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Sight Screen

Monday, October 31, 2005

The axeman cometh?

In the first two games of this series, the tendency was to blame the Lankan batsmen for not being able to deliver (what escaped notice, thanks to the batting collapses, that the bowling on both occasions never threatened, even briefly, to make a fight of it -- in contrast to how the Indians in Sri Lanka failed to put up big scores, but kept hitting back at least for sizeable chunks of the game with the ball); finally, attention has swung to the bowling, where Marvan Atapattu and Tom Moody are facing a piquant problem.
The part-time bowlers -- Sri Lanka's patented weapons, since the days of Arjuna Ranatunga's WC-winning squad -- in the current lot are effective only at home. And the two mainstays, whose cutting edge provides cover for the part-timers and allows them to operate under the shadow of the pressures created by Vaas and Murali, have on this tour been meticulously decimated.
You know the Lankans are in trouble not when they fail to defend 300 -- but when you hear a call for Murali, no less, to be dropped from the side; ever known that to happen before?
Trevor Chesterfield makes that call -- and figures that to do the thing right, Jayasuriya needs to go as well:
It is being referred to in some quarters as the right shoulder syndrome. And is not the polite topic of conversations either, today around the capital’s pavilions.
It is a touchy subject but someone should tell the team management it’s time to rest Sanath Jayasuriya for the next two or three games of what is becoming Sri Lanka’s chaotic limited overs tour. To play Jayasuriya, who can’t bowl or even field effectively, is hiding a passenger and no matter the status of the Matara Mauler, the right shoulder injury is creating a major team composition problem.
And while they are about it, perhaps Muttiah Muralitharan should be given a break as well.

Here's his prescription:
What is needed is a top-order restructuring and a shifting of players around the order. Jayasuriya should be moved back to six, the captain — also struggling for form — at four of five. It will give the top-order stability with Samaraweera at three while Tharanga opens with Kumar Sangakkara.


  • If all the non-performers on this tour -it should include CV,MA as well - need to be dropped, then who is left...?
    First question that this knee-jerk response raises is
    "Does SL have enough Bench...??"

    To think we Indians were discussing the same kind of options / alternatives not so long ago....

    By Blogger ravi2206, at 11:34  

  • Prem,

    It looks like, it is going to be 5-2 in India's favor as mentioned in that article!

    By Blogger Ramesh, at 11:47  

  • Prem, what is your take on playing Dhoni in test matches?

    By Blogger deep cover, at 11:53  

  • Prema:

    Is it really fair to blame the SL bowlers when it's the batsmen that have let them down? In the first ODI the wicket was a belter and the Indians were aggressive. In the second ODI they really did not have a total to bowl at. In the 3rd they did bowl well under the circumstances. As Attapattu said, no bowling or field placing could hold Dhoni back. The problem is something is not clicking in the SL team - just to single out the bowlers is unfair.

    By Blogger hjrsingh, at 12:07  

  • hjrsingh: i didn't single out the bowlers, mate; I merely made a point that to lay the cause of the defeats only at the doors of the batting was not quite fair either. By the same token, if we are going to say 'Oh, on the day, no one could do anything to X batsmen', how come we were brutal on the Indian bowlers when Sangakaara was going for broke? How come we blamed our bowlers when Ponting took the WC away from us? The batting conditions were in fact even better in the first innings, yet the Indian bowlers and fielders managed, for the best part of the game, to exercise good control -- do remember it was only in the slog that they really got creamed; SL was just around 117 or so at the 30-over mark. Again, not implying the bowlers are singularly responsible, but by the same token, their inability to either contain, or to take out wickets, is adding to the pressure on an out of form batting lineup. Next time they go out, what are they supposed to aim at -- 400? I mean, SRT has gotten runs, RD has ditto, Pathan played a blinder, now Dhoni's done it; VS has had 100 per cent or better S/Rs in the starts he has had so far, so that is a looming threat; given this, what kind of target will the batsmen be able to set, feeling confident the bowlers can defend it? Is why I think the SL bowling is really crucial to the fate of this series -- if they can't figure out the Vaas-Murali problem, and also what to do about their middle overs short of transplanting Lankan pitches here, this series will end in an almighty thumping

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 12:13  

  • deep cover: It is an interesting ploy -- and if MSD can chip in with two, three good knocks in the 9 ODIs left (Obviously not looking at 180s, but knocks of significance in the chances he does get here on, knocks that give more indication of his temperament etc), I'd want to give the option a shot. If England is to succeed here, they will need to be aggressive; we do have an aggressive counter at the top of the innings, and other possibilities in the likes of Sachin, Saurav if he makes it back and is in touch, VVS if his strokeplay is on song -- but an aggressive, in your face batsman at number 6 or 7 behind the main guys can actually take games away from the bowling side. I'd want to give the option a serious look.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 12:17  

  • Hey Prem,
    Is there an Id that i can send you some mail? I had couple of nice ideas about using technology in cricket and also for changing some ODI rules. I am not sure of the forum to send it. I could post it here, but i would like to hear your opinions first.


    By Blogger gsharma, at 12:24  

  • Prem...to be fair..Trevor was not referring to 'dropping' Murali...rather giving him a break....and makes sense..since they are leaning too much on him in this drought period...and this may be deterimental in their test campaign also...if we see too much of Murali

    Btw...about Dhoni in tests...if and when he gets there...his batting position would be really crucial...I would rather go with him above SG/Kaif/Yuv

    By Blogger worma, at 14:24  

  • Wow,
    Those suggestions by Trevor Chesterfield seem radically stupid, IMO

    By Blogger Sahir, at 16:22  

  • Sri Lanka do not need to desert what has worked for them in the very recent past, but as Chappell and Dravid keep stressing about the Indians, the Lankans too need to focus on the processes once again that allowed them to play good ODI cricket. Today was a step in the right direction with their batting, now they need to figure out the bowling. Although, it must be said, the way the Indians are playing right now, I'm not sure the Sri Lankans' best performances will be good enough to win.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 16:25  

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