Sri Lanka news April 24, 2014

Few can adjust their game like Thirimanne - Jayasuriya


Sri Lanka chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya made a resounding endorsement of Lahiru Thirimanne's temperament and talent, one day after his panel had appointed the 24-year-old batsman vice-captain across all formats. Thirimanne replaced Dinesh Chandimal as vice-captain of the ODI and Test teams, and Jayasuriya confirmed Chandimal's removal from those positions, and from the T20 captaincy, had been driven by their desire to see him focus on snapping a poor run of returns with the bat.

Jayasuriya admitted Chandimal had been overburdened by the captaincy, but was certain Thirimanne would have a firmer handle on his own performance as he took on more responsibility.

"Thirimanne is a different kind of a player," he said. "He has batted all over the place and performed when we have given him the opportunity. When somebody is injured in the top of the order, he opens. When someone is being rested at No. 3 or 4, he bats there. In some situations, he bats at No. 5 or 6. He has the mentality to adjust to any situation. Everyone has seen that. There's no doubt that he can take the vice-captaincy as just another experience, so he's the best choice. His technique, the way he works - everything up to date is very good."

Though Thirimanne has played fewer matches than Chandimal in the past year, he has made the more telling contributions, particularly in limited-overs cricket. He had struck two hundreds in the Asia Cup - including one in the final - and had also made an important 44 in the World T20 semi-final against West Indies.

"Thirimanne has been able to adapt his game to Tests, ODIs and T20s, and bat like an experienced player under pressure," Jayasuriya said. "There are very few players like that."

Jayasuriya said he had been in contact with Chandimal when he left himself out of the side for the World T20 semi-final and final in Mirpur but, ultimately, Chandimal's inability to make meaningful contributions had sealed his demotion.

"We had talked at length as a selection committee before making that decision. We had tried to get the most out of him as a captain with a long-term view, but after some time passed, we realised that bearing the captaincy had put some added pressure on him. We knew his talent, so we gave him the support to keep leading the team. We thought he would come out of that pressure at some stage. But unfortunately he wasn't able to do that, so we decided, with his consent, that we would give Lasith Malinga the captaincy during the World T20.

"I talked with Chandimal in Bangladesh, and the decision to relieve him of leadership was taken in light of those conversations. I think he had some idea of what we were about to do. As a selection committee we'll need to sit with him soon and talk about the future."

Chandimal had been perhaps the most promising young batsman upon his arrival in the national side, and had had encouraging innings in ODIs, as well as Tests, in his first 12 months. Though his Test form has largely been satisfactory, it has been his decline in limited-overs matches that has been most worrisome for the selectors.

"We need to take pressure off him and help him play like he used to," Jayasuriya said.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jay on April 28, 2014, 22:00 GMT

    Thrimmane supposedly has "talent" i will leave that to opinion but his stats show him as a mediocre batsman. In ODI's he averages at about 30 and strike rate 70 are almost unacceptable for most teams. He has played 60 Odis and should at least a higher SR. Look at test stats Average only 32 an T20Is he has a disappointing average of 18 and a TERRIBLE SR of only 113. doesn't seem flexible to me. Look at the Stats he has been hyped for the last 2 years but hasn't performed.

  • Vinoth on April 27, 2014, 5:52 GMT

    Too much pressure to Lahiru. Hope his batting won't be affected by the vice captaincy. Whatever happens I want him on the team forever and like to see him in ten years as Sanga.

  • Dummy4 on April 26, 2014, 17:31 GMT

    If Arjuna Ranatunga is in the selection committee he will also agree with Jayasuriya to appoint Thirimanna as Vice captain. Arjuna has spoken talents of Thirimanna so many times

  • Dummy4 on April 25, 2014, 18:27 GMT

    Thirimane is very talented Batsmen with any Position in the lineup but Vice Captaincy may effect his batting like a Chandimal??? Ohh no why do not select Kula as a Vice Captain? Mr.Sana your move is ok but my worry is Thirimane Batting anyway just wait and See how going thiri as a vice Captain All The best Therimane

  • Dummy4 on April 25, 2014, 16:30 GMT

    When some of our fans doubted Thirimanne.. even SL Memes i resolutely stood by his ability. And Jayasuriya agrees.

  • Kepili on April 25, 2014, 14:56 GMT

    Jaya seems to be on the right track for appointing Thiri as VC & relieving Chandi from the burden for the time being. He did the right thing by promoting Thiri to the front-order batting, despite some visible pressure from the lords & goons to eliminate Chandi & Thiri from the scene, after focusing them under their "partial" microscope in the recent past. Appointing Malinga to lead the T20 is another sensible move, since he has proved that an experienced strike bowler can find more effective ways to curtail opponents' batting, than a Batsman skipper, specially after the demonstration of well planned bowling strangulation executed to bring us the WC, defeating batters like Koli & Dhoni. Jay should add experienced frontorder batsmen to negate the imminent danger looming (when triple blow strikes in near future). THERE IS ONLY ONE 29 yr/Younger BATSMEN in the WHOLE WORLD, with MORE THAN 5000 RUNS /13x100's/ 28x50+ scores! This lad UPUL THARANGA is in SLC's Dump. BRING HIM BACK TO LIFE!

  • Dru on April 25, 2014, 14:56 GMT

    Dont think SL have much of a choice here as its either a case of a youngster or another 35+ player as VC whcih is obviously not the way forward. I reckon Thiri has shown enoght metal to warrant the position but the only issue is he doesnt really have a permanent spot in any playing eleven. He usualy plays as cover for someone else.

  • Dummy4 on April 25, 2014, 5:17 GMT

    There are many suggestions on team selection. However, if we try to implement all of that we will need to have about 2-3 different playing XIs. Lets accept the fact that selectors are human they also make blunders, sometimes they gamble and if that paid off they are commended and if not they are condemned.

  • Nilanka on April 25, 2014, 5:13 GMT

    In my view selectors are doing the same mistake they did with Chandimal with another different player. They should rely on experience.

  • Dummy4 on April 25, 2014, 5:08 GMT

    Guys don't forget even our best captain Mr.Mahela Jayawardana was also made Vice Captain one time he was also failed in his performance they did the same thing with him and he became a legend today. hope Mr.Chamdimal will also be a legend of Sri Lankan Cricket one day... All the best to all our cricketers....

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