Sri Lanka faces reality check after embarrassing defeat to India
Sri Lanka were absolutely embarrassed in front of a packed house at R. Premadasa Stadium by India, who clinched the Asia Cup without breaking a sweat yesterday.
Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka, for some reason, opted to bat first under cloudy conditions in the big final, only to be blown away for just 50 runs by an Indian pace attack led by Mohamed Siraj, who picked
up six wickets for 21 runs.
Crushing India loss a 'wake-up call', says Sri Lanka coach
Dimuth Karunaratne, who had been brought into the Sri Lanka squad to provide the team a solid start, was dropped midway through the Asia Cup after a couple of failures for more explosive Kusal Janith Perera.
While Karunaratne was axed after a few games, Shanaka has been a failure for months. His average in the last twenty odd matches has been less than five. He got another duck yesterday against Siraj and looked like a batsman who is absolutely clueless. Even Sri Lanka number ten Maheesh Theekshana has a better average than Shanaka in the given period.
In his pre-match press conference, Shanaka said that his captaincy is more important than his batting. It’s almost like he is accepting that he is a passenger on the team. He has got to be the only cricketer to
be able to remain in the team despite being an absolute failure for ages.
Shanaka, in every single press conference, seems to thank the selectors and the SLC.
Perhaps that’s what keeps him on the team. Chamika Karunaratne, who has had a good run in the ODI team, was unfairly dropped from the squad, making Shanaka the only fast bowling option in the team. Interestingly, Karunaratne has a better batting and bowling average than Shanaka in ODIs.
Angelo Mathews, after all his injuries, made a gallant comeback in the Lanka Premier League (LPL), but somehow he was barely considered for the World Cup, ensuring Shanaka’s spot in the team.
There is no doubt that Shanaka took over Sri Lanka at a very difficult stage, and Sri Lanka has made some improvements in recent times. But an international cricketer cannot be playing cricket with such horrible performances.
The entire team was at fault yesterday, however. The batting was dreadful, and no one was willing to take the responsibility and fight for the country. It was a huge disappointment for all Sri Lankan fans, who
had huge expectations. Many anticipated a close encounter between these two nations, but the game barely lasted 3 hours thanks to Sri Lanka’s subpar performance.
Perhaps it’s time Sri Lanka moved on from Shanaka before the country ends up being an absolute joke in the World Cup. (Harsha Amarasinghe)