It was a hugely positive effort by Dilshan and the team to win the trophy in Zimbabwe against a strong opposition. It was under genuine pressure that the youngsters performed and they must persist at top level. I have heard from the young players that they get an opening only when a senior is not available and this mindset is not good in my book. It is an opportunity that should be grabbed when presented, to cement his place. That is how an opportunity presents for a new comer. The easier option is to get into the team but it shows character to hold his place with certainty.
It was nice to see Dilshan back in the runs. When he hits a purple patch he scores quickly and big. A great plus for the team.
The Asia Cup squad has been named and it is unfortunate to see from his point of view that Sanath could not find a slot. It is unfortunate because he has pushed people in charge to leave him out. Cricket in Sri Lanka changed dramatically after 1996 and Sanath was in the forefront of this renaissance. It is sad that he has placed himself in this situation. Being 40 plus he knows that it was required of him to score every time he walked out. Being fit means a lot more than running fast. To run fast you have to be naturally gifted but to be fit at the top level at cricket needs reflexes, eye sight and speed of recovery from injury amongst other requirements.
Only Sanath would know this. At the pace that the game is played there are no safe places like short third or short fine any more. It’s all speed, pace and power together with consistency. I am surprised at the inclusion of Samaraweera. He has tremendous temperament but is a single mode player. It speaks volumes of the ability or lack of it of the younger players that Samaraweera can yet find a slot in the shorter version of the game. He did well in the one day series in India but I frankly cannot see him change his singular style. He is also slow on the field and does not have a strong arm. Yet all credit to him that he is able to find a place. Sri Lanka has three opening bats now in Mahela, Dilshan and Tharanga. It gives the team great options. It was good to see Mahela make a hundred during the IPL and he has not looked back. He is highly talented and would stay long and make big runs once in form unlike Dilshan.
India made a mistake in Zimbabwe by not including a few seniors. When they do come back they would not have the same confidence in the juniors which in turn will rub off on their performances. One hopes that they would have regrouped.
As for Pakistan, they are the unpredictable package but with Shoaib Akthar back he would be a handful under lights in Dambulla. Its a pity that this ground has not been made full use of. True there was controversy surrounding the ground at the initial stage and it does not matter who initiated it, but once a facility is in place full use should be made. One does not know how the strip would play but for cricket’s sake I hope it is true and the outfield quick and even, and plenty of runs be scored during this tourney.