Sri Lanka news April 23, 2014

Chandimal relieved of T20I captaincy


Sri Lanka's selectors have relieved Dinesh Chandimal of all his leadership positions, appointing Lasith Malinga as the T20I captain and Lahiru Thirimanne as vice-captain across all formats untill March 2015.

Chandimal had had a poor run in limited-overs cricket, particularly in Asian conditions, but had maintained a good record in Tests, averaging 63.75 in 10 innings, since being named vice-captain in February last year. His across-the-board demotion, however, is a strong indication the selectors feel Chandimal must devote himself solely to improving his batting.

Though his on-field leadership had reaped positive results, Chandimal has shown little batting promise in T20 cricket, in which he averages 13.30 after 20 innings. He had initially impressed in the ODI team, but his returns even in that format have subsided after he had been named vice-captain. Since Februrary 2013, Chandimal has averaged 25.55, with a strike rate of 72, largely batting from lower in the order than he prefers.

Chandimal had chosen to leave himself out of the XI for the semi-final and final of the recent World T20, leaving Malinga to lead the team to victory, and had been replaced in the XI by Thirimanne, who struck an important 44 in the semi-final.

The selectors had made Chandimal the youngest Sri Lanka captain in any format, at 23, following largely impressive returns in Australia in January last year. Chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya had said at the time that Sri Lanka sought to develop a young leadership core, in preparation for the looming retirements of former captains Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan. Jayawardene and Sangakkara had in any case indicated they would not accept leadership roles in the twilight of their careers.

Thirimanne has impressed with the bat in recent months, picking up a Player-of-the-Tournament award for top-scoring at the Asia Cup. His tournament aggregate of 279 included a century in the final. Averaging 49 from 14 innings in the top three, he has been a more reliable ODI selection than Chandimal, particularly in the past year.

Sri Lanka embark on a full away tour of England next month, before full home tours against South Africa and Pakistan follow in July and August. They have six Tests, eleven ODIs and at least two T20 internationals scheduled for the next four months.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 25, 2014, 9:35 GMT

    All the best Chandi. You will definitely come back

  • Dhushan on April 24, 2014, 17:43 GMT

    I think this is a good move. I blame the selectors for making him the captain in the 1st place. His potential is there for all to see, but he had not proved it consistently. Now I hope he puts his head down & works on his batting, because he's got a long way to go, as long as he bats well. Fight on Chandimal.

  • Dimuthu on April 24, 2014, 17:09 GMT

    Chandimal need not be disheartened. I remember after the 1999 WC, Sanath was appointed captain and a young Mahela Jayawardena his deputy. After months of bad form, not dissimilar to Chandi's, MJ lost his VC post. By 2006 he had matured to be a great leader and outstanding batsman. By 2009 he was the world's best tactician and along with Arjuna Ranatunga, SL's greatest captain. Chandimal is still very young. Those who know cricket a lot better than armchair critics see great potential in him. It is up to him to prove his doubters wrong and shut the short sighted fans up. Good luck to Angie and Lasith, and congratulations to Lahiru.

  • Kepili on April 24, 2014, 15:09 GMT

    I heard(Chat & Music program) Malinga's explanation of winning strategy that he used in T20 cricket, and it made perfect sense! He clearly showed how capable he is to lead the side in this shorter format using his experience! Malinga proved that an experienced strike bowler can find more effective ways to curtail opponents' batting, than a Batsmen skipper... I think that is the most important aspect of T20 - Since this format is all about leather lashing... winning is somehow limiting it..! That is exactly what our boys did this time in those last 4 overs as planned & well-executed by Malinga with his fellow bowlers! He also answered to the people who were unable to understand the situations of the game & unfairly accused him when failed. Now, at-least no one can question about his Loyalty to SL :))

  • Kepili on April 24, 2014, 14:08 GMT

    Some fans seem to be ludicrous to question the inclusion of Upul Tharanga- (161 innings -5228 Runs- 33.94 Av - 100x12 - 50x28) at least for the Ireland ODIs. They are questioning about his technique/ability on fast-tracks! What a joke… when you consider the flash-in-a-pan t20 technique of the lucky guy who robbed his place! I have a question for them, can you name any other young SL player who had scored 13 CENTURIES (just two short of Mahela) & 28 FIFTY++ scores all around the world against all Leading sides? Just 29 yrs , he has already proved his abilities as an opener , being the 8th Highest All Time Run-getter for SL & the youngest to get more than 5000 Runs among the 9 SL players done that! He is the most unfortunate player in SL Cricket history (apart from Upul Chandana) to be at the receiving end of the SLC's AXE , not to have his place stabilized after serving SL , establishing such an astonishing career record.! BTW he had scored 2x100's in Eng (120-Lord's, 109-Leeds)!

  • Rohan on April 24, 2014, 14:01 GMT

    By the time we will play WC, SL will have 10 past captains in the team.

  • campi on April 24, 2014, 11:08 GMT

    @ Laxmi Narayan Reddy It is what we called learning. under mahela, sanga, dilshan, angelo and chandimal , he will learn it soon, catch it soon. i would like to see kula leads the team for at least 1 match. coz kula silently did lots to Sri Lanka team..

  • Android on April 24, 2014, 10:30 GMT

    I think during wt20 jayawardane lead the side.... Without him Malinga can't lead.....

  • Dummy4 on April 24, 2014, 9:38 GMT

    In T20 spot decision has to be taken.The total time is available is 100 mins. Good move by the SLB to relive Chandimal for T20 Capatiancy. Now he can concentrate on his batting. Wish you all the best Dinesh Chandimal!!!!!

  • Kanishka on April 24, 2014, 9:00 GMT

    Taking the captaincy away from Chandimal is a good move he can concentrate more on his batting now and hopefully we will get the guy who scored a 100 @ Lords back. Thirimanne as VC is a safe choice but I would have gone with Prasanna Jayawardana or even Herath in Tests. Malinga as captain is still a bit dodgy it will be interesting how he handles it in high pressure situations without the likes of Mahela and Sanga.

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