Jayawardene's return to lead team applauded
reappointment of Mahela Jayawardene to lead the team, first to the
Commonwealth Bank Tri-Series in Australia starting early next month
which also features Australia and India, has been applauded and welcomed
by the discerning and the connossieurs of the game.
As usual there will be those who have not handled a bat or a ball,
who will want to show their heroics and went their spleen on the
reappointment of Jayawardene and would want to tease him and upset him
with their hollow brickbats.
Before going on to further comment on the recalling of Jayawardene, I
would be remiss if I did not congratulate the new selecton committee
headed by the former dashing all rounder Ashantha de Mel and his other
team members - Don Anurasiri, Amal Silva and Hemantha Wickremaratne for
their bold and courageous step.
The selectors have not only done right by reappointing Jayawardene,
but they have also picked the best squad possible, who if they play and
perform to ability, should fly back proudly holding aloft the
Commonwealth Bank Trophy.
As usual the selectors too will have their frustrated critics. Who
does not? But that should not unduly worry them. By now they should all
be weather beaten individuals with thick hides and like they did when
playing, should let these innocuous bouncers just pass over.
They will do well to understand that critics too have their hidden
agendas and will blindly swing, because most of them haven't played the
game. And as the saying goes Jayawardene and the selectors, must take it
all on the bump.
Cricket in poor state
The new selectors have been brought in at a time when Sri Lanka
cricket is in a very poor state. Never before as the game suffered such
ignominy. Four series defeats to Australia, England, Pakistan and South
Africa are unimaginable and unacceptable.
The defeats can be attributed to several reasons. The chief reason
being that there was no team spirit, not playing as a team. How can one
function as a team when we have a situation where captain Tillakaratne
Dilshan not receiving the support of many players; players not talking
to each other; and some of the coaches too not talking to players.
In that polluted atmosphere and conditions how could a team be
expected to perform? There is not much time left to sort out these
problems before taking wing to kangaroo land. But we are sure that with
Jayawardene taking over, peace and harmony will prevail and the team
will focus and perform.
Jayawardene has been in the saddle before. He must be admired for
taking over this onerous job once again. When he was leading, he did a
magnificent job and many were the successes and trophies that came the
Sri Lanka way.
With others wanting and craving to lead the country a vicious
campaign was started to oust him from the captaincy and when he began
failing in a one-day series against India, his critics took to the
streets, as it were, which led to his ousting.
It was the selectors and those running the game at that time who
should be held responsible for Jayawardene having to abdicate when he
was riding a crest of a wave of success. When he was struggling, they
all deserted him.
'Twas a sacrilege
It was a sacrilege and from the moment Jayawardene said enough is
enough. And so Sri Lanka cricket moved to Skid Street and still remains
there. Thankfully Jayawardene has been called in again to steer the
cricketing jet from turbulence to safety. Jayawardene would not have
been faulted had he turned his back on the offer. But being the patriot
and the gentleman that he is, he realized the plight that the game and
the good name of the country is in and was quick to accept the offer.
Instead of admiring the selectors and Jayawardene for their bold act
in their endeavour to resurrect the game and its dwindling fortunes,
frustrated critics have begun name calling and trying to belittle
Jayawardene and upset the apple cart.
Our advice to Jayawardene is to be wary of wolves in sheep clothing.
He will also do well to ponder on that famous adage - I know where I
stand with my enemies. But not with my friends! What's striking in the
15-man squad to Australia is the comeback of allrounder Farveez Maharoof.
Maharoof as a schoolboy showed immense talent and it did not take long
for the national call to come his way. But surprisingly injury and
sudden dip in form saw him off the selectors radar.
He was recalled to the team in England and one expected him to grab
the opportunity, perform and cement his place. But again failed to find
the form with both bat and ball that he was renowned for.
But he has been performing well for his club the Nondescripts in the
domestic game which prompted the new selectors to give him another go.
Its refreshing that cricketers feel that not all is lost when one's
performance dips temporarily.
In today's game allrounders don't come dime a dozen. A quick study of
the international scene will find that not many allrounders are
dominating. When one is gifted as an allrounder, then that gift must not
be allowed to go into waste.
The one-day game required allrounders of the calibre of Farveez
Maharoof. This probably would be Maharoof's last chance. So let him be
determined to perform like a true allrounder.
All in all, the squad to Australia looks the best available. On paper
it is a formidable side with players with the right temperament and
ability to deliver. They need is to believe in themselves and in each
other and then the pieces will begin to fit together.
We will be in Australia describing the action on and off field. Stay
with the Sunday Observer and the Daily News for regular analysis and
insights of the games.