‘Our immediate aim is to fix batting shortcomings’
The new Chairman of Selectors, Upul Tharanga while announcing yesterday that Dhananjaya de Silva had been appointed as the new captain of the Sri Lanka Test Cricket Team, and that much as the option would have been for one captain for all three formats that there was no other choice than to go forthree separate captains in Kusal Mendis for ODIs and Wanindu Hasaranga because there was no suitable automatic choice, observed that his selection committee’s immediate concern was to fix the inconsistency bugging the top order batting as well as poor fielding that had led to the country’s recent world cup debacle. However, he said that Hasaranga had been earmarked as a long-term choice.
He said that currently, his selection team was also leasing with the High Performance Center to overall fixing the shortcomings.
“We came apart at the world cup due to the bugging inconsistency in the batting where mainly the top four who are the nucleus failed to click. If a batsman scored in one game his failure thereafter was a major setback and we aim to arrest that major drawback. All these players are not short of talent, but there is an obvious shortcoming where consistency is concerned and we have already spoken with the coaches concerned regarding sorting out this problem. The fielding too was found wanting with a lot of dropped chances where mainly half chances went abegging which at that level of the game have to be taken in keeping with the adage ‘catches win matches,” opined Upul Tharanga, the former Sri Lanka opening batsman addressing the media at the Sri Lanka Cricket headquarters.
He was of course, pleased with the overall bowling performances of the team saying that the bowlers had played their part.
He said that a selection benchmark would be in place for selections with emphasis on the National Super League where promising players would be identified and given due recognition for national duty.
Fielding questions as to team discipline and the recent misbehaviour of ODI captain, Kusal Mendis, the chief selector said that his committee was addressing that area seriously, and that so far the report from the SSC committee on the matter had not reached the SLC for them to look at it.
The question of Mendis’ fits and starts batting performances at the world cup was another key subject with Tharanga contending that they had opted for Mendis as the ODI captain considering that he was suddenly thrown into the job after regular captain Dasun Shanaka’s injury. “We took into account that therefore, Mendis needed a fair chance to settle down to the job,” he contended.
Meanwhile, selector Indika de Saram made the point that regular players particularly the basmen would be pressurized to perform by looking at promising prospects who were knocking on the door for recognition.