The blank stare and the pursed lips are back

Along with the shriek of happiness, which for a moment makes you think that a cheerleader at the ground as been pinched in her bum. Those however, have been a little on the low side owing to the fact that Sri Lanka haven’t won anything yet.

But the trademark undecipherable stare off into the distance with pursed lips and folded arms are in full flow. And oh how we’ve missed them.

Mahela Jayawardene is always thinking. And he is not afraid to show it. The formation of logical thought resulting in good decision making is something Sri Lankan leadership has been lacking for a few years. Yes years, Yes we mean to include Sangakkara as well.

Jaywardene and Sagakkara view the game differently. Sangakkara may well be a cricketing intellectual who can easily speak about cricket and its place in society and the fine line that separates them and teach us about why every man and woman alive would benefit from taking up the game.

And that is great and it offers hope that one day there will be an opportunity for him to make a big difference to cricket as a sport.

Jayawardene isn’t about any of that. He is about winning matches or at least putting Sri Lanka in a situation where they can win from. A lot of Sri Lankan fans are singling out Angelo Mathews over as where the game turned the other night. In a situation like that it’s common for some finger pointing towards the captain for actually bringing him on. But there aren’t any because Jaywardene made the right choice.

In 2 games Sri Lanka have not gotten anywhere near the sort of totals they need to win matches. But they have all been enthralling, nerve dangling stuff at the end and that is mainly because of Jayawardene aggressive, wicket sniffing, think-first attitude.

Ed Smith recently wrote about how captaincy isn’t about field placings or bowling changes but more about off field management, relationships with players. Captain Jayawardene is just that. And in more ways than one he was returning to a job he should never have left in the first place. And it shows. It’s strange to think that winning is secondary to watching Sri Lanka under Jaywardene again. But its nice to know Sri Lanka, as a cricket team with skill and intelligence, still exist.

Instantly the Sri Lankan team appears to be more focused, more settled and up to the challenge. Not every captain has that effect. Even when they appear to be just zoning out.






  1. Hollow Point
    Posted February 18, 2012 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Well said DamSam. I must admit I’m not the greatest fan of Mahela, but the man simply outshines all other SL captains when it comes to strategy. Angelo is lucky; he can learn a lot from just watching. If I was Thirimanne, I’d pay attention too :)

    The win last night seemed unreal. I was numb even when it was apparent we were going to beat the Aussies comprehensively. Maybe I don’t want to get my hopes up. Am I the only one who feels this way?

  2. Chavie
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    Mahela Mahela Mahela. :D :D :D

  3. Muralidaran Ramesh Somasunderam
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    It was good that Sri Lanka made the final of the tri nation one day tournament, but failed to win it, when they had a gulden opportunity to do so. I agree that it is one day cricket, but when the pressure was on, as the Australians were much more disciplined yesterday, with their bowling and fielding, the Sri Lankans capitulated, which indicates that the Sri Lankan cricket teams needs to work on their mental toughness, which is to be able to absorb pressure and deliver, when it matters most. This I believe will stand them in a better position next time around, when faced in the same situation or predicament, hopefully, as the same situation prevailed against India in the Cricket World Cup, as they were overwhelmed by the Indians, after taking the first two Indian wickets cheaply. But, on a positive note, the team sprit and leadership of the Sri Lankan team is extremely good, which is good see, if one is a supporter of Sri Lankan cricket and one day cricket in particular.

  4. Posted March 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Howllow> Yes Mahela has proved that he is by far the best in the business in the history of SL cricket. It’s incredible how he has just stopped the freefall within one – very tough mind – series. Bodes well for the coming year of home matches. Hopefully we can rack up a few test wins under him too.

    Murali – Good points. I think SL are just finding their feet in terms of team structure and leadership under the new Mahela rein. We were good without being consistent. I think the more this team plays together the more it will become a tougher outfit. Certainly now we have the batsmen to compete away so once we sort out the bowling the self belief and toughness should hopefully follow.

  5. Muralidaran Ramesh Somasunderam
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I agree with your views Damith. You are a god analyst of the game my friend. Nevertheless, I must state that I want Sri Lanka to become a top class Test Match cricket team, as this is the real panicle of the sport. One Day cricket is good in regard to entertainment wise, but Test Match cricket is the real game in my view. Therefore in conclusion I believe this Sri Lankan cricket team has great potential, but they must ensure to take it to the next level in Test Match cricket, which I believe they can, especially with their new coach Mr Ford from South Africa, who in my view is a focussed and extremely professional coach, who demands quality performances from his players.

  6. Posted March 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Murali. I agree with you completely. Test cricket is where I want SL to excel in as well. I think our biggest issue at the test level will always be bowlers. While Herath is good he is not a long term prospect. Sennayake was taunted as a future Murali. The little I’ve seen has not been that impressive – unfortunately.

    I agree with you. This lot has a lot of talent. I think Ford will be good in making us extremely professional. With his coaching experience and the teams he helped shape – you can see that is his bread and butter. I expect the fielding to also become increasingly better. Was very surprised by our hit and miss nature in the field to be honest.

    I think while Kumar and Mahela are at the helm the team will always look at test cricket as the pinacle. It is up to them to instill that mindset in the future generation as well by the time they quit so that the new SL will also be focused on test cricket.

    I think its an opportune time to get back into test form with a few games at home before embarking on what could possibly be a era changing Australian tour at the end of this year.

    To support this we obviously need better structure at the domestic level which we really lack. I might come up with a few posts in the coming days to offer my views on this but until that happens SL cannot expect to consistently challenge the top 3 teams at test level.

  7. Muralidaran Ramesh Somasunderam
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Thank you very much Dumith.
    I was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka and migrated to Australia in December 1984, with my parents. Nevertheless, I wish to know how is the infrastructure in Sri Lanka in regard to preparation of quality cricket wickets, especially at first class level and is there a Center of Excellence in Sri Lanka, such as In England and the Cricket Academy in Australia, because, I believe these are imperative factors in breading quality young players, who can hopefully become quality Test Match cricketers at some stage in their cricketing careers.

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