Truth behind Karunaratne’s appointment as vice captain | Sunday Observer

Truth behind Karunaratne’s appointment as vice captain

2 December, 2018
Lakmal and Chandimal do not rank high as captains in Ashantha de Mel’s mind
Lakmal and Chandimal do not rank high as captains in Ashantha de Mel’s mind

New chairman of selectors Ashantha de Mel makes stunning revelation :

In a shocking revelation new chairman of selectors Ashantha de Mel said the move to appoint Dimuth Karunaratne as vice-captain for the two-Test tour to New Zealand and groom him as a future captain was that he found both Dinesh Chandimal and his stand-in captain Suranga Lakmal both incapable of taking decisions of their own on the field.

“If you are really watching these matches the captains are all the time looking at the dressing room. Every time they are looking at the coach. Actually what the captain should do is be able to take decisions on the field and think for himself and not be guided by the coaches in the dressing room,” said De Mel.

“We feel that Dimuth has some potential so we give the guy a chance to come good. He is already captaining SSC in the Premier League. He is a thinking cricketer he is someone who is thinking and who can make decisions. Going forward we need somebody like that. The coach should be only a guide for the captain not dictating to the captain making him a robot on the field,” he said.

“If you take between Chandimal and Lakmal both of them are guided by the coach. Chandimal every time he wants to make a change he is looking at the dressing room. As captain he should be able to stand on his feet and take a decision.

“Even at team meetings you must be able to state your plans but what happens is the coach gives the plan and they follow it. The person who will know the most is the captain on the field. How can a coach who sits outside tell you what the game plan is?

“I have spoken to some of the players and the information I am getting is that even at team discussions it is mostly what the coach tells them, there is no input from the players to the coach. The players are silent and the coach tells everything that’s why they are looking at the dressing room. If you want the team to do well the players have to give the input. When Mahela (Jayawardene) and Sanga (Kumar Sangakkara) were captaining they never looked to the dressing room.”

De Mel said that spinner Akila Dananjaya was not selected at his request.

“We didn’t select Akila Dananjaya because we have not got a verdict yet on his bowling action. After we spoke to him he was a little reluctant to play and said even if they give him a clearance he wanted some time to remodel his action. That is the reason why we have picked (Lakshan) Sandakan otherwise it would most likely be Akila,” said De Mel.

“The other thing is we wanted a wrist spinner and in fairness to Sandakan he took five wickets in the last Test he played. It’s not fair for us to just leave him out.”

De Mel was of the view that the spinners won’t have a big role to play on the green pitches in New Zealand and it will be the fast bowlers who will have to bear the brunt and take the wickets.

“What we are looking at is if their wickets are green the spinner most likely will be playing a defensive role. He will have to do the blocking up of one end to give the fast bowlers enough time to rest and come back for another spell. We are playing four bowlers, six batsmen and a wicket-keeper for the Test matches.

“If the spinner starts leaking runs it will be very difficult for the fast bowlers because they won’t get a break. Even if the spinners can’t take wickets he will be required to dry up the runs from one end and do a containing job. Perhaps in the second innings with the bowlers’ rough marks on the surface he might come into play but definitely in the first innings he will have to do a containing job.

“Dilruwan (Perera) has any way bowled well in Sri Lanka and he is also capable of doing the defensive job and tying up one end,” said De Mel.

De Mel said that emphasis will be laid on fitness and fielding levels for selections and that all the players selected had gone through the tests and qualified.

“We have told all the coaches also that we are going to be insisting on the fitness levels. The skin fold test should be below 85 and the yo-yo test should be about 18.1 that is the standard we are looking at, you can’t sham that,” said De Mel.

Commenting on the recent fitness issues Angelo Mathews had to undergo, De Mel said: “He has done all the tests and the yo-yo he is running at more than 18.1. He is of course one player who has had a lot of injuries in the past so we have to manage him properly. He gets injured while batting when he has bowled. We need Mathews to bowl a few overs that helps our balance in the ODI side. Even in Test matches if he can bowl 5-10 overs it makes a huge difference.”

De Mel rated the present Sri Lanka team as one of the “worst fielding sides in the world”.

“We have to up our fielding. My suggestion is that we should get a foreign fielding coach. Pakistan got Steve Rixon to come and their fielding improved tremendously. If we can improve our fielding, our game will go up by 25 percent. Even catching techniques has also to be looked into,” he said.

The former fast bowler said that Sri Lanka had the potential to score 360 plus in ODIs but there was something missing in their play.

“How many teams can score 360 plus against England. It is either the players do not understand their roles or they are not executing it in the middle what they are supposed to execute. That is why they are not consistent in their performances. They must be given the confidence and free mind to go and play their normal game. I feel it’s nothing more than having to do some fine tuning,” he said.