted as a opener. He is the batsman to fill the vacant space of Mahela & Sanga. So most probably it will be Kaushal & Kusal as a long term replacements. Since both of them still in 20s they got lot of time to cement their places.

  • KANCHANA623 on October 14, 2013, 23:51 GMT

    Thissara Perera too is not a bad choice. Like Sanath and Watson he too can be promoted from no 7 to opening spot. Anyways in text cricket agressive openers can be a big factor in winning more test matches.

  • MH19 on October 14, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    Kaushal,Dimuth,Thirimanne,Chandimal,Kaushal,Mathews,Thisara,Kule,Herath, Eranga,Sachithra (Test line up) No Sanga/No Mahela as we have repalcements.Then you have Udara and Shehan to replace if anyone fails from the above. This has to be implemented soon if not SL will feel the vacuum.

  • Gowza on October 13, 2013, 0:44 GMT

    not sure why thirimanne is included in this, he's already in the XI, i guess they're looking at moving him to open and bringing in someone to fill the gap where thrimanne was. surely it's kaushal or kusal (perhaps both if they decide to drop dimuth). there is plenty of batting talent coming through with chandimal, kaushal, kusal, shehan jayasuriya, ronesh silva, angelo perera, vithanage etc.

  • on October 12, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    It will be Dimuth Karunaratne

  • Sinhaya on October 12, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    @Ausie_the_Great, thanks a lot for your words of support and encouragement. First of all, our test record against Australia is utterly disgusting where we have not even impressed at home. Of late our youngsters have not done much. Thirimanne has scored one fifty each in the CT 2013 and then against SA in the recent ODI series and that is not enough. Well true that Sanga started mainly scoring from about the 4th year of international cricket but of late Chandimal and Kushal Perera have failed non stop and that is a worry. Well Atapattu too failed big time at the beginning and then succeeded. So hope that happens too as far as Thirimanne, Chandimal and Kushal Perera are concerned.

    Though batting has hope, our pace bowling seems the major concern since Vaas quit. To add to the agony, our selectors are unwilling to play spin when it has been and will forever be our strength. We just dont have the tall strong bowlers that Australia, England, SA or Windies can dream of.

  • Blade-Runner on October 12, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    @SLslider ; We all know who you are. I think its pathetic, the way you are trying to pretend that you are a SL fan. At least, be brave enough to identify yourself and say what you've gotta say.

  • SL_Wolverine on October 12, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    Thirimani is the best who more suitable for take the Dilshan's position. However I think Dilshan made difficult decision.

  • Wolverine77 on October 12, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    Dimuth & Kaushal can open in tests but I believe Shehan Jayasuriya & Kusal perera in T20's and ODIs. Thirimanna should be the number 3 bat in Tests and ODIs.. He is Gura in the making.

  • on October 12, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    Why no one talk about Kithruwan Vithanage????????

  • INDSlider on October 12, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    @SLslider: I am a follower and a admirer of SL cricket and SL is my second favourites. For me, what Dilshan's did is the best thing he could do even few more years left in him. He hasn't been that selfish as Sachin. If you think on your emerging talent best way is to give them enough test opportunities not T20 or ODI. So, Dilshan is right on this as I also can see here so many talent are coming out. As you say Mahela should also retire but not immediately. Don't think and talk about the cricket players in your country in a bad way.

  • PadMarley on October 12, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    I'm not a big fan of 'building teams for wold cups" mindset. There are a lot of uncertainties when you try to get that equation right. A team should strike a healthy balance between seniors and juniors at any given time. At the same time keep a healthy pipeline which keeps on knocking on the doors that puts pressure on the national side. This is what Sri Lanka should aim at as a status to achieve. And a status of this nature can have a solid plan in place with lot more certainties than targeting a single event such as world cup. Once you reach a status as such, you reach a level of sustainability that gives you the luxury of having a short time span like one year to plan for a world cup.

  • MichaelBurton on October 12, 2013, 9:38 GMT

    @ rk0007: Its good you don't have this problem as all the emerging players of your country are either (ab)normal or below average.

  • Prabhash1985 on October 12, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    Try different people for god's sake! Don't do the foolish thing you did with Kusal Janith. It not only gave him too much pressure, we lost the matches, too.

  • SLslider on October 12, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    !!! SO IT BEGINS !!! Our team is in such dire straits. Dilshan retiring from Tests before IPL auctions and making it look like a great decision. I actually had so much respect for Dilshan but then came a Randiv no Ball incident and he lost all of it. Sore Loser not a gentleman for me. Anyway he wasn't a good player in Test matches. I hope Mahela should also retire he is a sitting duck in swinging conditions and inconsistent in One Day matches, He should only play Test matches played in Sri Lanka. Apart from sanga we don't have a single player in our team that I can count on. And more often than not even Sanga doesn't win any games he just gives us hope. God Help Lions

  • on October 12, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    That is not a problem replacing Dilshan Because there are several candidate knock the door for opening spot in the SL team, looking at the current SL Team it is very difficult to survive a new player in the SLC team , only the player who has young , dynamic, all round skills, can survive ,otherwise he himself should be consider unlucky,the Thing I really appreciates about Dili, his approach to game(All type of game) recently, his improvisation is very important game like England,Austalia, South Africa on their soil, so who can do that ,I think SLC think about above and Should select Kusal perera as genuine replacement

  • on October 12, 2013, 4:42 GMT

    Definitly on current form Kusal perera & kawushal silva should be included in playing XI in UAE..

  • Philippe on October 12, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    SL is in such a condition that they need to seek for the normal player like Dilshan. WOW.

  • yohandf on October 12, 2013, 3:55 GMT

    if SLC don't pick Kaushal Silva as the opener now , it ll be a another blunder of selection. Kaushal is in his peak as a batsman and experienced enough to replace Dilshan . His 27 domestic centuries show his capacity for a big innings . He should be given a fair run . That will boost other youngsters in country to do well in domestic arena knowing they won't be overlooked . Also he can keep wickets , so Chandimal can be relived from keeping in test urging him to bat well . Bring KAUSHAL on .

  • Htc-Android on October 12, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    for sure its kaushal Silva. I dont why people are talking to about Kushal Perera. He is suited to shorter formats. In test cricket u need good defensive technique. Also he is very poor in overseas wickets. On the other hand Kaushal Silva has a good technique and also he scored many centuries in overseas during the A tours as well.

  • on October 12, 2013, 1:55 GMT

    We need one player to stay and get runs and another batter who can put pressure on the opposition. My pick is Dumuth and Kusal.

  • on October 11, 2013, 23:57 GMT

    finally sri lanka has some great young talent... suddenly too many players to replace Dilshan

  • on October 11, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    Kusal could be the man! As we all Sri lankans believe he can do what Sanath has done.

  • CricketChat on October 11, 2013, 20:22 GMT

    Kaushal Silva should be tried first based on his recent form against WI A and NZ A teams. Though not the youngest of the lot, he has got 27 centuries which shows he can stay at the wkt and doesn't throw away starts once he gets in.

  • on October 11, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    Have they pushed Paranavithane to the PAST ?

  • SyedAreYouDumb on October 11, 2013, 18:31 GMT

    I would say kausal but he needs to play more domestic cricket to tighten up against international bowlers. For now I would say Kausal, not karuartne or shehan- those 2 I would say are not better than Kausal or Perrera. Best of luck SL on finding new opener from Bangladesh fan.

  • SL_rockz on October 11, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    Kushal perera is ideal but kithruwan is also performing well in his opportunities...

    Lets look what sanath selects....:) ... Remember that person m8 not be the highest run scorer n d ongoing first class matches .If he posses a huge amount of potential which can make history as sangakkara or sanath for SLC he should be selected.It does not matter if he is 16 years old or 30 years old....Sachin was eyed in 1987 and selected in 1989 when there were some good senior candidates with runs were in front of him...But Indian selectors saw the Indian future in his BAT and look what he has done for indian cricket over 24 years...Like wise we need to make legends ...So choose carefully.Person like sanath , a legend himself, can sense who is going to be the NEXT person with that X-Factor...

  • Jadejafan on October 11, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    Sri Lanka are pretty much nothing with their experience trio. Their youngsters just don't look of world class calibre for future. Even a team like Bangladesh is now producing better young batsman than that of Sri Lanka and Pakistan lol anyway Chandimal and Thiramanne look okay so far but they still have batting flaws which needs work on.

  • asithaSL on October 11, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    What about experience guy like Upul Thranga...?? And also Kithunuwan already proved by only chance he got. Bhanuka Rajapaksha is also a good future prospect. But @ the moment, guess Kaushal Silva is the best option..

  • Sinhaya on October 11, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    My advice is that Kaushal Silva is the best test opener on current form. If he fails, Kushal Perera should be chosen. Let Thirimanne continue in the middle. I think that Mathews will not last too long in tests as he is overall an average player.

  • on October 11, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    Kushal perera should be the ideal choice. He is an opener.

  • on October 11, 2013, 15:45 GMT

    Kushal janith perera is a much talented lad to replace the top spot . this will give a long term prospect for all form s for sri Lanka !

  • on October 11, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    Selfish decision by Dilshan, he should have started his retirement process with T20I and ODIs. This should probably given Sri Lankan board enough time to test Youngsters on the opening slot. Throwing some youngster directly to open the innings in a test match is tough call.

  • on October 11, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    Selfish decision by Dilshan, he should have started his retirement process with T20I and ODIs. This should probably given Sri Lankan board enough time to test Youngsters on the opening slot. Throwing some youngster directly to open the innings in a test match is tough call.

  • on October 11, 2013, 15:45 GMT

    Kushal janith perera is a much talented lad to replace the top spot . this will give a long term prospect for all form s for sri Lanka !

  • on October 11, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    Kushal perera should be the ideal choice. He is an opener.

  • Sinhaya on October 11, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    My advice is that Kaushal Silva is the best test opener on current form. If he fails, Kushal Perera should be chosen. Let Thirimanne continue in the middle. I think that Mathews will not last too long in tests as he is overall an average player.

  • asithaSL on October 11, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    What about experience guy like Upul Thranga...?? And also Kithunuwan already proved by only chance he got. Bhanuka Rajapaksha is also a good future prospect. But @ the moment, guess Kaushal Silva is the best option..

  • Jadejafan on October 11, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    Sri Lanka are pretty much nothing with their experience trio. Their youngsters just don't look of world class calibre for future. Even a team like Bangladesh is now producing better young batsman than that of Sri Lanka and Pakistan lol anyway Chandimal and Thiramanne look okay so far but they still have batting flaws which needs work on.

  • SL_rockz on October 11, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    Kushal perera is ideal but kithruwan is also performing well in his opportunities...

    Lets look what sanath selects....:) ... Remember that person m8 not be the highest run scorer n d ongoing first class matches .If he posses a huge amount of potential which can make history as sangakkara or sanath for SLC he should be selected.It does not matter if he is 16 years old or 30 years old....Sachin was eyed in 1987 and selected in 1989 when there were some good senior candidates with runs were in front of him...But Indian selectors saw the Indian future in his BAT and look what he has done for indian cricket over 24 years...Like wise we need to make legends ...So choose carefully.Person like sanath , a legend himself, can sense who is going to be the NEXT person with that X-Factor...

  • SyedAreYouDumb on October 11, 2013, 18:31 GMT

    I would say kausal but he needs to play more domestic cricket to tighten up against international bowlers. For now I would say Kausal, not karuartne or shehan- those 2 I would say are not better than Kausal or Perrera. Best of luck SL on finding new opener from Bangladesh fan.

  • on October 11, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    Have they pushed Paranavithane to the PAST ?

  • CricketChat on October 11, 2013, 20:22 GMT

    Kaushal Silva should be tried first based on his recent form against WI A and NZ A teams. Though not the youngest of the lot, he has got 27 centuries which shows he can stay at the wkt and doesn't throw away starts once he gets in.