2008 has not been a particularly good year for Sri Lankan cricket. It was a year riddled with inconsistent performances, lack of quality test cricket and a cricket board in turmoil.The test team had limited opportunities with Sri Lanka only playing 5 games. Although managing to win 3 of those, a win was usually followed by a loss. A bad loss.

Issues in the middle order continued. For once, King Sanga was ordinary. Only Captain Mahela and young Malinda Warnapura Impressed with the bat.

Sri Lanka didn’t fare any better when they switched the white flannels for their colored kit. Another embarrassing home loss to India, an away loss in the West Indies and a near humiliation in Zimbabwe followed. Sure the score line read 5-0, but it would be an overstatement to suggest Sri Lanka were ever in control of the Zimbabweans.

So then a tour to Bangladesh would seem like a good opportunity to wrap the year up on a good note.

More will be expected of young openers Vandort and Warnapura, Vandort has been abysmal with 146 runs at 16 this year. Another bad performance will not go down well with the Selectors. Sangakkara also needs to find the same form that made him the number one batsmen in the world over the last season.

It is extremely difficult to be a fan of Jayawardene when the Sri Lankan fast bowlers and Murali score more runs than him. The captains form is a huge worry for the Sri Lankans. He has been under pressure in the media back home regarding the whole IPL and England tour saga, so maybe his heads not where it should be.

This can not be an excuse though and failure against Bangladesh, who on paper should be tougher than Zimbabwe, will only leave him as an open target.

Signs are good though. Mahela is going to take this series ‘very seriously’. Good. (As opposed to taking it mildly seriously in Zimbabwe then.)

However, Sri Lankas seriousness is immediately put into question when Tilakaretne Dilshan wins a test recall for doing absolutely nothing, while Thilian Kandamby misses out yet again. Tharanga Paranavithana is also overlooked. So the middle order still looks shaky. With only Thilan Samaraweera in any kind of form this year, Bangladesh might be trickier than Mahela expects.

On the flipside, the year has been totally dominated by the Sri Lankan bowlers. Mendis is the name on everyones lips and the man no batsmen wants to face.

So his recent injury could not have come at a worse time. Personally I am hoping young Sachithra Sennayake from SSC gets a call up. The off spinner had a brilliant season last year as he was the only bowler to pick up more than 50 wickets in the season.

Of course, Rangana Herath, proverbial understudy to all spinners in Sri Lanka got the call up after cracking performances in the A team

Chaminda Vass has been retained in the test team. A fair call from the selectors as Vass has clearly saved his best form for the longer version of the game this year with contrasting averages of 46 (ODI) and 26 (Tests). Add to this the emergence of Nuwan Kulesekara who does a similar job to Vass, the pace and angle of Thilan Thushara and Dammika Prasad, Vass’s ODI career is probably over now anyway.

Quite a bit will be expected from the fast bowling department, who are experiencing a remarkable renaissance at the moment. With Vass there to lead the way again, they are in good hands.

Then there is Murali. He aint half bad either.

Sri Lanka have never lost a test match against Bangladesh, either at home or away.

The best way to end a disappointing year is to not blot that record.

ajantha mendis dilhara dilshan jehan mubarak kapugedara mahela jayawardane mahela udawatte murali nuwan kulesekara prasanna jayawardene ranatunga sri lanka sri lanka v bangladesh sri lanka v zimbabwe test cricket thilan thushara thilina kandamby upul tharanga

Allo lads,

The couple of regular readers may have observed a period of lull here at HQ, it was because we were busy packing up to head home for the holidays.

We have arrived at said home and are back in the thick of things.

Having missed out of a lot of cricket but with the much anticipated SL – Bangladesh series coming up, we decided to make a low key come back with a little swipe at the lack of test cricket coming our way.

Pls note somethings may have changed since I wrote this post a while back

Cheers.

Boxing day. The smell of freshly cut grass. The flowing beer. The gentle warmth of the early morning sun. The buzz of crowd as they prepare to watch some grueling test cricket.

All the things that will be missing in Dhakka when Sri Lanka take on Bangladesh.

So, another tour, another minnow opposition and another 2 test series –the story of Sri Lankan cricket this year. It seems incredibly hypocritical when the 4th ranked test team in the world plays only 5 test matches in a year where teams like New Zealand – who are invariably complaining about not playing enough test cricket – and even Bangladesh of all team play more. The only team to play less games than Sri Lanka were Pakistan, who had that slight glitch with them terrorists blokes.

Who is at fault though. The Sri Lankan board ? The ICC ? The ridiculously outdated future tours Programme?. The best answer is probably a mixture of all three. That the annual cricket schedules are monopolized by the English and Australian summers is unavoidable and has been forcibly accepted by the rest of the test nations, who have to organize their matches around it. Even then the quality of test cricket coming to a country like Sri Lanka is insufficient. 2009 will follow the same path as this year, when the first half of the year is spent sitting on couches and watching other countries play cricket.

Now that the England tour is canceled, Sri Lankas next test tour, according to the FTP, will be Zimbabwe. How exciting, add to that the fact that’s inaccurate. The only real tour, against Pakistan, is planned for August. Any tours planned with India are still in doubt after the disaster with Arjuna, Lalit Modi and the IPL.

Surely Sri Lanka are still a big draw card, they have some world renowned cricketers and are only behind Australia, South Africa and India, who they soundly beat at home just a few months ago. Arjuna has been pre-occupied in trying to put one over Lalit Modi. His ill timed move to arrange for a tour to England has since nose dived.  In the meantime Sri Lanka tours Bangladesh, plays a tri series against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and then hangs up the boots for 5-6 months. This is cricket administration at its worst.  It’s a loss for the fans and undeniably for the players.

Rumors of the ‘Test Championship’ replacing the FTP, are just that. Rumors. The ICC says there will be ‘some form of test championship’. Proving that vagueness is still the ICC’s best attribute.

Its up to the guys in the hierarchy to make sure that Sri Lanka gets the right amount of cricket with right kind of opposition in whatever ‘form’ it may come in.

While they are at it, can they also have quick vote to get rid of the plague that is the ‘2 – test series’.

ajantha mendis sri lanka sri lankan cricket

I was reading a comment on a cricket forum the other day about Trevor Bayliss’s record as Sri Lankan coach. The guy took over in August of 2007 and has been in the job for a good year and a half now.

The records not that flash.

4-4-2 in test cricket.
16-14-2 in ODIs.

The obvious thing is that Sri Lanka have become inconsistent during his rein. This year alone the test match record reads WLWLW. Every win is usually followed by a loss.

That is bad cricket. Meaning we are never in control or dominating enough in the 15 odd sessions in a game.

We have been embarrassed at home by England and India in ODIs.

So the question is, should we be lining up Bayliss for the firing squad.

I say No. Its so easy to blame the coach when things go wrong. But how much of an influence does he have once the game has started.

Our batsmen have been pretty abysmal this year. Its definitely been a year to be a Sri Lankan bowler.

Once the blame game starts the next step is comparing him to Moody.

Everyone in Sri Lanka loved Moody.

Fans adored him.

Adminstracrats were jealous of him.

Sangakkara and Mahela wanted to make love to him.

Chamara Silva worshipped him.

Moody was god.

So what chance does Bayliss have, he’s like the new boyfriend, who keeps getting compared to the ex. No matter what he’s done you question your self.

Is this working out ? Are we compatible. Do I see my self having his baby.

You want to believe you do. One thing is certain though, the comparison is pretty fucked up for Bayliss.

Trevor is a quite sorta fella who shuns from the limelight, Moody had charisma which propelled him through your TV screen with that cheeky smile he flashed.

I like Bayliss though, he has finally got rid of Sanath from the test team. Brought in Malinda Warnapura, Dammika Prasad, Thilan Thushara.

Developed Nuwan into a fine bowler. Even Mubarak seems to be going somewhere, much to our annoyance.

Given the world Splendid Mendis and tried to blood in the players that have been outstanding in domestic cricket and in the A team.

Which is what you really want to be seeing from a coach. That the players have gone out and fucked it all up is not his fault.

See, he is good, you are starting to change your mind arnt you. So now you are hoping he will turn this around cuz you feel like you are falling in love with him.

How sad it is then for Bayliss that till June-July next year we have no cricket. And his 2 year term ends in August.

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