Tested Sri Lanka batsman Kaushal Silva (32) made an ‘Emerging’ baby | Sunday Observer

Tested Sri Lanka batsman Kaushal Silva (32) made an ‘Emerging’ baby

 Kaushal Silva
Kaushal Silva

Discarded Sri Lanka opening batsman Kaushal Silva at the age of 32 with 37 Test matches to his name has been made a kindergarten batsman among a team of amateur players making up a side called the Emerging Team that is currently involved in a home series against a visiting team from South Africa who also call themselves “Emerging”players.

The so-called Emerging Team as its name implies is supposed to cater to uncapped players who may have the potential to some day make it to the senior Sri Lanka team.

But Sri Lankan selectors have brought back the ghost of the past where the scrutinized players who failed while playing for Sri Lanka were continuously kept in business in so-called A teams thereby depriving untested players of showcasing themselves.

In the case of Kaushal Silva, a batsman with good Test temperament, he has a better track record in Test cricket than discarded players of the past with three centuries while aggregating over 2000 runs.

In his last outing for a Sri Lanka Board team against South Africa early this month, he made 76 (run-out) in a two-day warm-up game ahead of the two-Test series but was kept away as the selectors preferred to bring in Danushka Gunathilaka who had played just four Tests to open with Dimuth Karunaratne.

But Silva being modest preferred not to upset the apple cart in an age when only a few can be certain of good fortune.

“I don’t see myself playing for the Emerging Team as strange”, Silva said when asked whether he saw himself in a strange situation. “It doesn’t matter what team I play for. If I get runs I will be back in the National (Sri Lanka) squad”.

But the situation must undoubtedly be strange for one of the true Emerging players in 19-year old Trinity College player Hasitha Boyagoda who became a sensation when he hit a world record 191 in the 2018 Youth World Cup early this year against Kenya in Christchurch, New Zealand. He is not in the team as the selectors don’t see him as an “Emerging” player.

Avishka Gunawardena the Emerging team coach defended the selections saying Sri Lanka was looking forward to meeting “certain objectives”.

“In these Emerging tours there are certain objectives that may concern senior players like Kaushal Silva who is trying to get back into the Sri Lanka team. At the same time it provides opportunities for youngsters”, said Gunawardena.

Ironically the South African Emerging Team is made up of players from its National Academy from where they graduate to professional cricket and the team’s coach Shukri Conrad said they prepared two months in advance for the tour of Sri Lanka which features two four-day matches and three one-dayers.

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