I will focus this week on the Sri Lankan bowling attack and its potential in the near term. The cupboard seems pretty balanced in my mind. There is variety in the bowling with Murali and Lasith Malinga in the forefront. Then there is Welagedera bowling left arm, Angelo Mathews with seam up and of course Nuwan Kulasekera to support. Yes, it seems pretty adequate.
With the focus on the next World Cup, the emergence of Angelo Mathews is a boon for the captain. Usually a captain would have a make shift all-rounder bowling four to five overs to fit in the numbers of a fifth bowler. But, in Mathews we are fortunate to have a bowler who can deliver ten overs with the seam up, more than adequately. Considering that he bats at five or six and makes runs too, he naturally becomes the key player. I can think of only Abdul Razzaq of Pakistan who can be compared to him, though Mathews can bat even higher up competently, if demanded.
We have Suraj Randeev who is promising and should be used as much as possible. He is the ‘in form’ spinner. I would recommend using Murali only in key matches up until the World Cup. Dilhara Fernando to me has been a disappointment in that he has not been able to cement his place given the long stint he has had. If he is to play, it would be at the expense of Lasith Malinga who is our other quickie. It would be a big gamble to play both quickies as on a bad day they can go for too many. Kulasekera on the other hand has done well and has been within the first five, internationally. Recall, he was number one for awhile.
Mirando’s consistency is a cause for concern but he could be moulded. Sri Lankan bowling has depth but these lads should be managed leading up to the World Cup. Sri Lanka also has Rangana Herath and it was a tactical move by the selectors to have an extra spinner. Rangana to me is a good test bowler and a match winning one when Murali was unavailable. When I was captain in Pakistan he came up with a sterling performance.
Striking a different tone, I fail to comprehend why new stadia are being put up before upgrading the existing ones. Captains have been complaining about the lights at some venues and yet we have not responded positively. Common sense must prevail over other considerations. As for Dambulla, the wicket has played well and the outfield has been fast. It has been better than I expected, considering the dearth of play there and certainly there should be no complaints though, on that score.